I would like to know
something of the history and description of needle point.
HISTORY OF NEEDLE POINT
From the National Needlearts Association
The roots of needle point go back thousands of years to the ancient
Egyptians who used small slanted stitches to sew up their canvas tents.
There are also many references in the Bible to elaborate needlework on
religious articles, including the tent used for worship in ancient
In the Middle Ages, there were two types of needlework that were
forerunners of modern needle point. A kind of embroidery, in 13th century
Europe, was done on coarsely woven linen fabric similar to canvas mesh.
Tapestries, also popular in that era, were woven on vertical threads on
a loom. In the 16th century, people began to imitate these forms on a
canvas background using steel needles, invented around this time. This
allowed more intricate work than the fishbone or thorn needles used
During the times of Mary, Queen of Scotts (who did needle point during
her long imprisonment), needle point was a pastime of the leisure class.
As time went on, its appeal gradually broadened to other parts of
There are few examples of needle point from early Colonial America since
American women had little time to spare for stitching that was not
absolutely practical. With an increase in leisure time along with the
invention of a method of printing colored charts for needle point designs
(called "Berlin Work"), needle point finally took its rightful
place in style.
Needle point - Technique of putting stitches on openwork mesh canvas so
the canvas is completely covered.
Needle point is a form of canvas work created on a mesh canvas. The
stitching threads used may be wool, silk, or rarely cotton. Stitches may
be plain, covering just one mesh intersection with a single orientation,
or fancy, such as bargello. Plain stitches may be worked as basketweave
or half cross. Basketweave uses the most wool, but does not distort the
I want to learn needle point. What is the easiest
way for me to get started?
The best way for a beginner to learn needlepoint is to get kits. They
make life easier for you, needle point-wise.These kits come with
instructions on how to do needle point, and all of the supplies you will
need are furnished for you.
I have now done three needle point kits. Where can
I get tips when I go to the next level?
When you choose to advance to the next level, there are tips and
pointers to guide you. Below are a few of them, as well as information
on websites which will inform you even further.
The following pointers come from The Needle
point Group, a group of independant needlepoint design companies
joined together for the betterment of the needle point industry.
For more, go to http://www.stitching.com/npg/
It is always better to stitch small design areas first, then the larger
areas. They may be stitched simultaneously if the areas are well
divided. White wools should be stitched first (if possible) so that
hairs of fiber from darker colors will not become tangled in with the
FRAMES AND STRETCHER BARS
For the best quality work use either a stretcher bar or scroll frame to
hold canvas taut while working. Over time, holding the design with your
fingers softens starched canvas and makes stitches wobble. Using a frame
keeps stitches clean and even, permitting easier finishing and smooth
When you use stretcher bars, the canvas is stapled or thumb tacked to
the bars. (Suggestion: covering staples or tacks with cloth tape will
minimize thread snagging.)
If you use a scroll frame, locate the middle of the tape on the dowel
and the middle of the canvas. Match these two points. Place tape and
canvas together side-by-side as if you were sewing a seam in a garment.
Starting at the middle point, overcast the two together with close
stitches. Tie off firmly. Attach the second bar to the opposite side of
the canvas using the same method as used above. Pull the overcast seams
flat and then roll the canvas around to bars.
You might find it convenient to use a needlepoint stand to hold your
frame or stretcher bars. (There are lap, table and floor models.) This
will allow you to have both hands free for stitching, one above the
canvas and the other below.
BLOCKING NEEDLE POINT
Shops often provide blocking and finishing services. This entails
spraying water on the finished piece, if the threads used will tolerate
this, and then using stainless steel staples or tacks to square off on
the blocking board to make all stitches even.
If the finished piece is square (a good reason for using a frame) a
light steaming on the backside, with cloth or towel between your canvas
and the steam of the iron, may be used. (Do not place the iron directly
Following is an excerpt from A GUIDE TO
For many more tips, go to http://www.stitching.com/npg/
TIPS ON BEGINNING
Needle Choice: Needles are selected according to the particular mesh
of the canvas to be used for each project. The proper needle will fall
down into the hole of your canvas and catch at the eye of the needle, or
fall all the way through. If the needle is patted or pushed down into
the hole, the needle has made the canvas holes displace, disturbing the
weave of the canvas. This will cause uneven stitches and warping of the
Thread Lengths: Working thread lengths should be 18 to 20 inches
or, as an easy measure, from the tip of your middle finger to the bend
of your elbow. Long threads wear the nap off and get too thin as a
result of passing through the canvas holes too many times. The only
exception to this rule is when Bargello or Florentine (long) stitches
are to be used. (Note: Even for experienced stitchers, somehow the
thread is never long enough to do the last two stitches in the row! It
makes no difference if the beginning thread was 6 inches long or 6 miles
Threading: The short length of the fiber that goes through the
eye of the needle should not be any longer than two inches. All threads
wear and get frizzy at the needle's eye from pulling through the rough
canvas. (Using long threads and sliding the needle along is not
acceptable because soon you will stitch the frizzy part of the thread,
which results in a weak, or roughened, worn stitch.)
Starting: It is always better to stitch small design areas first,
then the larger areas. They may be stitched simultaneously if the areas
are well divided. White wools should be stitched first (if possible) so
that hairs of fiber from darker colors will not become tangled in with