The foundation of any needlepoint project is the canvas. It’s important to not only select the appropriate canvas for your project, but to make sure it is of the highest quality. You will spend a lot of time on your project, and it has the potential to last many, many years. It doesn’t pay in the long run to select a canvas that is cheap or flawed. Inspect the canvas before you buy it, to make sure the threads are free of knots or cuts. If you buy your canvas online, inspect it immediately when you receive it, and send it back if it’s flawed.
Not all needlepoint canvases are created equal. Most patterns will indicate what type of canvas you should use, and of course a canvas will be included with any needlepoint kit. However, it’s always good to be familiar with the different types.
Plain mono canvas: This is one of the most common types of Needlepoint canvas. Along with interlock mono, these canvases have a single mesh structure. The construction of the mesh, however, is different in each. The locked construction of the interlock mono canvas is more stable than the plain intersecting mesh of the plain mono canvas. All needlepoint stitches can be formed successfully on an interlock mono canvas; however, plain mono canvas is not suitable for use with certain needlepoint stitches, such as the half-cross stitch. These stitches require the more stable construction of the interlock mono canvas.
Penelope canvas: This canvas has a double mesh construction. Besides being strong, it has a second advantage – it can be adjusted so that stitches of different sizes can be worked on the same piece of canvas. Penelope double-mesh adaptability makes it advantageous for designs that specify finely stitched areas.
These are the most commonly used types of needlepoint canvas. However, there are additional options.
Rug canvas: In rug canvases, each mesh is formed by two lengthwise threads twisted around each other, and a pair of crosswise threads. Threads cannot be separated. As the name suggests, rug canvas is for needlepoint rug projects.
Plastic canvas: These needlepoint canvases are molded plastic, rather than woven fabric. They are sold in cut pieces and used mostly for craft items, such as Christmas ornaments, tote bags and coasters.
If you are working from a purchased needlepoint pattern, the pattern will specify the gauge of the canvas. If you want your project to turn out the same size as specified in the pattern design, it’s essential that you purchase materials as specified in the pattern.