To prepare the canvas

I bind the edges of the canvas with White Masking Duck Tape before I send it to you. This will prevent the canvas from unraveling and from catching the yarns as you stitch. To do this, I cut 4 pieces of tape the length of the sides of the canvas. I apply the tape over the canvas edge, with half of the tape on the front side and half on the back side. I do this on all four sides of the canvas.

To thread the needle

It is easiest to use the DMC needle threader. Slide the eye of the needle onto the hook, then loop the yarn on the hook and pass the hook through the eye of the needle and pull the yarn through

"Pinch and Poke" is also an easy method. Cut a clean end of yarn and "pinch" it in a loop between your thumb and forefinger, leaving only a little of the loop exposed. Holding the needle in your other hand, "poke" the eye of the needle over the loop of yarn, then pull the yarn through.

 

To begin a strand of yarn

Cut a strand of yarn no longer than 19" (50cm). Knot the end, then bring the needle down through the canvas (the knot will be on the front of the canvas). Pull the yarn through, leaving 1" of yarn behind. As stitching progresses, the yarn underneath will be secured and you can cut the knot.

 

then, for the next strand

you can "feed" the strand through a few stitches at the back of the canvas to secure in place and then bring the yarn through to the front at the desired position. Do not carry the yarn across the back when going to another area of the canvas.

If the yarn becomes twisted as your work, allow the needle and yarn to dangle and the yarn will unwind itself.

 

To finish a strand

When a length of yarn is finished, secure the end by running the needle through a few stitches on the back (remember, there should be no knot on the back of the canvas). Any loose ends on the back of your work should be snipped away after being secured.

To park your yarns

If you use several colors over a small part of the canvas, you can "park" your yarns instead of cutting them.

To straighten your canvas (not necessary if you use a frame)

  • Remove your canvas from the frame.

  • On a piece of thick white paper trace a rectangle the size of your canvas and tape the paper on a piece of wood or cork.

  • Dampen your needlepoint and lay it, good side down, on the paper. You need to match the outline of the canvas on the square you have traced on the paper. This will involve some stretching.

  • To straighten the canvas, start at the center of each side and pull diagonally, pressing in thumbtacks all the way around as you stretch the canvas out from the center. The tacks will need to be no more than 1” apart and closer in places where more tugging is required. Your aim is to stretch and straighten the canvas to match the rectangle on the paper.

  • Allow it to dry for a few hours.

  • Protect your finished needlepoint by spraying it with a fabric protector to prevent moisture, dirt and grime from destroying your hard work.

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