How I Got Started Needlepointing

If it’s wrong to pick up a hobby right before you have two kids and your life changes, I don’t want to be right. ha! I recently picked up needlepointing and I am even more grateful for it while we are quarantined for the foreseeable future. A few of my girlfriends are fabulous at needlepoint! They make stockings, ornaments, and cheeky pillows. I kept telling them {more like begging} that they had to teach me. At the end of February, they picked up some lunch to-go, popped over to my house, and sat on my couch to teach me how to stitch my time away.

After sharing my newfound hobby, many of you requested a blog post on this. Let me just preface this by saying, I am SUCH a needlepoint novice. I was actually nervous to write a post on it. I know, that sounds so silly to type it out, but it’s because I’m quite certain many of you know the ins and outs of this pastime far better than I do. BUT, I want COF to be what you all request, so let’s just view this as more of an “update” on my newfound hobby, as opposed to a tutorial. Deal?! 😉

How to Start:

My girlfriends taught me in about 30 minutes or so, and then I send them videos when I get confused on a stitch or I’m unsure of my next color. They always assure me that you do not have to be perfect at this, and once you finish your first canvas, you’ll truly have the hang of it! With quarantining and social distancing, I realize that isn’t an option for people to learn from a friend. However, if you do have a friend that knows how, it may be helpful to send videos when you get stuck on a part! You can also take classes in person {again, not helpful for now}, but if you live in Fort Worth like I do, The French Knot on Camp Bowie is a great resource. If you live in an area with a needlepoint shop, when this is over, you could definitely call and schedule a class!

But for now, there are many great Youtube and Instagram resources!

  • This is a video Carly shared, and I find it really helpful! I watched this before my girlfriends taught me. Now, I don’t use stretcher bars or brass tacks, but I’m also new. Another thing to note, in the video you will notice she works back in the opposite direction to do the next row. I was taught to go left to right, and then I FLIP my canvas upside down to continue the same. I also do my waste knot from outside the painted canvas section. This isn’t right or wrong, it’s whatever works best for you. There are a TON of different stitching methods to learn. I do the continental stitch, but thought this video is an easy beginning guide.
  • Sometimes watching people stitch on needlepoint can be confusing, as the canvases can be small, so it’s easy to get a bit mixed up watching. If you prefer to read something to learn, this is a wonderful explanation!

This image is pulled from the above blog post linked here, but this may explain my note in the first point better. The way I stitch is from left to right, and then I flip my canvas for the next row. I would actually go 5 TO 6, then pull through, 3 TO 4, then pull through, 1 TO 2, then pull through. However, that’s how I was taught and works for me! If you are learning from the tutorials above, do how they show you! 🙂 But if you find a great tutorial for the continental stitch I do {part of the ten stitch method} feel free to link below and I’ll include!

You may also wonder where you should start on your canvas and I learned this the hard way! You’ll want to start where you can get a good repeat of your stitch, but I learned to start with light colors first. I accidentally did a few dark stitches and then when I had to go across with a lighter color, the threads got intertwined and it was a mess. But again, there is no right or wrong way! You do what is most comfortable to you. Keep this website saved as they are a great quick resource for anything and everything needlepoint.

What to Buy:

  • A Canvas: This is the fun part! I’m currently doing an Easter chick to turn into a little egg or pillow for Maxi! Lycette Designs is my favorite needlepoint Instagram to follow as of late, and you can order canvases and kits through them. Etsy is also a great resource for canvases. For really cheeky canvases or designer ones like this, you’ll want to wander Instagram. I have so many saved for future reference, but I’d start with Lycette and Morgan Julia Designs. While hand-painted canvases can be pricey, needlepoint is no quick task, and I love that you are able to support small businesses with it.
  • Fibers: Fibers are your needlepoint threads, and if you go to a shop {or buy a kit} they can guide you on what kind to get. There are popular brands but you essentially pick a fiber that matches the corresponding color of your canvas. The canvas will be painted to guide you. For my current canvas, I’m using 4 strands, but this guide also helps you.
  • Scissors: My girlfriends gave me my scissors when they taught me, but you can order these on Amazon, too.
  • Needles: Your needle size will depend on your canvas, but my girlfriends just got me a few different sizes to work with.
  • A Bag: You will need a bag to store your fibers {your thread}, and I’m currently just using the bag my girlfriends gave me from the needlepoint store. I’m trying to come up with a good organization system for my fibers- so hang tight and I’ll share when I find it!

How to Finish:

The options are endless to finish your canvas! Now, if your edges seem a bit off, do not worry. There are needlepoint finishers are your local needlepoint shop and they do that DAUNTING task! You could frame your needlepoint canvas, turn it into an ornament, a pillow, a keychain, and more. Here’s a good guide for finishing. Just keep in mind, professional finishing takes some time! If you are making a gift, you’ll want to account for that.

When to Needlepoint

Needlepoint is a marathon, not a sprint. As you can see above with my current canvas, I’m only about 40% finished and I’ve spent plenty of time with a needle in my hand the past few weeks. But don’t allow the project aspect of it to stress you. I personally wanted to learn so that I wouldn’t scroll my phone in the evening while I was watching tv. Turn on a podcast, sermon, or audiobook, and stitch for 15 minutes each night before bed. You’ll be amazed and what you cover and how soothing it is. I would say it took me about two hours of needlepoint to become REALLY into it! At first, I kept second-guessing myself when I had to switch colors or cross over, and then I got a little bit addicted to the simplicity of it. You know how runners say if you just keep running, you’ll eventually get that runner’s high? While I’ve yet to be dedicated enough to experience that doing cardio, the same is true for needlepoint. I find it blissfully relaxing and I will catch myself grabbing my canvas at random 10-minute increments throughout the day when I want to relax.

I realize this isn’t an all-encompassing guide, but I do hope it answers questions you have on needlepoint if you happen to pick up the hobby! Have you ever tried it?

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12 Comments

  1. I love your creations! Sounds like a really fun hobby! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 07 Apr 20Reply
  2. Laura Leigh wrote:

    So much fun! Love that your girl friends taught you – such a fun way to connect. Will definitely be giving this a go – wish me good luck!

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://louellareese.com

    Published 07 Apr 20Reply
  3. Alyssa wrote:

    I’ve been researching needlepoint this week so this post was perfect timing! I’m a little nervous to start though… is it hard??

    Published 07 Apr 20Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      It’s super easy to do basic stitches! I don’t know all the more intense background stitches, but I promise if I can do it, anyone can! xx, Katey

      Published 07 Apr 20Reply
  4. I cross stitch! My mom taught me when I was really little and it’s been a great hobby to come back to in times like these! I was just looking at some projects in my craft box the other day and you’ve inspired me to start a new one! Although, who knows how much I’ll get done seeing as I’m 9 months pregnant, lol!

    Published 07 Apr 20Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Aw!! I love that! And girl, same! I’m like, “Well, I guess I’ll do it now?!” haha. I hope it brings you some joy before your little one arrives! Thank you for reading. 🙂

      Published 07 Apr 20Reply
  5. Jamie wrote:

    I love the rug in the picture! Can you please tell me where it from?

    🙂 Jamie

    Published 12 Apr 20Reply
  6. Anne wrote:

    And you can count needlepoint like counted cross stitch! I love needlepoint, but didn’t do it for years because I simply didn’t have the upfront money to buy the fancy canvases. Then I discovered that that these things can be counted. Buy blank canvas, a frame, and wool and have at it. Many designs for counted cross work and if you cruise used bookstores you may find books of counted needlepoint patterns.

    Published 12 Apr 20Reply
  7. Paula Matuskey wrote:

    I started doing needlepoint in my twenties as a way to “get out of my head.” I’m now 72. I haven’t done so much recently but have a few unfinished projects which I can go back to. If you haven’t already done so take a photo of each finished piece and create a photo album of them (especially before you give one away as a gift). Next to each I note where I got the canvas, and when I completed the project, in other words what was going on in my life at the time. It’s wonderful to look back on and remember. Thanks. Paula Matuskey

    Published 13 Apr 20Reply
  8. Veda wrote:

    You have inspired me! I knit, crochet, cross-stitch and embroiderer, but now that I am on furlough from my job I wanted to learn a new craft. I’m going to order a simple kit an get started. Please keep posting your projects.

    Thank you,
    Veda

    Published 17 Apr 20Reply
  9. Barb wrote:

    I’m so glad I ran across this!! I needlepointed a looong time ago, my daughter is 39 and that’s when I started during that pregnancy!!
    Thanks I’m going to start on this again

    Published 22 Apr 20Reply