Updated: June 22, 2018
It’s a little secret, knitting yarns, especially fingering weight, make perfect threads for needlepoint. The coin purse pictured here was based on that multi-colored knitting yarn leftover from a friend’s project.
Paula, in New Hampshire, blogs about her stitching at Coffee Time Stitches and has posted about two projects from my stash and Bargello clubs. She’s stitching both using fingering weight yarns.
That and another project I’m about to start reminded me how much I love to use knitting yarns for needlepoint. They may not have the selection of colors in each yarn that needlepoint threads have, but there are lots and lots of them, all coming in large skeins, beyond the dreams of avarice for needlepointers. What knitters think of as “samples,” enough for making a swatch, is a skein for us. I’ve used small bits of knitting yarns for decades in my needlepoint.
Even if you never venture into a yarn store, some of the threads we buy for needlepoint started as knitting yarns.
Knitting yarns have real advantages for needlepoint. They come in large quantities, making them great for backgrounds. They come in a much wider variety of fibers than needlepoint yarns do and in some wonderful combinations of colors. Finally, you can find textures in yarns you don’t find in needlepoint threads.
So how do you get started looking for knitting yarns for needlepoint. Yarns are always graded by size. The size that’s most versatile for needlepoint is fingering weight, sometimes called sock yarn. This size, as Paula points out, is perfect for Bargello or other straight stitches on 18 mesh, may compress enough for other stitches on 18 mesh and is perfect for Basketweave on 14 mesh.
Because socks are very popular with knitters these days, there are many choices.
Because you don’t need much for stitching, unlike knitting, you can take advantage of those leftover single skeins that are on sale at knitting shops.
If you know knitters, you can also take advantage of their odds and ends. I do. Paula crochets and these needlepoint projects have given her a great way to use leftovers.
If you want to branch out using knitting yarns on 18 mesh, look for lace-weight yarns, they are thinner than fingering yarns. You can also use thicker yarns if they can be plied, just look at the yarn construction, at a cut end if possible. You will have the ply each length after you cut it, however.
A popular new leftover project among knitters, the Beekeeper’s Quilt, has caused many knitters to package their yarn into mini-skeins of 10 to 20 yards. That’s a trivial amount for a knitter, good only for something like this quilt, but a perfect skein size for needlepoint. Search for mini-skein of fingering yarn on Etsy and eBay and you’ll come up with some irresistible finds. I have to stop myself from buying everyone I see.
Try knitting yarns for your needlepoint, you’l be so delighted with the results and how much you can do with them.