Teach Yourself Needlepoint & Embellishment

Over on Facebook's needlepoint group known informally as Needlepoint Nation, one of the most common questions I hear is How Do I learn Needlepoint?, immediately followed by How Do I Go From All Tent Stitched Canvases to Fancier Ones?  This article is intended to pull together information available via the Internet for those who don't have a local shop to help them.  If you do have a needlepoint shop in your area, they will be your best friend when it comes to learning and  then improving your stitching.


Find a Local Shop
If you are in a larger city, check the Yellow Pages to see if there is a shop with needlepoint supplies in the area.   The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is an organization for shops and designers and other needle arts businesses.  A good way to find a local shop is to search their directory.  Not every shop that sells needlepoint belongs to TNNA but any shop that does is serious about needlepoint.  Use the pull-down menus to sort through types of shops, states, etc.
http://www.tnna.org/search/custom.asp?id=113


Use Shop and Group Resources
Vetty Creations in Australia has created a series of small beginner pieces.  These kits come with everything you need and are worked from charts.
http://www.vettycreations.com.au/pendant-kits.html

In Stitches in Atlanta has a great little book called "How to Needlepoint" that will teach you the basics.
https://www.facebook.com/InStitchesATL/photos/a.572746816116182.1073741835.351241641600035/908724145851779/?type=1&theater

The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) has a great little booklet to teach you the basics of needlepoint.  This is how I learned eons ago. Many needlepoint shops and Amazon carry the booklet.
http://www.tnna.org/?page=Education


Teach Yourself Online
Several shops have learning areas for new stitchers and are making a special effort to kit up new pieces suitable for beginners.

Ruth Schmuff of Bedecked and Beaddazzled has started a series of article for beginners on her blog.    So far she has described several stitches, talked about lights and Evertite stretcher bars and explained how to start/end threads.  You can find everything she's written to date here--
http://www.notyourgrandmothersneedlepoint.com/p/the-basics.html

http://www.notyourgrandmothersneedlepoint.com/2017/01/tent-stitch.html

http://www.notyourgrandmothersneedlepoint.com/2017/02/starts-and-stops.html


Comfy Cottage and Beth Gantz have collaborated on an cyber class to teach new stitchers.  They sell a $45 kit to go with the class (second link below).  The third link below is the first YouTube video for the class.  Once you watch video one, click on the others listed on the right side of the page or go to the fourth link below, which is to their YouTube channel which is full of useful tips on how to put canvas on stretcher bars and how to do a variety of fairly common stitches.
http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=ed3546f4105dd90ce32df55c0&id=c9f140b53c&e=5e138ac361

http://www.comfy-cottage.com/collections/classes/products/beginners-needlepoint-kit-by-beth-gantz-the-comfy-cottage-digital-class-with-stitch-guide

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paDRLVEzmQ8&list=PLkINipOeV5L1f0AhkeVWOUui2alwWM6vg

Here's Comfy Cottage's newest kits that include free video help.
https://www.comfy-cottage.com/products/star-beginner-needlepoint-kit

https://www.comfy-cottage.com/products/needlepoint-kit-hearts


Enriched Stitch in Connecticut has written a list of tips for new stitchers.
http://stitchstyleblog.com/2015/01/top-tips-new-stitchers/

Needlepoint.com is in North Carolina.  Below their kits and stitching supplies is a collection of videos to help visual learners.  There's everything from how to put stretcher bars together to how to use a needle threader and ply threads.
http://www.needlepoint.com/learn/beginners/

Needlepoint For Fun is in California.  They have a great many tips on their Basic Needlepoint Stitches page and at the bottom you can click to see even more stitches.  The header at the top of the page has a "How To" section that will talk about many important things including how to rip out if you make a mistake, how to clean needlepoint, how to estimate how much thread you'll need, etc.  Under "Kits" there is a section called Beginner Kits which has pieces suitable for beginners.  I recommend you sign up for their newsletter which is terrific.
http://www.needlepoint-for-fun.com/basic-needlepoint-stitches.htm

NP For Fun also has a blog that's not very active but which also has some great articles.
http://needlepointforfun.wordpress.com

Threadneedle Street in Washington State has a wonderful page of hints and tips.
http://www.threadneedlestreet.com/Hints.html

Ridgewood Needlepoint in Ridgewood, NJ carries beginner kits for kids.  These have everything you need to work a project on 7 count canvas.
http://ridgewoodneedlepoint.blogspot.com/2014/12/need-gift-for-kid-these-kits-are-on.html

There are a great many online courses to help you learn various aspects of needlepoint once you are past the beginner stage.  Sign up for the Shining Needle Society in Yahoo Groups to get notices of their classes, check the American Needlepoint Guild website for their latest (you have to be a member to take cyberclasses but their Stitch of the Month program is free and fun), and watch for new cyberclasses from Sandy Arthur or Laura Perin.
http://www.shiningneedlesociety.com

http://www.needlepoint.org/index.php

Laura Perin (embellishment or geometrics)
http://www.laurajperindesigns.net/ljp-cyber-classes.html

Sandy Arthur (embellishment)
http://duodesignsinc.com/wpsite/cyber-classes-by-sandy-arthur



Teach Yourself More Advanced Pieces from Charts
If you have blank needlepoint canvas and thread (you can substitute 10 count plastic canvas and knitting yarn or DMC's cotton floss or cotton perle from the big crafts emporiums although this will throw the size of a project off because most needlepoint projects are on 18 count needlepoint canvas), you can do all sorts of wonderful geometric pieces to have fun while you learn.  The American Needlepoint Guild and the thread companies Rainbow Gallery and Caron all have great projects online.  Let's start with ANG's website.  This is the direct link to their Stitch of the Month program.  Most months a new stitch is shown that is used in a project.  At first the projects were only unveiled in December but for the last few years the project is a mystery one that starts in January.  You will be told what supplies you need and each month you will work another section using a new stitch.
http://www.needlepoint.org/Stitch.php

The thread companys' projects are done to promote their products but don't let that stop you.  Use any thread you can get your hands on to work some of these delightful designs.  Here is the Caron website.  Projects are hidden in several places here.  Look under "Online Classes," "Free Patterns," "Designer Spotlights" and "Kids Projects" until you find something that appeals to you.
http://www.caron-net.com/

Here is the Rainbow Gallery website's free needlepoint charts.  Both websites have many tips on how to use their threads and online color cards to help you choose threads or use those you are unfamiliar with.
http://www.rainbowgallery.com/freechartdownloads.cfm?ID=12



How to Embellish Needlepoint Canvases
The trend these days is to use fancy threads and stitches on painted canvases.  How do you know how to do that?  Experience, my friend.  You learn by doing.  However, there is help available to get you started.  ANG's website posted this article I wrote ages ago about how I choose threads and stitches for a painted canvas.  I also wrote an article for ANG's magazine Needle Pointers about why I choose the threads I did for a Russian Santa canvas.  If you have a friend who has the May 2014 issue, ask to borrow it.
http://www.needlepoint.org/FAQ/phobia.php

The Stitches for Effect series of books are very very useful to someone who needs help choosing stitches for their canvas.  Written by Suzanne Howren and the late Beth Robertson, there are three books in the series.  They are organized by effect so that if you need a stitch for snowflakes, you can look in the index and find stitches recommended for snow and snowflakes.  The front of the book talks about various threads and the companies that produce them which is helpful if you don't have a shop nearby and have to mail order supplies.  (By the way, Stitches to Go is the portable version of these books, but it is diagrams only.  There isn't an index or help choosing what stitch will make good snow or hair or clothing.)
http://www.threadneedlestreet.com/booksndptstitches.htm

Ruth Dilts's Needlepoint 101 and Needlepoint 202 books are also useful.  They are not as helpful for looking things up but I think they are very inspirational for new stitchers as Ruth shows off a series of projects and explains what stitch (with diagrams!) she used and why.  You can use Ruth's ideas for beards, clothes, houses, etc. over and over in your own projects.  Her books are not as full of stitches as the Stitches for Effect series but they are cheaper if you aren't certain you want to learn embellishment.
http://www.newneedlepoint.com/content-product_info/product_id-2446/needlepoint_101_guide_to_painted_canvas_by_ruth_dilts.html

http://www.newneedlepoint.com/content-product_info/product_id-2447/needlepoint_202_embellishment_of_the_painted_canvas_by_ruth_dilts.html



Shop Help with Beginner Supplies
Come to the Point in San Rafael, CA stocks beginner kits for $19.95 from DeElda (second link below).  For the older beginner, they suggest the Lee three inch round ornaments and they stock a nice assortment of those.   Call the shop and ask Michelle for help if you need to mail order supplies.
http://www.cometothepoint.com

http://www.deeldaneedleworkkits.com

Ridgewood also has a nice beginner class kit.  They teach this in the shop but are willing to send it via mail order to folks who aren't in New Jersey.  As you can see, this is customized with the right initial for you.
http://ridgewoodneedlepoint.blogspot.com/2014/11/beginner-class-kit.html

Needlepoint.com in Raleigh, NC has beginner kits and beginner videos online, and they do several cyberclasses with videos to help their long distance students whether they are just starting or want to learn new techniques.
http://needlepoint.com/learn/beginners/

http://needlepoint.com/learn/videos/


Shop Help with Embellishment
BeStitched in Arizona has what they call the Stitch Addiction Boxes Club.  These are a monthly delivery of interesting threads and gadgets with videos on how to use them.  This is perfect for the stitcher who wants to branch out, even if they are a tad pricey.
http://www.bestitchedneedlepointshop.com/store/stitch-addiction-box-first-month-includes-doodle-canvas-stretcher-bars-and-tacks-to-get-you-started-along-with-your-first-dvd-and-fibers/dp/23468


More Help is Available
These are the most basic resources available.  There are many, many more. For example, at the bottom of the front page of Blog I list all the sites I know about with online stitch diagrams and online thread and color assistance.   There is also a tab at the top of this page called "Tutorials and Hints" which might answer your question.

If you know of a shop or website that has special online help for new stitchers that I don't have listed, let me know by using the Comment section below or emailing me at chillyhollow at hotmaildotcom.  Thanks!

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