Church Needlepoint, especially if it isn’t kneelers can be mysterious for groups planning this kind of project. While kneelers are very common in the UK and growing in popularity in the US, these large scale projects open lots of questions.
Over the weekend I heard from a reader who wanted to know: ” I was wondering if you could direct me to a website that is knowledgeable in needlepointing communion rail cushions for churches.”
I love church needlepoint, but as far as I know there is no site talking about making them. There are several outstanding books about kneelers, but I’ve never seen any about communion rails.
I have a few guidelines though. Here are my tips for this or any other church needlepoint project.
- Use wool for the stitching, nothing else will wear as well.
- Use a larger mesh canvas, most kneelers use 10-mesh.
- Tent would be the best stitch because these will get more wear than
- Because it’s a long length, you don’t want to do it all in one piece.
Think for logical places for the seams and use covered cord in the seam
(like on a pillow) to strengthen it and keep hands off it.
- The hardest thing about this project will be figuring out the size.
Since you probably can’t take off the current upholstery to make a
pattern from it, you’ll have to measure. To do this measure the length
from end to end, including any area folded down on the ends that shows.
Then measure the width by using a fabric tape measure and measuring
over the rail from where it is attached to the other side in the same place.
- When you mark out your canvas add 1″ on all sides to the total
measurement. You want this for seam allowance in finishing but also
because stitched needlepoint is slightly smaller than bare canvas.
- When you make your design keep this extra in mind and don’t put
designs closer than about 1/2 inch from the exposed top (you don’t want
the designs to run down the sides.
- Try to buy your threads in single dyelots as much as possible. That’s
another reason why dividing the railing is good. That way as long as
each section is a single dyelot, the next section could be a slightly
different dyelot because the cording will keep that from being noticed.