Do you plan it all out at once?
Do you pick the threads?
Do you decide on stitches?
There are probably as many ways to plan a canvas as there are stitchers.
Even if we don’t actively think about it, we probably have rules we use when thinking about a canvas. I only have two rules so I start there. My rules are:
- There should be Tent Stitch on every canvas.
- Shop the stash first.
These two rules give me a starting point for stitches, threads, and effects. Right now I’m planning this canvas, it’s kind of mid-century modern birds. I’ll be making it for my grand-neice who is due in late May.
Because I know some part of the piece will need Tent Stitch, I always identify those places first. Maybe there will be more places with Tent on the canvas, maybe not, but knowing I have stitches picked for some areas means I can start stitching earlier.
I like that because I often get ideas for other stitches as I look at the canvas. That’s easy to do if I’m stitching it.
Then I begin to consider threads and effects. I like my needlepoint to echo the effects of items in real life but I am also committed to using threads I have. Most of the time these mesh, but sometimes they do not.
As I look at a piece, I think about which thread might look best to get the effect I want. Usually there are several that will work. Then I go looking for the thread in my stash. I do this with all the areas in the design and, almost always, I have enough threads (my stash is huge). Only if there isn’t anything in the stash will I buy threads.
At the same time I think about whether embellishments are needed for the piece and what these might be. I also check my stash for these.
When I’m thinking about threads and effects I have also come up with some stitches for additional areas. As a result, I planned much of my canvas without planning it.
For me, at least, this part of planning comes easy. It’s picking a canvas that’s hard. There are just too many good ones out there!
How do you plan a canvas? How do you pick a new project to do?
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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