A few years ago Zecca came out with coloring book canvases, above. These canvases are less expensive than painted canvases. Because they are not colored, you have much more freedom to pick colors for your project that suit your needs. These canvases are line-drawn canvases. While line-drawn is very popular for teaching projects and printed projects that are not charted, historically they have not been popular in stores. The interest in adult coloring books and Zecca’s catchy name are factors in changing this.
The design is carefully drawn on the canvas with an extra-fine pen. For a hand-painted canvas, the canvas begins with a drawing similar to this. The canvas is the same Zweigart mono canvas used in Zecca’s hand-painted line.
Stapled to the back of this canvas is a picture of the drawing. Use it to test out your ideas about color. You might need to make several tries before you find a combination you like.
Coloring the drawing is important for another reason. Often threads will look better and/or the design will be easier to distinguish if you color the canvas itself. I had to do this with the first coloring book canvas I stitched, a spiral, below. I knew that it would be difficult for me to follow the spiral if it was white canvas as well.
By coloring the spiral a light yellow, I could distinguish it easily. Depending on the stitch and thread I used, the color would also minimize needlepoint dandruff. This coloring is especially important when colors are dark or bright. Although it is difficult to show in pictures, I have found that the colors look better on similarly-colored canvas, even if the stitch has full coverage. If your stitch is open or straight, colored canvas will help make canvas lines fade away.
I stitched the spiral using couching and an unusual knitting yarn. Several rows of couching were needed. Because one of the yarn’s plies was variegated, I picked a dark blue as my couching thread which isn’t seen, as I intended. When stitching the spiral, the coloring was very useful because the spiral was not even. The different color made it easy to see where lines needed to be added and helped me get full coverage.
If you are familiar with Zecca’s style, the quiet colors of my spiral are very different. That’s the beauty of these coloring book canvases, you can change the colors and use the threads you like to get a design that suits you, while still having Zecca’s recognizable style.
These canvases are a great more budget-friendly choice for needlepoint. I recommend them highy.