Learning to Needlepoint!

Learning to Needlepoint

Learning to Needlepoint!

Needlepoint is quickly becoming a favorite hobby. I love it so much. I find it really meditative and calming. It keeps me off my phone when I’m watching TV. It is the perfect companion for a podcast or audiobook. It’s also just fun and gives you a great way to make something for your home or a thoughtful gift. I have really just started my journey but my DMs have been flooded with questions. So I thought I’d do a little post with what I have learned so far and how I got started. This is by no means a guide to needlepoint… truly, it’s just my own experiences so far. I will be sure to update you as I learn more and progress.

How I learned to needlepoint:

Please keep in mind I am a beginner! I only know one stitch and have made one little sign and one coaster. That being said, from what I’ve seen so far… it’s very easy! My friend Annika is an amazing needlepointer and she came over one afternoon and taught me. She taught me the Continental stitch which is very easy to get the hang of. I do want to eventually learn other stitches but this one seems great for just about everything I’ve tried so far. There are so many great online tutorials. Here is is a great Youtube tutorial for Continental stitch!

Where to buy canvases:

I bought my first couple canvases from Lycette as Annika recommended it. I love their merchandise and I like how they have such a wide array of cool canvases geared toward younger people. I feel the same about Penny Linn. Both sites have extensive beginner sections.

I highly recommend – at least as a beginner – having the store you choose “kit” your canvas with thread. It will take the guesswork out! I have found that I really like the Silk & Ivory silk and wool blend fibers.

What I’ve made and plan to make!

Finished: Meet Me in the Pool sign (my first!) Malachite coaster

Currently working on: Pink & Green Marbled Square (this will be a pillow!)

Up next: Cape Cod Chips, I Got it from my Grandma (this is me, my grandma was my hero), Rainbow Popsicle (I think this will be an ornament, my niece is going to love!), Cape Cod Book

What to do when you finish stitching.

There are a lot of things you can do here. You can self finish the canvas (I don’t dare try this, at least just yet), or have it framed. For something a little fancier, you can have it professionally finished. This is not included in the cost of the canvas and can be expensive. Most stores will finish it for you (note: this is an additional fee and can get expensive!). They can turn your finished canvas into anything from a pillow to a little door sign to a coaster to a Christmas ornament, etc! I have not had anything professionally finished yet but I will report back. My plan right now is to send mine to Lycette for finishing as I’ve heard really good things about their finishing services (though the wait times are long!).

What else you need!

You do not need much besides your canvas, a needle, and sharp scissors. Here are some other things I like!

  1. You do need sharp embroidery scissors. I’ve love these, and how cute is this little scissor cover?
  2. Pouches to keep your projects separate. I keep my canvas and all of the threads associated with a project in my pouches. I bought these pouches from Amazon but there are also so many cute options. Penny Linn has an amazing assortment. Krista very kindly gifted me this one (in my favorite color) and I love it so much!
  3. This book is a great resource for all of the different stitches. There are so many!
  4. A needle minder is a fun touch but not necessary (it is a magnet that keeps your needle attached to the canvas when you aren’t using it). Sometimes I use mine, sometimes I don’t… you can just as easily tuck it into your canvas.
  5. A neck light might be helpful!

Lastly, a warning! This hobby can get expensive. I have gotten a lot of DMs about the cost. I know!!! The canvases I have chosen are all hand painted. You can definitely find less expensive canvases (printed vs. hand painted, on Amazon and Etsy). Finishing in particular can be especially expensive depending on what you want them to do, so just plan for this (and ask your needlepoint shop for an estimate ahead of time if you are worried about it). Or, explore self-finishing options. I’m just not quite there yet to advise on that!

Disclosure: If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. I only feature things I truly love here. Thanks for your support.

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25 Comments

  1. christina:

    Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only old soul younger lady who wanted to start needlepoint. I’m not going to lie, for me it has been a challenge. Though I can knit up something really nice! I can’t wait to see more of your journey into this sweet “forgotten” hobby.

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      It is so funny you say that — my aunt said that she could never get into needlepoint but LOVES knitting. I never was very good at knitting but needlepoint feels really natural to me. So maybe there are people who are naturally good at either (but not both!).

      3.7.24 Reply
      • Laura:

        Ditto! I got tired of spending so much money and time on knitting with only lumpy scarves and lopsided hats to show. Needlepoint is very satisfying. My advice is to start small! Ornaments are small and portable, and a handmade ornament (college! hometown! so many possibilities) is so special. Thanks for the links to Penny Linn and Lycette — both terrific sites!

        3.8.24 Reply
        • grace at the stripe:

          Smart advice!

          3.8.24 Reply
  2. Sofia:

    This is one of my favorite hobbies, I’m so excited you started needlepoint! Le Point Studio is one of my favorite places to get canvases (it’s an online store). Her mom worked in needlepoint so she is extremely knowledgeable and kind, and her kitted canvases come with a little how-to sheet on the basic stitches, as well as a needle minder. Perfect for beginners!

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Oooh thank you so much for the recommendation! There are so many great shops!!!

      3.7.24 Reply
  3. Heather:

    Just ordered my first canvas earlier this week! So excited to soon be needlepointing + audiobooking at the same time.

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      YAY! I hope it brings you as much joy as it does me!

      3.7.24 Reply
  4. GB:

    I just started needlepointing too! I got a kit from Penny Linn and thought everything was so beautifully put together. It’s a surprisingly relaxing hobby and I try to steal moments to do it every day. And my 9-year-old daughter is learning to crochet, so we have crafty time together 🙂

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Aw I love it! Cheers to new hobbies!

      3.7.24 Reply
  5. Colleen:

    Congrats on finding a new thing that brings you joy!

    I just started with embroidery. I bought a starter kit from VikasSpace (https://www.vikasspacetohang.com/) and doing the repetitive satin stitch in a variety of colors has been so relaxing. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a slightly different alternative.

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      This is gorgeous, thanks for sharing!

      3.7.24 Reply
  6. Claire:

    I rediscovered my love of needlepoint in 2020 and have been going strong since! It is an expensive hobby though, I’ve paid $500 just to finish a clutch (with leather and a tassel).
    A few ways to save money:
    Buying printed rather than painted canvases saves some money, but I’ll warn that a printed canvas pattern usually doesn’t line up perfectly with the canvas threads, so if you’re not watching for it you’ll end up frogging (ripping out) a ton of stitches.

    Stitching with DMC cotton is also a lot less expensive than silk and wool, but I find it very tangle prone.

    If you follow your favorite designers in IG they’ll post trunk sales, and you can order from those shops for a decent discount.

    Self finishing ornaments is pretty beginner friendly as long as the shape is simple. I send out stockings and pillows, but if you’re good with a sewing machine you can do those yourself too. There unfortunately are far more stitchers than there are finishers so the backlogs are months long. Most finishers have a Christmas deadline in June!

    3.7.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      I love these tips, thank you!!!!

      3.8.24 Reply
    • Claire:

      I agree with (other) Claire about self-finishing. Abigail Cecile has great ornament self-finishing e-courses for sale. They’re expensive, but if you think you’ll end up making a lot of ornaments, it may be more cost effective than sending them out for finishing. Unwind Studio also has amazing resources on their blog of all types!

      Another way to save money, when you’re feeling more comfortable, is e-patterns. It doesn’t take you away from your phone/computer, and it’s not easy, but I feel so much pride at seeing a pattern “magically” come together on a blank canvas.

      I started needlepointing about six months ago and have found so much joy in it. Glad you do, too!

      3.8.24 Reply
      • grace at the stripe:

        Thanks for sharing!!!!

        3.8.24 Reply
  7. C:

    I’m based outside the US and buy a lot of canvases from Unwind Studio to avoid high postage and customs. They’re really high quality, have a great range and partner with artists for all of their canvases. They also have finishing resources like videos and finishing materials to buy. Finishing ornaments is so easy once you get the hang of it!

    3.8.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Thanks for sharing — that’s great to know!

      3.8.24 Reply
  8. JM Johnson:

    Absolutely start needlepoint! I began in college and years later I’m still at it. It’s meditative, a great way to stay busy watching tv (and keeps you from snacking) and it’s proven to increase brain health because of the counting/problem solving. It’s portable for travel (you can get kid plastic scissors that pass through TSA), make great gifts for friends, and actually create something of beauty.

    If you need tips or suggestions Needlepoint Nation FB page has thousands of members that are very helpful. Get going!

    3.9.24 Reply
  9. Marsha:

    Oh my goodness!! It is such a rabbit hole. But in the best way! I am sure you have several really good local shops, so be sure and check them out. Some of them would probably love to partner with you. There is nothing like being around a bunch of like minded addicts. It does become a bit of an obsession. Someone said to stay small. That is really good advice. The reward to effort ratio is satisfying and you are off to the next rush!! Do learn more stitches. The creativity involved in choosing stitches adds another level to the process. You will love it! Maybe add one stitch for every new project? T stitch is fun and it goes really fast. But basketweave is probably the next one to master. It looks like continental, but it is supposed to be a better stitch. Something about it not causing canvas distortion. However on small things, I really think it is not that important! If you ever have anything with flowers, putting some French knots in the center is really cool. Have fun!!!

    3.10.24 Reply
  10. Shanghai:

    I’m just getting started as well, though my mom was a major, skilled needlepointer and embroiderer before her arthritis got too bad. I saw wedding planner Calder Clark (@stitchiesmalls on IG) post her needlepoint tree, made totally of needlepointed ornaments. Goals!

    3.10.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      Serious goals!

      3.12.24 Reply
  11. Laura:

    I am intrigued. I tried a beginner embroidery project before Christmas and I still have not finished. It does require a whole bunch of different stitches, so maybe not as beginner as I had hoped.
    Maybe you will inspire me to try again!

    3.11.24 Reply
    • grace at the stripe:

      I hope you do!

      3.12.24 Reply
  12. Dianne:

    For years I’ve had my completed canvases finished at The Sign of the Arrow. It’s run by the junior league and is much less expensive. They have a website.

    6.4.24 Reply