High Fashion Accessories Needlepoint
Needlepoint or canvas work is a form of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through a stiff open weave canvas. Traditionally needlepoint designs completely cover the canvas. Although needlepoint may be worked in a variety of stitches, many needlepoint designs use only a simple tent stitch and rely upon color changes in the yarn to construct the pattern.
The degree of detail in needlepoint depends on the thread count of the underlying mesh fabric. Needlepoint worked on a stiff canvas. Due to the inherent lack of suppleness of needlepoint, common uses include eyeglass cases, holiday ornaments, pillows, purses, upholstery, and wall hangings.
The thread used for stitching may be wool, silk, cotton or combinations, such as wool-silk blend. Variety fibers may also be used, such as metallic cord, metallic braid, ribbon, or raffia. Stitches may be plain, covering just one thread intersection with a single orientation, or fancy, such as in bargello or other counted-thread stitches. Plain stitches, known as tent stitches, may be worked as basketweave, continental or half cross. Basketweave uses the most wool, but does not distort the rectangular mesh and makes for the best-wearing piece.
Several types of embroidery canvas are available: single thread and double thread embroidery canvas are open even-weave meshes, with large spaces or holes to allow heavy threads to pass through without fraying. Canvas is sized by mesh sizes, or thread count per inch. Sizes vary from 5 threads per inch to 24 threads per inch; popular mesh sizes are 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 . The different types of needlepoint canvas available on the market are interlock, mono, penelope, plastic, and rug.
Commercial designs for needlepoint may be found in different forms: hand-painted canvas, printed canvas, trammed canvas, charted canvas, and free-form.
In hand-painted canvas, the design is painted on the canvas by the designer, or painted to their specifications by an employee or contractor. Canvases may be stitch-painted, meaning each thread intersection is painstakingly painted so that the stitcher has no doubts about what color is meant to be used at that intersection. Alternatively, they may be hand-painted, meaning that the canvas is painted by hand but the stitcher will have to use their judgment about what colors to use if a thread intersection is not clearly painted. Hand-painted canvases allow the stitcher to give free range to their creativity with threads and unique stitches by not having to pay attention to a separate chart. In North America this is the most popular form of needlepoint canvas.
Printed canvas is when the design is printed by silk screening or computer onto the needlepoint canvas. Printing the canvas in this means allows for faster creation of the canvas and thus has a lower price than Hand-Painted Canvas. However, care must be taken that the canvas is straight before being printed to ensure that the edges of the design are straight. Designs are typically less involved due to the limited color palette of this printing method. The results (and the price) of printed canvas vary extensively. Often printed canvases come as part of kits, which also dramatically vary in quality, based on the printing process and the materials used. This form of canvas is widely available outside North America.
On a trammed canvas the design is professionally stitched onto the canvas by hand using horizontal stitches of varying lengths of wool of the appropriate colours. The canvas is usually sold together with the wool required to stitch the trammed area. The stitcher then uses tent stitch over the horizontal lines with the trame stitches acting as an accurate guide as to the colour and number of stitches required. This technique is particularly suited to designs with a large area of mono-colour background as such areas do not require tramming, reducing the cost of the canvas and allowing the stitcher to choose the background colour themselves. The Portuguese island of Madeira is the historic centre for the manufacture of trammed canvases.
Charted canvas designs are available in book or leaflet form. They are available at book stores and independent needlework stores. Charted Canvas designs are typically printed in two ways: either in grid form with each thread intersection being represented with a symbol that shows what color is meant to be stitched on that intersection, or as a line drawing where the stitcher is to trace the design onto his canvas and then fill in those areas with the colors listed. Books typically include a grouping of designs from a single designer such as Kaffe Fassett or Candace Bahouth, or may be centered on a theme such as Christmas or Victorian Needlepoint. Leaflets usually include one to two designs and are usually printed by the individual designer.
While traditionally needlepoint has been done to create a solid fabric, more modern needlepoint incorporates colored canvas, a variety of fibers and beadwork. Different stitching techniques also allow some of the unstitched, or lightly stitched, canvas to show through, adding an entirely new dimension to needlepoint work. Some of these techniques include "shadow" or "light" stitching, blackwork on canvas, and pattern darning.