Grospoint - meshes from 1 0 to 13 per inch. Stitched with a variety of threads.
Petit point - meshes 18 to 64 per inch. Stitched with a variety of threads. Canvas can be made of cotton or silk (for the finest mesh, 24 threads per inch and smaller).
Gauge, or mesh, refers to the number of threads per horizontal inch from selvage to selvage.
Selvage is the heavy woven sides of the canvas yardage. This selvage should always be on the right or left side of a printed or hand-painted canvas design, never on the top or bottom. Canvas threads are not woven evenly, so turning the canvas will make your stitches wobbly.
The canvas is always cut 1.5 to 2 inches larger all around than the design area, regardless of the mesh. For example, for a 12 X l2 worked area, the cut size of the canvas would be 14 X l4. This allows for finishing and ease in handling the canvas while stitching.
Cut canvas edges should always be finished by either taping, turning under on a sewing machine, or attaching a binding tape. This will keep the canvas from raveling or catching threads on rough edges while stitching. When cutting canvas, use sharp sewing scissors and cut through a row of holes.
When marking on canvas, use waterproof markers (Pilot SC-UF, or Marvy permanent-black only). Do not use pencils or ball point pens as they will bleed through and ruin your work. You may test any pen by marking on the edge of the canvas, letting it dry, then blotting it with a damp paper towel to see if it bleeds.
Needlepoint stitches in basic stitching only slant one way, from lower left to upper right. Refer to the diagrams on the following pages for examples of these stitches.
Always stitch according to the intended color of the intersection of canvas threads, not what you think the color of either hole should be. Two colors may share holes, but only one color per intersection.
Ideally, a frame should be used to hold the canvas while you are stitching it. Use either stretcher bars (available in 1 inch length increments) or a scroll frame. Stands and lights with magnification are also helpful. (Refer to the Needlepoint Tools section)
Always "rest" or "park" the needle when you are finished stitching for any reason on the outside, design area of the canvas. If the needle is "parked" in an area that is to be stitched or has already been stitched, it will cause the canvas to buckle and stretch any stitches that are already there.
When stitching a hand-painted canvas the intersection where two canvas threads cross, and the color that intersection is painted, determines the color of thread used to form the stitch. (Holes and their painted colors, when stitched, may contain two different colors.) When an intersection is painted half and half, an "executive decision" is needed. That is, whatever you desire as one stitch is generally not crucial.
NOTE: EXPERIENCE TELLS US THAT RIPPING IS SOMETIMES PART OF THE PROCESS TO GET BETTER WORK. NOT PERFECTION, JUST BETTER!
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