By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor
Needlepoint offers a wide range of possibilities for
self-expression. It can be used to create pictures, pillows, seat
cushions and other beautiful items to decorate your home. You can
also stitch belts, purses, shoes, vests, and other clothing and
Needlepoint and embroidery are interrelated. Embroidery is any art
which involves decorating fabrics with stitched designs; needlepoint
consists of using a tent stitch, also known as a half cross-stitch,
to create designs on stiff mesh or open-weave fabric, mostly canvas.
Needlepoint is a type of embroidery.
The history of needlepoint and embroidery reaches back to the
ancient world. Fragments of embroidered items have been found in
numerous areas, mostly Egypt and China. Basic stitches such as cross
stitch, half cross stitch and satin stitch have been found on
textiles that are more than 3,000 years old. From this, needlepoint
and cross stitch can be considered some of the oldest forms of
Needlepoint has become a much-loved hobby and decorative art. There
are a large number of organizations and crafter's groups who freely
share information and patterns. Books on needlepoint and embroidery
are available at most book stores in the crafts section, and
needlepoint patterns can also be found through magazines and online
sources. Patterns come in many varieties and can be charted out or
directly printed onto the ground fabric.
Needlepoint supplies and kits can be found online and at craft and
fabric stores. Needlepoint kits are an excellent way for a beginner
to learn the basics of the art of embroidery. These kits include a
pattern, stitching and finishing instructions, the ground fabric and
all supplies needed to complete the project. Unlike most other forms
of embroidery, a hoop is not required for needlepoint. Most crafters
use some type of wooden frame to hold the canvas taut for ease of
stitching. These frames can be found with needlepoint and embroidery
kits at craft stores.
The fabric most used for needlepoint is stiff, open-weave canvas,
and it is available in a variety of weights. Heavier-weight canvas
is excellent for items such as cushions or wall hangings; lighter
weight canvas is more suited to pieces such as table runners and
eyeglass cases. The stiffness of the required canvas makes this type
of embroidery more suited to decorative items than garments, and it
is rarely found on clothing.
The weight of the canvas determines the thickness of the embroidery
thread or yarn that is used for a project. The basic concept of
needlepoint is to stitch over the design area and completely cover
it with thread or yarn. For a heavy-weight canvas with wide spacing
between threads, a thicker yarn must be used to ensure that none of
the background fabric can be seen. For lighter weight fabric,
lighter weight threads and novelty items such as ribbon can be used.
Needlepoint creates a beautiful and durable work of embroidery art
that can be enjoyed for many years. Individual touches can be added
by using novelty threads and materials and by learning to create
patterns. Needlepoint and its cousin, cross stitch, are types of
embroidery that have been in use for most of recorded history, and
enjoyed by various cultures around the world.