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Omaha's Premier Needlepoint Shop

Frequently Asked Questions

Village Needleworks FAQ

Should I use a frame or stretcher bars?
Any project can be created by stitching a canvas without mounting the canvas. This makes it easier to travel with your project. But, I have found that using a firm canvas results is a crisper appearance whether you are basketweaving or using decorative stitches.
There are two ways to mount your canvas. One is on a roller frame and the other is on stretcher bars.
Roller frames are more expensive and a little more clumsy to carry around, but are easier to adjust when your canvas “relaxes”. You just need to twist the top or bottom roller.
Stretcher bars are easy and inexpensive. They are sold in pairs from 4” up to 24” and usually ¾” in thickness. For small projects ½” thick stretcher bars work a little better.
They are made of soft pine to easily accommodate needlecraft thumb tacks. Heat and humidity will relax your canvas and may require you to remount your canvas to retighten.
There is another type of stretcher bar which allows you to tighten your canvas without having to remove it. They are adjustable 4 ways to compensate for fabric sag both vertically and horizontally.   The adjustment mechanism is fully enclosed within each bar.   Adjustment is made with a “T” tool, so you can easily tighten or loosen your fabric as needed. These are available by special order.

What does dye lot variation mean?
             If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times (well, maybe not a thousand times, but….), there is likely to be a variation in dye lots. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of purchasing enough fiber to complete you’re project. Buy enough to save yourself the frustration of not being able to match a fiber to complete your project. It happened to me and my half finished ornament will either look pretty silly or not be finished and my time and money wasted.
            Once you begin your project you should have a pretty good idea as to whether you’re going to have enough fibers or not. Divide your canvas by 1/4 , 1/3, or 1/2 and divide your fibers accordingly. Once you stitch that percentage of the canvas, ask yourself if you have 3/4 , 2/3, or 1/2 of the fibers left to complete it. If not, rush right down to your local needlepoint shop where they’re likely to have the same dye lot left. A year or two down the road there is less change of finding the same dye lot. 
            You will find that overdyed fibers have the greatest dye lot differences. We have some perfect examples in the shop and they are pretty dramatic. By spending the little extra for another skein or card of fiber you will save yourself more money in the long run.

How do I remove the crease in a fiber?
     Have you ever noticed the kink on a strand of Neon Rays after you unwrap it from the card? Neon Rays is 100% Rayon and Rayon tends to need wetting.
     To rid the tread of the crease, dampen a piece of paper towel thoroughly, pull the thread through the moist towel, then let it dry before you start stitching. If the fiber needs to be stripped, do that first and then wet each strand. When you know that you are going to use a lot of a certain fiber that needs this preparation, wet several strands so that you do not have to start and stop stitching after each length of fiber.

What is the correct way to clean needlepoint?
Recently we’ve had a couple of customers bring by completed needlepoint projects that had been taken to the dry cleaners. One lost the vibrant colors of the flowers and something in the process damaged some of the fibers. The second experienced dyes that ran. 
Since dyeing by-products and waste can have a negative impact on the environment, Congress enacted laws which caused manufacturers to change their dye processes. Therefore, manufacturers of today’s fibers cannot guarantee colorfastness since the FDA has prohibited the use of ingredients which would “set” the dyes, such as lead. To stitchers, this means threads which once were essentially colorfast are not anymore
Prior to cleaning you would need to check your fibers to see if they are colorfast.   Immerse a sample of each fiber in water and lay them on white fabric to judge whether they are going to “bleed”. If the project is complete you could lay a dampened piece of white fabric on the stitching to see if any color transfers. 
A pillow can be “air” cleaned in the clothes dryer. Make sure you set the dryer to  the “air” setting and tumble with a towel for a few minutes can help release dust. For vintage pieces vacuuming may be the answer. Cover the end of your vacuum hose with a piece of nylon stocking or light mesh. Starting on the front of the needlepoint, vacuum keeping the nozzle just above the piece. If the piece is a pillow with an insert, turn the needlepoint cover inside out and repeat the process on the backside of the needlepoint.
To prevent a project from getting dirty make sure you have clean hands when you begin stitching. If the project is large and you roll the top and bottom, take care to roll the stitched canvas to the inside to keep it protected. There products on the market which are washable covers of stretch knit fabric to protect your stitched canvases while on stretcher bars or on scroll frames. 
When in doubt err on the side of caution.

How do I stitch a belt for flip flops?

Remember if you are going to use a belt for FLIP FLOPS a uniform design works best.

·        You need to stitch 36” of belt canvas. 

·        The painted width of the canvas should be 1-1/4” and you need to stitch 3 additional rows to the top and bottom of the canvas on 18 count canvas and 2 additional rows on 13 & 14 count canvas.

What are the guidelines for stitching a belt?

The rules for stitching a canvas for a BELT are:

  •          Determine the size of the belt by measuring a favorite belt from the tip of the buckle to the most   
      frequently used hole.  Example:  buckle to frequently used hole is 36".
  •         The number of inches of canvas to be stitched is 36" minus 6” = 30".  That is because the leather used on both ends uses 6" of the canvas.  Be sure to stitch 2" beyond a design at the each end of the belt canvas if there is part of the design you wish to show when finished.
  •          Stitch 2 to 3 additional rows along the top and bottom of the design area for turning under
  •      Basketweave, Continental, or Diagonal Mosaic stitches are the most durable.
  •      Threads that wear well for a belt are Perle cotton, silk, wool or a silk/wool combination.

What are the canvas and stitching requirements for a footstool?

When selecting a needlepoint canvas for a footstool there are rules for canvas size and stitched area. 

Keep in mind that a good quality wool is the most durable fiber for the needlepoint canvas you plan to stitch for the footstool.  A basic basketweave stitch is the stitch of choice.

The Sudberry footstools we offer will indicate a design size on the label.  To that design size add 3 inches for stitching area.  This is due to the fact that the canvas will need to wrap around the side of the cushioned top.  Then add another 5 inches to the design size for the required size of canvas needed.  This is needed to secure the canvas to the underside.

For example:

Design size is 14" x 14"

Stitched area needs to be 17" x 17"

Canvas size needs to be 19" x 19"