Updated January 7, 2024.
Yes, your choice of stitches and threads makes for a unique piece of needlepoint. But by going a step or so further, you can make many needlepoints even more personal.
I made a Kathy Schenkel baseball nutcracker for my DH of his favorite team, the Oakland A’s that’s hanging on the needlepoint tree in my office. But my DH is a serious student of the game (baseball fan to those of us who are not) and so the uniform must be right. And it’s not.
Once I started, I decided to make several changes so the ornament would be of a specific player. Sal Bando of the great A’s teams of the 70’s. He was the team captain.
Yes, you can just stitch over and often get threads to completely cover the painted color, but I think it’s better to have a canvas color close to that of the thread. This avoids obvious needlepoint dandruff, gives you a wider choice of thread weights to use, and
creates a harmonious underpinning for the other colors.
Happily for those of us who don’t paint well, there are dye-based markers for fabric called FabricMate. They use dye, you can draw with them and they are colorfast when dry. This works when a darker color goes over a lighter.
If a lighter color goes over a darker one, you will need to paint the area white first, then color with the marker. I like Liqutex white as it is close to the canvas color, but any white acrylic paint will do.
This is the way to change colors, like the shoes. But what things can you do to make it even more unique?
If it’s a sports player, add a number to the jersey and draw it on with your makers.
If there’s hair, make it the right color and texture.
If there are accessories, are they correct. If it’s a catcher is it a catcher’s glove? If it’s an artist, do you have typical colors on his palette? If a stitcher is it needlepoint or cross stitch the figure is doing?
Is there facial hair (one reason I considered Captain Sal was his Fu Man Chu mustache)? Adding the proper number is essential to “sell” a sports figure.
These are all little things and may be done except as overstitching at the end, but adding them turns a canvas into something really special.
Another piece I’m anticipating personalizing is a Petei buffalo for my, now grown, son. His favorite stuffed animal as a child was a buffalo called, simply enough, “Animal.” So I’m making him an animal needlepoint. I’m going to try to capture with threads the texture of the pile of Animal who resides downstairs waiting for grandchildren.