PLANNING and APPROACHING THE CANVAS

LESSON 2

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Choosing Stitches

Most needlepointers feel intimidated when it comes to choosing stitches. I certainly was, in fact I was totally overwhelmed when I first started stitching! There are just so many to choose from. 

I’m going to give you a list of guides to help you choose stitches for this project and moving forward.

When it comes to learning and picking stitches, my best advice is to become comfortable and confident with just a handful of stitches (which is what we’ll do during this class). Once you have that base, you can start experimenting with a new stitch here and there.


Use this list to help guide you through the process of choosing stitches.

  • SIZE  Your stitch selection will be limited by the painted area you want to place the stitch in. If you can’t stitch at least one full stitch within the area, then the stitch is too big and you’ll need to choose a stitch with a smaller pattern.
  • SHAPE  Look at the shape of the painted area. Is it a square, rectangle, band, circle, curvy line? Find a stitch that is similar in shape to the painted area ( see the photo below for an example ). ****(Fig.) Put this with photo - For example: if you are stitching an area the shape of a small square; scotch and mosaic stitch are both small square stitches and would be a perfect choice. )****
  • PATTERN  Try to match the pattern of the stitch to the object you are stitching. Use stitches with strong geometric patterns in non organic areas of the design. Use stitches with more organic patterns in natural areas of the design.
  • THREAD  Keep in mind that the stitch will look different depending on what kind of thread you use. It will also change depending on the thickness of the thread (For example: Rhodes stitch crosses over itself many times. If you use a thin thread you’ll get a nice star pattern, if you use a thick thread you’ll get a big clumpy looking stitch).  (fig)
  • EXPERIMENT  Use the waste canvas around your design to experiment with stitches. It’s really the only way to find out whether you like it or not!
  • PERSONAL PREFERENCE The only thing that really matters is that you love how the stitch looks and that you enjoy stitching it!
  • LET GO OF PERFECTION  Don’t love it? Choose something different on the next canvas. I stitched a piece a few years ago that I had decided was “just for me.” I let myself experiment without expectations. Halfway through that piece I would have ripped out the stitching if it hand’t been “just for fun.” In the end, that piece turned out to be one of my favorites! Needlepoint is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. Be OK with the experimentation and learning process. It’s not supposed to be perfect. It’s hand made with love!

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In this class we are going to focus these nine stitches, making them our "base" and getting comfortable with them.

  • Alternating Continental
  • Brick Stitch (horizontal and vertical)
  • Diagonal mosaic
  • Diagonal Scotch
  • Gobelin/Slanted Gobelin
  • Interlocking Gobelin
  • Skipped Tent
  • Tent/Basketweave
  • Upright Cross Stitch

 

If you try one of these stitches and hate it - don't use it! There are stitches I love the look of but just don't like stitching. And I personally don't like the way every stitch looks. Try these nine stitches - but if you want to switch a stitch or two (or five) out, feel free to do so!

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 ACTIVITY

Download this little worksheet. We're going to look at the shape of each stitch listed above and find where it naturally fits within an area of your canvas. This will help you get a pulse on the stitches and their shapes, and the shapes in your canvas. There's no right or wrong answer though, so have fun!

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Don't forget to upload pics of your worksheet and project on the Facebook group. 

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