If you are using a multi-ply fiber such as persian wool or cotton embroidery floss, you will find that you will achieve more even, smoother stitches if you "strip" your fiber first. This lofts the wool fibers, and untwists other fibers such as floss and other divisible threads. The threads should first be cut to their working length. Then hold the thread between your thumb and forefinger, pat one end of the thread with a finger to separate, and pick one ply/strand apart from the group of strands at a time. After each strand has been separated, reassemble the strands based on the number of ply appropriate for the canvas size. (See Canvas Tips.)

Silk is sensitive to sun and wet blocking. Other materials and synthetics are considered less delicate, but not necessarily more durable (museum pieces prove that!)

Measuring wool amounts for canvas is part mathematics, part educated guess. (WE DO PRECISE GUESSWORK) This should serve as a good guideline: approximately 1.25 yards per square inch of color area. This may need to be multiplied by number of ply if more than one strand is necessary to fill each hole well.

Threads can also be laid smooth by using a "stroking" tool. As the loop of a thread goes through the canvas, a tool can be used momentarily on this loop to let the thread "ride" over it to make each strand in that thread flat, or lay side-by-side. (Refer to tools section.)

The tension of your stitches is very important to the quality of your finished product. Let each thread rest on the canvas flat and smooth. Tugging is not needed and will distort the canvas threads badly and make your work perhaps nearly impossible to be made up when finishing. Frames or stretcher bars will assist with achieving the proper tension. Refer to the section on Canvas Tips.

When threading floss, the fresh cut end is considered the needle eye end, as well as the end to strip/separate threads from most easily.

Wax in small amounts may be used to tame fine metal threads. Frizzy tails are tamed by a non-glue product called "Fray Check".

Darker color wools may seem thinner to stitch with than lighter colors; they have had to absorb more dye in the manufacturing process.

The shine (or mercerization) of cotton floss and perle cotton threads will come off with wet blocking when being finished. Perspiration on your hands may also affect cotton fibers this way.

Do not seal needlepoint yarns and canvas in plastic bags for storage purposes. Wool, cotton floss, all natural fibers, and canvas need air circulation as all fibers continue to move and breath. Also, condensation may form which will easily damage both your work and unused fibers.

Return to The Needlepoint Group Project Index Page
©1995 TNG