Updated June 4, 2019
Michele asked for my recommendation for canvas for her as a beginner.
The answer is simple, 13- or 14-mesh mono canvas from Zweigart. Let’s look at why.
Mono canvas is woven with a simple over-1-under-1 weave. Made from single threads of heavy long-staple cotton, it’s smooth so that your thread will go through it easily. Needlepoint by its nature is hard on threads because this canvas is smoother, it iseasier on your threads.
The single-thread construction means that the weave is easy-to-see and the intersections float. This will make it easier to learn Basketweave and will allow your canvas to be blocked back into shape when you’re finished stitching.
Mono also has the largest holes of any weave of needlepoint canvas. This means that as you are learning you’ll have a bigger target.
I’m sure there are other makers of needlepoint canvas, but Zweigart is the canvas of choice. Their deluxe line has orange threads woven in the selvage.
Their canvas is beautifully woven. It is 100% cotton. Mono canvas is heavy for its size because the threads are thick and smooth.
Virtually all hand-painted canvas in the US is on Zweigart as well.
The most popular mesh of canvas these days is 18-mesh. When I started stitching in 1970, it was 10-mesh. 18 was considered petit point.
For your early projects, you want a balance between a canvas that is easy to see and one that has a wide variety of threads that fit it easily. More and more designers are creating designs on 13 mesh. Some designers even make the exact same designs available on both mesh sizes.
Many people find 18-mesh hard to see. So while the most threads are available for it, it is harder to stitch. On the other hand, large mesh sizes such as 10 and 12 are very easy to see, but finding threads for these can be tricky.
13 & 14 mesh are a great solution. They have become more popular so many designers have their designs available on these meshes. They are adaptable so many threads too thick for 18 work here, but many threads that are great on 18 work on these meshes as well.
Sticking with this mesh of canvas gives you lots of opportunities to try new things while making your first projects a breeze.