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Using a Waste Knot to Start a Needlepoint Project
Using a sewing or regular knot to anchor thread to needlepoint canvas is a no-no in working a project! These kinds of knots should never be a permanent fixture in your canvas unless meant to be part of a needlepoint design that uses decorative stitch techniques like French Knots.
So, how do you attach needlepoint threads to the canvas when starting to stitch if you are not supposed to use a knot? The answer is to use a Waste or Away Knot.
What Is a Waste or Away Knot?
A Waste Knot is a temporary tether that is used to secure a length of needlepoint yarn to the canvas when you first start to stitch. It is then covered with stitches as you work the project toward it and is clipped off once you reach it, hence the term waste knot.
Waste and Away Knots are used every time you start stitching with a fresh new strand of thread.
Types of Waste Knots
There are basically two kinds of Waste Knots: the Away Waste Knot and the In-line Waste Knot. They are worked based on the type of stitch technique you are using.
- In-Line Waste Knot - This knot is the preferred selection most of the time for needlepoint projects—especially when using stitches that are worked in rows or columns where the thread thoroughly covers the back of the canvas (see the above image). Continental and Basketweave tent stitches are examples of when to use the In-Line Waste Knot.
- Away Waste Knot - This kind of Waste Knot is placed 2 to 3 inches "away" from where the first stitch will be made. It is used when working lacy, open-spaced decorative stitch techniques that sparsely cover the needlepoint canvas. Threads are randomly secured to the back of the canvas as you stitch. Darning patterns used for background fill areas are examples of when to work an Away Waste Knot.
Waste Knots are easy to make. Take a look at these simple instructions for making perfect waste and away knots to begin working on your needlepoint projects.
If you are new to needlepoint or just want to brush up on the basics, they will give you all you need to know how to properly work with the knots—no matter the type of needlepoint thread used.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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How to Make a Waste Knot for Needlepoint
Follow these instructions to make both Waste and Away Knots. You can become an expert at the technique by the time you've completed your needlepoint project!
Continue to 3 of 3 below.
- Thread the tapestry needle with a length of needlepoint yarn. On the end of the thread furthest from the needle, make a large basic knot like you would in hand-sewing.
- Insert the threaded needle into the canvas about an inch-and-a-half from the area you wish to begin stitching. The knot end will be visible on top of the canvas. Do not pull the knot through the canvas.
- Bring the needle up from the back of the canvas to the place where the first stitch starts. This could be at the top or bottom of the stitch depending on the technique you've chosen. Make this first stitch.You will now have a length of thread or tail on the back side of the canvas.
- Secure the length of yarn by working the remaining stitches in the row, going over the length of yarn or tail on the back as you stitch.
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Clipping the Waste Knot
After the tail has been covered with several stitches, the waste knot can be clipped from the front of the canvas, and the remaining thread tail can be trimmed on the back as close as possible to the needlepoint without cutting any worked stitches.
Away Waste Knots follow the same steps as In-Line ones, except that after clipping, the long tail on the wrong side of the canvas is woven through the back of existing needlepoint stitches to further secure the thread.
Waste Knots are the needlepointer's best friend. They make stitching with multiple strands of thread easy and keep your work from looking "bumpy" from knots left on the back of the canvas as in hand-sewing or other types of embroidery.
Edited by Althea R. DeBrule