Improve your stitching without much work!

Happy Sunday everyone! Today on Stitch Style, I wanted to share my top easiest ways to improve your stitching, without too much work at all! These are simple fixes, that I often notice and get asked about when I’m working in the shop at Needlepoint.Com. I hope you all find them helpful!

1. Work on Stretcher Bars

Whether it’s a little 5 x 5 ornament for your Christmas tree, or a giant canvas you’re going to have framed in your house, work on stretcher bars that fit the piece! I can’t tell you all how much of a must this is in my book- I work everything on stretcher bars. The more you can preserve the original shape of the canvas, the easier a job your finisher will have, and the nicer your needlepoint will look when you go to have it framed or finished!
(Plus they only cost $2-3 a pair!)

2. If you’re not working on Stretcher Bars, don’t fold your canvas!

I see this all the time! If you want to work a piece of needlework in hand, when you go to put it away, don’t fold the canvas! When you fold your projects in half or in quarters, you will distort the weave of the canvas, ultimately putting ridges in your project, and meaning it will probably need to be blocked when you’re finished.
The best way of storing your needlepoint when you’re not working on it is to roll it up!

3. Take care with Dye Lots

If you’re planning on stitching an entire background in one color, pay attention to dye lots. With most threads, there will likely be a dye lot listed on the label. You want to make sure you are using skeins all dyed at the same time.
This will ensure your background color will all match perfectly!

4. Learn to Basketweave

Often times I get asked by customers “Why do I have lines in my canvas?” Stitching large areas of color (like a background) in all Continental Stitch, Half Cross, or a combination of the two, will likely result in you seeing horizontal lines in your canvas. The answer to this is to learn to Basketweave. This stitch will tension more evenly and result in a prettier finished product. Here’s a “how to” diagram if you want to learn how:

Improve your stitching with basketweave

5. Pay attention to your tension

It is important to take care and make sure that you are pulling evenly through the canvas with each stitch you do. Don’t pull super hard on one stitch, and then hardly pull your thread through the canvas on the next stitch. This is made easier by making sure you are using the correct weight of thread on your canvas.

6. Don’t put knots in the back of your canvas

When it comes to starting a new thread, you have a few different options to chose from. You could use a waste knot, run your thread through the back of an area that is already stitched, or hold it in place and stitch over the top of it. But please, don’t put knots in the back of your canvas! You run the risk of threads coming lose, or having lumps in the front of your canvas when it is finished.

7. Finish your threads with the canvas thread

When it comes to finishing your threads, make sure you run them either horizontal or vertical, with the lines of the canvas. If you are Basketweaving, and finish your thread with the diagonal rows you are stitching, you may see a diagonal line in your canvas where you ended your thread.

8. Take a class!

If there’s a specific technique you’ve always wanted to learn…take a class! Whether it’s a technique class, canvas embellishment, or a set piece, it’s impossible to go to a class and not learn something! There are many techniques that don’t lend themselves well to diagrams in a book, and are much easier to master if you see them in person.
If you don’t live near a shop, consider taking an online class!

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things!

With so many books to chose from, and a plethora of online resources, it’s easy to find stitch diagrams and how to videos. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and use a new stitch you’ve never done before, or leave some canvas open!

  • Love these tips! My stitching got so much better once I started to put my canvases on bars. Amazing how something so simple can make such a difference!

  • My work has gotten so much better once I learned how to basketweave!