have been designing my own needlepoint, or adapting things I’ve seen to needlepoint almost as long as I have been stitching (30+ years), but there is an easy way to start to design your own original needlepoint even if, like me, you can’t draw.
The way to begin is to find some copyright-free designs. One great source of this is Dover Books which has a huge library of designs. But they aren’t the only source. A museum in Australia has just come out with a wonderful book which has line drawings of William Morris fabrics which are copyright-free. Stained Glass Patterns are another great source.
The best kind of art to adapt is one which looks like a coloring book, i.e. a line drawing. These kind of drawings have several advantages. First they are very easy to use for tracing onto canvas. Second, you can make up your own ideas about colors. Third, they are easy to enlarge.
Once you have found your piece of art, decide how big you want it to be. Then go to a copy center and enlarge the design to close to the size you want. I usually end up making several sizes of copies, just in case; my preferred size, a bit smaller and a bit larger.
Now take your copy and outline the design with a medium to broad tip felt pen, this will help make the outline stand out. Also along one edge of the design, use a ruler to draw a straight line to line up with a thread of canvas.
On a light table or against a window, tape your drawing using making tape. Put your canvas over it, lining up a thread with the straight line.
Using a permanent non-xylene marker, trace the outline of the design onto your canvas. Now stitch away! You have a needlepoint you designed yourself.