Tuesday, June 1, 2021

How to Stitch: A Beginner's Guide to Painted Canvases

Lots of people are trying needlepoint for the first time.  I thought I'd post about my current project (a mini sock with Hawaiian torch ginger from Vanoni) to help answer common questions that people wonder about when they start needlepointing a paint or printed canvas, just in case you have no one to ask.

Vanoni's Torch Ginger Mini Sock

So, here it is, a little design that's about 3 1/2 inches at the widest point and perhaps 5 inches tall.  It's on 18 count needlepoint canvas, which means approximately 18 stitches to the inch.  Take a good look.  As you can see, most of the design is outlined, either in black (leaves) or dark red (torch ginger flower).  The sock itself is outlined in black, too.  Just keep that in mind.  It's important.

The first decision to make is what color to use for the background, which is unpainted.  You can go with any color you want, but often if you choose a very dark color like black or navy, the white canvas will show.  We needlepointers call that "dandruff."  Since I don't want white speckles in the background, I rummaged in my stash and found a pretty pale yellow Impressions from Caron for the background.  Any white that shows won't be noticeable if I use pale yellow.  

Impressions is a silk/wool blend.  I decided to see what other silk/wool blends I had in two shades of red and green tucked away in my stash.  I found I had both greens and the dark red in Planet Earth's Essentials, which is a blend of silk and merino wool.  You can mix thread types, of course, and use a metallic with cotton,  wool and silk, but these threads can be different weights so I would recommend beginners use one type of thread for everything until you have a little experience under your belt.  

The only problem I had with thread colors is that my two shades of green were a dark rich green and a dark olive green.  I didn't have any spring green in a silk-wool blend!  Oh, well, I'll just use olive green and no one will ever know.  You won't tell, will you?

I have some pink Bella Lusso, an all-wool thread from Fleur de Paris for the flower.  More about that later.

I didn't look for any black thread for the black lines.  That's because I'm not going to stitch them. I'll just cover the black lines on the leaves with green.  Let's take a look at the painted canvas again.

This design was originally drawn on needlepoint canvas as a black and white drawing, then the artist filled in the various areas with paint, sort of like coloring in a coloring book.  The black lines are just guide lines--they don't add to the design.  Since I'm using two shades of dark green, the black lines won't show if I stitch over them.

The red lines are also guidelines but they serve a purpose--they are there to help outline the petals of the torch ginger blossom.  I am going to stitch the dark red lines so the flower won't be a big shapeless blob.  The outline of the sock is just a guideline.  I'll stitch yellow background up to the line.  The yellow thread won't hide the black lines well.  The black lines may show through the pale yellow, but that's ok. I won't cover the black outline and the finishing will hide that edge anyway.   

I think that's enough for today.  Tomorrow I'll talk about the stitches I will use.  Stay tuned!

Questions?  Just email me at chilly hollow at hot mail dot com.

Now that this series is finished, I'll post all the remaining articles here:

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com
and at http://chstitchguides.blogspot.com
© Copyright April 17, 2021 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.