A couple of weeks ago I got a comment asking about the canvas in a kit. The colors were too close to be distinguished and the stitcher, a beginner, was frustrated.
This got me thinking about what should be present in a first needlepoint canvas. The Barbara Bergsten canvas pictured above is a great example. Go through the checklist to see how many of the items on the checklist are there.
Signs of Easy-to-stitch Canvases
1. Is the artwork clear? Many printed canvases (often in kits) are fuzzy a result, I think, of the inks used. If the colors aren’t clear, it’s not good for beginners.
2. Is it easy to distinguish one color from another? Many artists will “push” colors so the colors on the canvas can be easily distinguished, even though the colors of the threads are close. If there is a color key, use that to check. If there is not, look at the canvas itself.
3. Are there holes blocked with paint or flaws in the canvas? This is a sign of lower quality.
4. Are lines straight? Can you tell what color each intersection should be? Kits and computer-printed canvases are less accurate to one degree or another, than hand-painted canvases. The more exact the painting (called stitch painting) the easier it will be to stitch.
5. Look for canvases with solid areas of color and no lots of fine details. These are harder to stitch. If there are shaded areas, the canvas is more difficult to stitch.
6. Areas of color should be medium to large without lots of internal details. Small areas an details mean you have fewer stitch choices.
There is a trade-off (isn’t there always?). A stitch painted hand painted canvas needlepoint will be more expensive.
Good needlepoint canvases exist at every price level and it’s worth it to be a smart needlpoint consumer.