While most of the time I create my own designs for my Scrap Bag Needlepoint Projects, when I want stress-free needlepoint, I like to choose painted canvases that will use up my bag of scraps. It’s simple to find canvases that work for scrap bag needlepoint.
First, we’ll talk about the characteristics great scrap bag projects should have. In the following section, we’ll point out some designers and canvases that are great for these projects.
What Makes a Great Scrap Bag Needlepoint Canvas?
There are two things you should look for in a scrap bag canvas: lots of colors and small areas.
Colors: Because the point of these projects is to use what you have, especially leftovers, you’ll want a canvas with plenty of colors. If your scrap bag has mostly one color, look for canvases where that color predominates. If you have tons of bits and pieces, look for more colorful canvases.
The canvas at the top of the article is the first Scrap Bag Needlepoint painted canvas I did (it’s from Maggie Co.). I stitched it almost 20 years ago using scraps of wool from my stash. Ultimately I did get some scraps from friends for colors I did not have. Since then I did another one, in a smaller mesh, in silks from my scrap bag. I have one in process and several others in my queue.
Because this series of canvases can use more than 50 colors and there is very little background, they are great stash busters!
Another kind of colorful canvas to discover are ones where there are several different versions of the same item: presents, cats, dogs, birdhouse, flowers, or even beach huts and houses. In order to make the canvas interesting lots of colors will be used. The Anna See canvas from Unique NZ at the top of this section is typical of these kind of canvases. It’s in my to stitch pile.
Because quilts have a long tradition of scrap bag use, canvases that are versions of quilts, whether quilt portraits or not, are great candidates for scrap bag projects. The Susan Roberts quilt canvas pictured above is another of my projects. Instead of the colors painted on the canvas, I took advantage of the Amish colors in my bag and changed them to make this a square Amish quilt.
In conclusion, look for canvases with plenty of colors. It’s fine to skew them towards one color or group of colors or to one kind of thread if that’s what you have.
Small Areas: Because your scrap bag is made up of leftovers from your other projects, you want the areas on your canvas to be small and separated from others of the same color, as is the case with the Patt & Lee canvas below.
If your areas are too large or connected you may run out of thread before you run out of space. While a dyelot change just makes the piece look “scrappy” (a quilting term), if you can put different dyelots of threads in different areas you will keep it scrappy while making it more beautiful.
That’s what to look for in a canvas for scrap bag needlepoint but you should also think about stitches. While you can do a project like the star above that has plenty of colors, threads, and stitches, in order to be truly stress less you want a canvas that uses only a few stitches. The Eye Candy canvas above is a good example because it uses mostly Diagonal Gobelin. Many of the projects pictured so far only used Tent Stitch. With lots of colors an, possibly, many textures from the threads,getting control of the project by using few stitches will also improve the piece.
ScrapBag Needlepoint Canvas Sources
In the pictures so far, you have already seen some of my favorite designers for these projects. Susan Roberts has dozens of quilt canvases in several sizes and color schemes. Patt & Lee has an entire section of their website for scrap thread designs. Canvases in other sections as well as designs from Pajamas & Chocolate, their hand-painted line, will also work. The geometrics section at Maggie Co. has tons of interesting canvases that make great scrap bag projects. You’ll find examples similar to my pillow on pages, 4, 6, and 7.
Other designers I love with great scrap bag pieces include JP Needlepoint. They have several colorful canvases of dogs, cats, and more that are great for these projects. They also have a great colorful hearts canvas and I love the Christmas packages animals. If your scrap bag has larger amounts of single threads that are mostly in one color, check out some of their patchwork canvases, such as the flower above. Not only are they great stash busters, they are wonderful ways to learn new stitches.
The Meredith Collection is another designer that has some really fun scrap bag canvases. Many of their designs use lots of colors. They are also available in several different pieces. For example this eyeglass case, my next stress-free project, is also available as a purse.
You can find possibilities for scrap bag needlepoint where you might not expect it. Most Charley Harper designs use limited color palettes and have large areas of color. But several of his poster canvases, such as Friends of our Family, pictured below, could be a great scrap project. They will need larger amounts of a background color, but they can be effective users of scraps.
The key for all of these canvases are the two characteristics from the first section: color and small areas. Look for these and you’ll find great stash busters!