Saturday, July 29, 2017

Choosing a Canvas for Embellishment

A lot of folks want to know just how to embellish a painted canvas. How do you know what stitch or thread to choose?   It all depends on the canvas and what it tells you.  Given that, picking the "right" canvas that will be easy to embellish is key, so I thought I'd talk about how I go about picking a canvas that I intend to embellish.

First of all, you have to like the canvas.  Even when you are stitching something that is a gift for someone else, at least pick a canvas that appeals to you.  That makes it more likely you'll finish the piece and enjoy the stitching journey. But besides liking the canvas, how do you proceed?  Let me illustrate what I am about to say with three similar canvases from Melissa Shirley Designs.  These are all Christmas ornaments in a pear shape.  First up is "White Bird Pear."

Secondly we have "Snowflake Pear."

And the last canvas is "Stripes and Dots Pear."  All three canvases are on 18 count and are 3 1/2 inches by 4 inches.  So what makes one a better candidate for embellishment than another?

To some extent that depends on how experienced a stitcher you are.  Many stitchers find birds difficult to stitch.  White Bird Pear is darling but it is a bird so I would not suggest this as a good first embellishment choice.  Think about what you find easy to stitch.  If canvases of people are hard for you, pick something without people.  If fur and feathers give you pause, go for another canvas.  I consider this a canvas for someone who is not a beginner at embellishment.

Now let's look at Snowflake Pear.  It is only two colors but the snowflakes are quite elaborate.  Stitching them is not for a beginner either.  The snowflakes scream BEADS to me but beads can be tricky to master as they are wiggly little things. The spaces between the snowflake areas mean a lot of compensation for the stitch used with the red background as well.   Why make your first embellishment canvas harder than it has to be?   So once again I'd pass on this canvas, even though it would be gorgeous embellished.

Stripes and Dots Pear is going to be a much simpler piece to stitch and embellish.  It is just stripes of various widths with some circles on the widest stripes.  Stripes can be done in cross stitches, tent stitches, herringbone, and many many many other stitches.  So you have a lot of simple stitches to choose from for this part.  The circles could be beaded, covered with buttons or sequins, or just stitches in a Round Rhodes stitch in a sparkly thread.  This is a much more basic design with only two elements.  This is the canvas I'd choose for a first embellishment effort.

To sum up, avoid animals or people in your first embellishment attempt, look for a design that is easy to compensate and try for simple shapes.  Of course beginners can embellish much more elaborate canvases successfully at their first attempt but why not start out easy and warm up your embellishment muscles?  Quick and easy, that's my motto for the first embellishment canvas!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright June 28, 2017 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.