Canvas Embroidery and Needlepoint

Sometimes canvas embroidery and needlepoint are referred to as the same application, however there is a difference between the two. Canvas embroidery, as the name suggests, is a combination of embroidery stitches whereas needlepoint, also referred to as tapestry or petit point, consists of a single stitch called a Tent Stitch which is rather like a half cross stitch. Both types of application are created on a canvas rather than on a material. There are different types of canvas available and choosing which one can sometimes be a nightmare.

Canvas Embroidery and Needlepoint

The basic rule is, if you are creating a piece of canvas embroidery then you need to select a single thread canvas, sometimes known as a mono canvas. The mesh of the single thread canvas consists of a single interlocking vertical thread and a single interlocking horizontal thread. This piece of canvas embroidery has been stitched on a single thread canvas using tapisserie yarn and a combination of different stitches, including Tent Stitch. I recommend that you use a tapestry/cross stitch needle, which has a round blunt point. This will protect the canvas from splitting if you accidently insert the needle into the canvas rather than the hole.

When selecting your canvas consider the type of stitch work you wish to create and the thickness of the thread you are using. If you are creating a piece of needlepoint/tapestry then you need to select a double thread canvas, sometimes known as a Penelope Canvas. The mesh of the canvas consists of a double interlocking vertical thread and a double interlocking horizontal thread. However petit point, another form of needlepoint/tapestry work, is stitched on a fine single thread canvas and not on a double thread canvas.

Each type of canvas is available in different gauges, which means that the size of the mesh/holes/squares that make up the canvas can differ in size. The sizing of the canvas is referred to as the number of holes per inch, commonly known as hpi. Single thread canvas is usually offered in gauges from size 10 to 18hpi whereas double thread canvas tends to be limited to 10hpi for tapestry and with the larger sized mesh of 5hpi used in the application of rug making.