Updated August 14 2018
As needlepointers, we don’t have to worry about this when we buy jand painted needlepoint canvas, the margins are already there. And often, when we work on a project, the designer has provided the correct canvas size for you.
Unlike cross stitchers, our patterns don’t often have stitch counts on them, so if we need to figure out the size of canvas to cut, we need to work a bit. Here’s how to do it.
You first need to figure out the size of the finished design. I generally only use rough counts here. Most charted pieces will have slightly darker lines every ten lines (sometimes every 5)/ I use those as my guidelines and count the tens, then add in the extra. Always count at the widest points in both directions. Write it down and repeat the process for the other direction.
Now figure out the finished size. This will depend on the mesh size of your canvas. Divide your numbers by the mesh size. So an 80 stitch count will be 8″ on 10 mesh, 6 3/4″ on 12 mesh, about 5 3/4″ on 14 mesh, and about 4 1/2″ on 18 mesh. Once again this calculation does not need to be perfect, often it won’t work out to an even amount. I round at this point to the nearest whole inch, rounding up of it’s 1/2″ or higher.
Now you have the finished size of your piece using your canvas count. But what if you don’t know the count? There are three ways to handle this.
- Try to line up threads with another piece of canvas of a known count. If they line up, the counts are the same.
- Use a grid of known size like those on the Mesh Minder or in Tink Boord-Dull’s book Graphitti to check against your canvas.
- Count. Put a ruler somewhere in the middle of the canvas and count how many threads are in an inch.
Add 2″ on all sides to your measurement. Measure along the edge of the canvas and put a mark on that thread. Do this on the other side. Now cut the canvas along a line of holes using clean gardening or kitchen shears. Canvas is very hard on scissors, so I keep a pair of gardening shears just for this.
Mount it on your stretcher bars and you’re ready to stitch.