Creating Needlepoint Script that looks correct can be a real problem. I faced it when stitching the Starke Art (distributed by CBK) license plate. On the actual plates the state’s name really sticks out and I wanted my needlepoint version to have the same feel.
Because script is curvy and connected by nature, you can’t just stitch it in Tent Stitch. You will always get breaks in the stitching when the slant of the letter does not match the slant of the stitch. You can see how this happens in the stitch diagram below.
Instead you want to change the direction of the stitch to match the slant of the line, below. This way you always have a solid line.
To get this, you will change the direction of the stitch to match the direction of the line throughout your script.
Unhappily this is not enough to get connected letters.
- Stitch the background first. When four stitches meet in a hole, the stitches that are made last cover the previous stitches that go into the same hole. In the case of cursive script, if you stitch it first, your hard work of changing direction goes for nought when two background stitches meet in a hole shared with the script. (I know because this has happened to me many times.)
- Always stitch into a hole that has background stitches going into it. This sounds simple minded since you are supposed to go into dirty holes. But in stitching script and creating these smooth lines, you will often find yourself stitching differently to avoid undoing stitches. Even if you have to skip a stitch and go back to it, follow this guideline. It puts the script stitches firmly on top and encourages our eyes to see the line of stitches as connected.
- Use a slightly thicker thread than normal. I often find myself using #8 Kreinik on 18-mesh canvas these days but here I use #12. You want these letters to stand out. You want them to look full and connected. By using thinner threads, the connections won’t look as strong.
- Be sure your thread color closely matches the color painted on the canvas. This is another small thing, but your canvas shows very slightly when you change stitch direction. Because you are not changing in a pattern, matching the canvas color is a good way to help “sell” the idea of it being script.
As you can see, following these guidelines gave me a very effective state name. I was driving around yesterday and was delighted to see that the stitched name had the same bold feeling as the real license plate.