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How to Compensate

Compensating is necessary when a stitch does not fit perfectly within the painted area (Fig 1). This happens often in needlepoint. Don’t let compensating intimidate you! I find that the easiest way to determine compensating is by following these steps.

  1. When you reach the edge of the painted area you are stitching, and cannot take the full stitch, place your needle in the hole where the full stitch would go if you weren’t compensating. 
  2. Then, keeping the angle of the stitch (to the best of your ability) back up the needle to the edge of the painted area.
  3. Bring your needle down (Fig 2).

Note: in many cases your compensating will be Tent Stitch!


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