Thursday, July 16, 2015

Choosing a Printed Canvas

What do you do when you see something fabulous like this amaryllis canvas?  Once you stop drooling and realize that it is printed on needlepoint canvas, I mean?

Printed or silk screened canvases have a bad reputation but they vary in quality.  Some are very good and some aren't, and often you can find both types from one company.  It all depends on the design you fall for.  Let me explain.

What are the best strategies for picking a printed design that you will enjoy stitching?  If you are a person who has a lot of trouble with canvases where it isn't crystal clear what color goes where, it's best if you walk away from a printed or silk-screened design.  But if you are tempted by the lovely designs and the prices (which are usually lower than painted canvases),  you can check out websites whose pieces are usually very well printed such as Patt and Lee Designs.

Look for a design that is simple or stylized, like this elephant from Baba Yaga, that has large blocks of color...

...instead of this very beautiful, detailed and realistic fairy from the same company which is going to be much more difficult to stitch, even all in tent stitches.  If you are feeling very brave, though, try to choose a detailed canvas that comes in 18 count so you can stitch in the small areas you will need to convey the essence of the design.

Pick a canvas where you can tent stitch the main area and use fancy stitches for the background, like this little bird and teacup canvas from Chelsea Needlepoint.

It usually is good to avoid a canvas with faces which are often hard to stitch.  If you really want to do a figure, though, look for a more stylized one like this piece.  Her fingers will be a little tricky but having the design on 13 count might help there.

You can also use open stitches to cover a piece completely with pattern.  Look at this reproduction of a Japanese print--

Brenda Hart uses simple open stitches to cover a design with pattern and her technique (seen in the link below) would work well on the fish piece above.  You could pick a wavy stitch to mimic water and end up with something very pretty, although this sort of stitch is best for something you plan to frame, not something that will have some wear.

There are plenty of strategies to help you pick just the right printed canvas.  Going back to our original Mondrian amaryllis piece, pick a lovely open stitch for the background so that the beautiful blue shading shows through, then work another open stitch in long random horizontal straight stitches for the bottle, work random verticals for the stem, and use one ply of silk in needle shading for the petals with slightly more solid stitches in yellow for the centers and tent stitches for the streaks.  It would be stunning, trust me!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright June 26, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

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