Updated August 4, 2020.
You probably know that if you use dark threads on light canvas you will get ‘needlepoint dandruff’ those annoying flecks of the light canvas showing through.
There are several ways to solve this:
- Stitch over selected areas (stitches) with an additional, thinner thread the same color: This will only work if the thread matches exactly and if the stitches are not straight. Often with Straight Stitches the dandruff is caused by either compression at the ends of the stitches or by the threads not being lofty. Neither can be fixed by more stitching.
- Color the canvas to a darker color: This only works if you do it in advance. While the color does not have to be as dark as your thread or a perfectly even coat, the darker and more even the color is, the better the results will be.
- Use a colored canvas: This also needs to be done in advance. If you pick a canvas similar in color to your area, even if it is light, the dandruff will be less noticeable. That’s because the dandruff sticks out because the white is so much lighter. Using colored canvas makes this difference smaller.
Light on dark is a trickier problem. It always seems as if the color is not as pure when stitched over dark. The dark color always affects it.It’s something that I have avoided.
You can deal with it though but you must do this before you start to stitch. Begin by getting yourself either white acrylic paint or, better yet, white fabric markers. I like DecoFabric Markers.
Use these to color the area you want to be light. Take some advice from professional designers and color the area white first, even if you will color it again. The white paint covers the dark area and allows the new colors to be clear.
The white could be extremely thin and runny. If so, you will need to open the holes that are blocked. There are two ways to do this. If you catch it before it dries, use a blow dryer to open the holes blowing from the front of the canvas to the back. You could also blow hard through a straw to open the holes.
If you wait until it is dry, use a needle to open the holes one by one. You will have to poke more than once to open the holes completely.
Your first coat may not completely block out the dark color, mine didn’t. I added the cloud to this Russian Village ornament. Because I will not be stitching white, but lighter, more greyed blues, the uneven coverage isn’t a problem.
If you are stitching with a medium to light color, this is OK, If you are stitching with a light color, you may need to make more coats.
If you need to make the area a different color, create the opaque white coat first, then color that the desired color.
With forethought and planning, you will never have needlepoint dandruff or its opposite again!