Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Want to Learn Needle Painting? Introduction to Stitches

There are only a few stitches used in needle painting:  long and short, satin stitch, split stitch and stem stitch.  For your convenience I've found the best online diagrams of each so you have these references at hand.  Most of the stitch diagrams I've found are for embroidery so the ground material is fabric, not needlepoint canvas.  This makes it a little harder to come up and go down where you should since the grid of needlepoint canvas dictates where your needle can go down.  To counteract this, simply use a sharp needle like a crewel needle* instead of the blunt tapestry needles we normally use.

Long and Short
This is a nice basic video about how to do long and short.  Easy-peasy!

Satin Stitch
Mary Corbet does a fabulous satin stitch video here.  She is padding the area first, which comes in very useful for slightly raised areas like dog noses, but this isn't necessary for satin stitches.  The outlining she does is also very helpful to create a lovely edge for the area to be covered in satin stitches but this isn't always necessary for needlepoint.

Split Stitch
Another simple stitch, split stitch can be worked with the needle coming up through the previous stitch, or with the needle going down into the previous stitch.   It is easier to know where to split the previous stitch if you go down into it, but the preferred way is to come up through the stitch.  The end result looks better.  So learn to do it by feel from the back and you'll be happier with the look.

Stem Stitch
Stem stitch is a lot like split stitch and its cousin, outline stitch.  It's not too hard, either.  I like to do rows of stem stitch to fill an area, packing them in as tightly as possible, and varying the length of the first stitch of a row so that the area where you come up and go down for each stitch doesn't line up across the rows even though almost all the stitches are about the same length.

And that's it!  None of these stitches are hard, even if you do have to use a sharp needle to pierce the needlepoint canvas threads underneath to put a stitch exactly where you want it.  Because we will be using only 1-2 plies of a thin thread, we can easily cover with another layer over stitches that aren't as perfect as we'd like.  (Cheating?  Only if you tell and I won't!)

I'd like to emphasize that you won't use all of these stitches to do needle painting. It's more typical that only 2-3 of them are used on a piece.  But I wanted to put everything in one place as a reference for the tutorial I'm building.  I'll add each posting to the "Needle Painting on Needlepoint Canvas Tutorial" tab as they go live.

*Donna posted in the comments she uses Bohin's chenille needles for needle painting. Personally I often use beading needles, since they are sharp and I have a nice supply of them.  Whatever works for you is fine so see what you have put away or what your favorite shop has a nice supply of in a small sharp needle that will pierce the needlepoint canvas threads.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com
© Copyright November 29, 2015 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.