9 Beginner Needlepoint Basics to Get You Started

Flat lay top view with an embroidery canvas, needles, threads in green colours
Iryna Bidovska / Getty Images

Needlepoint is worked one stitch at a time on even-weave canvas and is easy to learn. If you are new to needlepoint, here are nine basic things you need to know to get started with your first project.

In just a few hours you will be creating easy needlepoint pieces you'll be proud to display or wear.

  • 01 of 09

    What Is Needlepoint? Definition and Brief History Explained

    Needlepoint Canvas
    Edgemore / Getty Images

    Needlepoint is both creative as well as therapeutic; it engages both the hands as well as the imagination, causing the body to relax and de-stress with the simple gentle rhythm of thread working through the canvas.

    Worked in stitch techniques designed specifically for needlepoint, a project can be made with a graph or chart by counting squares and making stitches from them onto canvas; or by filling in a design that has already been painted on the canvas itself.

    Needlepoint has been worked for centuries around the world. Learn more about the history of needlepoint and how it differs from other forms of embroidery.

  • 02 of 09

    Needlepoint Canvas Facts Every Beginner Should Know

    Assorted Types of Needlepoint Canvas
    Althea DeBrule

    Needlepoint canvas is the ground fabric used to work a project. It comes in a variety of sizes--from very fine canvas that looks like gauze to the traditional coarse crisp fabric. Gain a better understanding of the canvas used to make needlepoint projects in this Ultimate Guide.

    Learn about the various types of even-weave needlepoint canvas--from basic to novelty, as well as the perfect size canvas you should use for your first beginner needlepoint project.

  • 03 of 09

    Basic Tent Needlepoint Stitches to Get You Started

    Traditional Tent Needlepoint Stitches
    Althea DeBrule

    Tent Stitches are the basic foundation stitches of most needlepoint projects and are also a family of stitches worked diagonally on the canvas. Most diagonal needlepoint stitches are derived from one or all three of the traditional tent stitches.

    This easy-to-follow Needlepoint Wiki will show you how to work the three basic tent stitches: Half-Cross, Continental and Basketweave. Included are instructions for right and left-handed beginners as well.

  • 04 of 09

    Needlepoint Thread Basics

    Embroidery thread

    Blue Mountain Images / Moment / Getty Images

    Not all yarn or thread is suitable for needlepoint, but there are hundreds of fibers that can be used to stitch a needlepoint design. Find out the best yarn and thread types to use in working a beginner needlepoint project.

    Learn about textured fibers and novelty needlepoint yarns to use in accenting a specific area of a needlepoint design.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Choosing the Right Needle for Needlepoint

    Tapestry Needles for Needlepoint

    The Spruce Crafts / Cheryl Fall

    Needlepoint requires a blunt tip tapestry needle for stitching. These needles come in a variety of sizes.

    Get tips on the right size needed to work your project as well as different ways to easily and properly thread the needle to make your needlepoint stitches look smooth and even.

  • 06 of 09

    Needlepoint Tools and Supplies

    Pear Trio Needlepoint in Scroll Frame

    The Spruce Crafts / Cheryl C. Fall

    Needlepoint requires only a few basic inexpensive tools. Check out these tips for MUST HAVE and WISHLIST items every needle pointer should keep on hand.

    Start with the basics like canvas, tapestry needles, yarn and thread; and then as you gain more experience working needlepoint projects, gradually add frames, stretcher bars, and other convenient items to your collection.

  • 07 of 09

    Downloading and Printing Free Needlepoint Charts

    printing needlepoint charts online
    Althea DeBrule

    Here are suggestions as well as a step-by-step tutorial on how to download, enlarge and print needlepoint patterns and charts found online.

    You'll learn how to save them to your computer for easy access and to re-use them in other needlepoint projects.

  • 08 of 09

    Step-by-Step Instructions for Working a Waste Knot

    Making a Waste Knot in Needlepoint

    The Spruce Crafts / Cheryl C. Fall

    To begin stitching a needlepoint project requires that you use a waste or away knot. This not sits on top of the canvas to allow the threads to be properly secured on the back.

    With these simple instructions, you can learn how to easily make an Away or Waste Knot to get ready for smooth and even stitching.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Blocking and Finishing a Needlepoint Project

    Typical Blocking Board
    Althea DeBrule

    A first needlepoint project, when completed, will most often be slightly warped and a little out of shape. You can easily square up your finished project with a blocking board and a few simple instructions.

    Learn how easy it is to do-it-yourself and block your needlepoint to restore the canvas to its original sizing and shape.