Here’s another batch of great needlepoint tips:
~ If steel needles discolor your hands, switch to a gold-plated needle.
~ Create needlepoint by doing “poke and pull” (two motions for one stitch). Sewing (one motion) makes it harder to control your tension.
~ A cosmetic sponge works better than a kitchen sponge for dampening threads. From a reader.
~ Use a white uninflated balloon as a way to grip tight needles.
~ Couching from the end where the thread came up to the end where it came down makes a neater finish.
~ Leaving your thread dangling behind the canvas affects the tension of your last stitch.
~ Always park your thread on the front of the canvas.
~ Your hands can get smoother by using one of those nail file blocks.
~ Turning your canvas around can make it easier to reach different parts of the piece.
~ You should have at least a 2 inch margin on all sides of your canvas piece. This is great for trying out stitches as well as for finishing.
~ A small mint tin or travel soap box makes a great place to store orts.
~ For any stranded thread, separating the strands and reassembling the number of plies you need makes the thread look better stitched.
~ Run a piece of linen thread between your thumbnail and fingernail to soften it and make it easier to work.
~ You can keep your thread from getting dull, thin or wearing by always having a short tail and keeping the needle in one place.
~ Cutting the nylon tube thread (like Rachel) on a sharp diagonal minimizes the unravelling.
~ If your needle gets dull spots or tarnishes, throw it out. It may leave grey marks on the canvas.
~ If you need to rip out stitches, use a sharp pair of tweezers to get out the last remaining thread.
~ You can repair a cut area of canvas by putting a small piece of the same mesh type/size in back (slightly larger than the damage) and stitching through both pieces.
~ To the ancient Greeks, Athena was the patroness of all handwork, including needlework.
~ Very fine needlepoint as we define it today has been found by archelogists dating back to pre-Incan Peru.
~ During the Renaissance tent stitch was used so widely for upolstery and cushion it was called “cushion work.”
~ At its height, there were thought to be over 1000 colors of wool used in Berlinwork.
~ Any cross stitch pattern which uses whole stitches (not halves or quarters) can be used as a needlepoint graph.
~ If you are using those two-headed needles, you must use a frame.
~ When working with a single-eyed needle, hold by the eye or the point. With a double-ended needle, hold by the point.
~ If you store your needles in felt, use one for each size and mark the felt with permanent markers with the size.
~ The threads with metallic in them are weft (horizontal) threads in the metallic mono canvases.
~ Use coffee mugs or small jugs to store needlepoint accessories or permanent markers.
~ You can iron lengths of rayon ribbon threads (like Neon Rays) to get out the kinks.
~ It’s easy to get off base when you are doing a stitch like Rice Stitch. Avoid this by only working in horizontal or vertical rows. Pick a direction and stitck with it.
~ If you are doing a piece with Turkeywork, always stitch this area last and only cut the loops after the entire area is stitched.
~ Making a padded stitch? If you are using silk or cotton floss for the top layer, use wool for the lower layers, it makes fuller padding.
~ Mark off the stitches you have completed on a graph with a highlighter to make it easy to find your place.
~ Roll up your canvas and store it in a cardboard mailing tube. You can also note what’s in the tube on the outside
~ Use film canisters to store your needles by size (mark the outside with the size). Clear ones (Fuji film) are the best for this.
~ Finishing the sides of your canvas with tape helps keep your thread in good shape.
~ You should never restitch with an pearl cotton you have taken out of your work, the shine is gone.
~ Always work from the lightest colors to the darkest when working with wool or other fuzzy threads.
~ Cutting canvas along a row of holes is easiest and works best for needlepoint.
~ A stitching basket filled with new gadgets and lovely new threads makes a wonderful and thoughtful gift for a stitcher. Maybe even add a small chart or canvas for a quick project to complete.
~ To protect needlepoint when it is being sent (blank canvases too) always wrap it in a plastic bag and send it in a mailing tube or in a rigid envelope or put the needlepoint between two pieces of posterboard.
~ The little ends of threads you cut off when you are finished stitching are called “orts.”
~ If you need a place to store your needle and you don’t have a magnet, work a large Rhodes stitch in the margin of the canvas to hold it.
~ You can save all your single strands of Watercolours in my scrap basket. I then use them for different projects where I need lots of colors or when I need just a bit of a color.
~ Buy a small jar to hold you ends of threads during classes.
~ When stretching a canvas on bars, put a small piece of Aida cloth at one corner, this becomes an immediate place to park your needle.
~ Linen thread has natural variations in its width which add a nice texturized look to your stitching.
~ Keep from losing your needle threader by putting ribbon through the hole.
~ About a quarter (25%) of American women do some kind of needlework.
~ Enlarging a graph can make it easier to follow. So can coloring it.
~ A tip for using Fabric markers: Always keep them capped tightly when you are not actually drawing with them.
~ Want a great needlepoint toolbox? I use a small lunchbox I bought from Hello Kitty. But you can use any of these tiny lunchboxes.
If you liked these tips and want more, why not get a copy of my book, Needlepoint Trade Secrets? It’s packed full of tips about needlepoint from start to finish. You can buy it at your local needlework store, from Amazon.com (here) or from Nordic Needle.