If you’ve done other kinds of needlework, you might be surprised by the margins on the needlepoint canvases you buy. Generally these are 1.5 to 2 inches wide. They might include the selvage, but most of the time they do not.
In cross stitch and other types of embroidery on fabric the margins are much bigger. In quilting a sewing cutting margins might be only an inch or so from the selvage and the seams are rarely much more than 5/8″.
As a result needlepoint margins can just look wrong. But there are reasons for them.
- Needlepoint canvas is expensive. Because of this, projects might be priced out of reach if wider margins are used.
- Needlepoint can’t use hoops, but should be taut. Whenever needlepoint is put between the rings of a hoop, it gets crushed. If you treated it as you would cross stitch, it would get unevenly crushed and would look very bad. That’s why stretcher bars and other methods that will not crush the needlepoint are used.
- The margins need to be wide enough to allow you to stitch the edges. After you have mounted your canvas you need to be able to stitch to the edges of the design. If the margins are slim, as they are for quilting or sewing, the needlepoint will be almost impossible to stitch, possibly not even clearing the stretcher bars.
These reasons make sense when you stitch, but do you have to keep the margin intact after you are finished? No! It has served its purpose and will be trimmed during the finishing process.