Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NEEDLETHERAPY IN MINIATURE Part 2. What Do I need and Where to Buy?


Part 2. What do I need and where to buy it?

Needlepoint is the art of covering a canvas with stitches.
The beauty of needlepoint/petite point depends on the use of the correct materials and equipment that is actually minimal.

You will need:

1. Chart/kit
2. Light
3. Magnifying Glasses
4. Frame
5. Scissors
6. Canvas
7. Thread
8. Needle

Co-coordinating the canvas, thread, and needle in order to interpret a stitch and design effectively is most important. That’s why, let’s talk about each of them individually.

1. Chart/kit

In order to start working on your project you need to purchase a chart or a kit. If you have a kit – great. It comes almost with everything you need: canvas, needle, thread, chart. Your mission is to supply yourself with scissors, magnifying glasses (if you need), additional light, frame. In a case if you have only a chart/pattern, you need to buy canvas, needle, thread as well.

The patterns can be hand written and printed.

The patterns can be with black/white symbols and with color symbols. It is easier to stitch using the pattern with color symbols, but if it happened you have the pattern with black/white symbols, you always can color them with the color pencils based on your thread legend.

The patterns can be printed on 1 page or multiple pages (especially when it is a big project like a carpet). There are also patterns that show only 1/4 of the whole pattern (rug). In this case, after finishing stitching 1/4 of your pattern, you need to stitch the same 1/4 of the pattern but in mirror's reflection.

2. Light

I use additional light even during the daylight when I am stitching. I use OffLite table Lamp that I purchased from Jo-Anne store.

3. Magnifying lamp/glasses.

You need to find a magnifying lamp or glasses that will work only for you.

4. Frame.

Mini needlepoint may be worked in the hand or in a frame. Very small pieces may be worked on hand-held, while a large piece, like a rug, for instance, would be better worked on a hoop. It keeps the canvas flat and smooth, the stitches even. There are different kinds of frame on the market. Again, it comes to the point what it is comfortable for you to use: floor frame, table frame, sitting frame, etc… I use simple round plastic or wood hoop that comes in different sizes and you can buy at any craft store.

5. Scissors. A good pair of scissors makes needlepoint easier to do. The scissors need to be small, about 3 inches (7,5 cm) in length, for snipping fine thread.

6. Canvas. Oh, boy, of course I will say that it is a matter of the taste of your preference or the preference of your taste, possibilities and goals to choose what canvas to use for your miniature needlework. You can use 14 count Aida, 18 count mono-canvas, 32 count linen, 22 count Etamine canvas.

If you are struggling for that perfection in miniature needlework when the main goal is to be as close to the scale as possible, there is only one solution for you: to use silk gauze. Silk gauze comes in different counts: 18, 30, 32, 35, 40, 47, 48, 49, 56, 60, 72, 84, 90, 100 and 112. It means that there are 18 or higher count holes per 1 inch. Silk gauze is made from 100% silk.

Let's look at the pictures and compare:

This is 22 count stiff Etamine canvas, after finished project is washed, the canvas looses its stiffness.

and closer look at 22 count Etamine canvas

Here is a piece of 35 count silk gauze

and to compare I uploaded an image of 90 count silk gauze under the piece of 35 count silk gauze

Silk gauze comes in pieces in different sizes. You can buy framed silk gauze, again in different sizes. Framed silk gauze is more expansive than if you buy just pieces of it.

Silk gauze comes mainly in Ivory color. It is practically impossible to find silk gauze of white and black color nowadays. Anyway, if you wish to stitch on a piece of silk gauze of different color (in a case when you don't need to finish the background), you always can dye it.

What is the difference between stitching on 22 count canvas and silk gauze. First of all, the thickness of your finished project will be definitely different. Look at the pictures and compare. Even though that the Chinese rug (with light colors) is soft and drapes,

being stitched on 22 count it is still too thick for the 1/12th scale.

Another moment is that you can depict more details in your design while stitching on the fine silk gauze.

7. Thread. The main consideration when selecting a type of thread is whether it will completely cover the canvas with the kind of stitch you use. Other considerations are fibre content and quality.

DMC floss, 3 strands can be used for 22 count canvas, 18 count silk gauze
DMC floss, 2 strands can be used for 22 count canvas, 30, 32, 35 count silk gauze
DMC floss, 1 strand can be used for 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
For the higher count silk gauze the fine silk thread is used:
Gutermann silk , 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
Gloriana, over dyed silk, 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
The Silk Mill silk thread, 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
Splitted – 54, 60 count silk gauze
Au Ver a Soie – Soie d’Alger silk thread, 1 strand – 40 count
Tire silk, #100, 1 strand – 72 count
Eterna Stranded silk, 1 strand – 72 count
Needlepoint Inc, 1 strand – 40 count
Silk Mori, 1 strand – 40 count
YLI silk thread #100, 1 strand – 60, 72 count
Waterlillies, 1 strand – 40 count
Mulberry silk, 2 strands – 54-60 count
1 strand – 72 count
Piper’s silk, 1 strand – 54, 60, 72, 84, 90, 100 count

8. Needles

The correct choice of needle is essential. All come in a range of thickness and lengths.

There are 6 types of needle:

Chenille – have sharp points, designed for working on heavy plainweave fabrics with thick threads – NOT FOR MINIATURE WORK!!!

Tapestry – blunt needles with long, oval eyes for using on evenweave fabric. These needles have round points that do not break the thread of fabric and goes through the fabric and between threads smoothly.

Crewel the most versatile type of needles, long with easy-threaded eyes which take 1 or more strands

Sharps – are used for fine stitching and French knots

On this picture on the left side you can see sharp tip of chenille needle, on the right side - round tip of tapestry or cross-stitch needle.

Quilting – sewing needles

Beading – very fine and long needles for beading that are suitable for fine micro stitching.

All types of needles come in different sizes.

#26 Tapestry Needle is used for 18, 22, 24, 30, 32, 35 count canvas and silk gauze
#10 Crewel needle is used for 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
#12 Quilting needle is used for 54, 60 count silk gauze
#12 Sharps needle is used for 54, 60, 72 count silk gauze
# 13 and # 15 Beading needle is used for 54, 60, 72, 84, 90 count silk gauze
#15 beading needle is used for 84, 90, 100, 112 count silk gauze

Where to buy?

Mainly all supplies you can buy at the craft or fabric stores.

As for the silk gauze, I sell it at my Etsy store that you can find on the right hand side bar.

OffLite lights: http://www.joann.com/ottlite/

OffLite Magnifier Lamp: http://www.joann.com/ottlite-6x-and-3x-led-magnifier-lamp-with-base/zprd_10798767a/?green=B6C05FD2-2A34-5088-A90D-F31110190D0B

Here are the on-line web stores where you can purchase fine silk thread:

Gutermann silk is available at Jo-Anne store and sometimes they have holiday sales 50% off.

Gloriana silk can be purchased at



The company is located in Washington state and the owner is a very nice lady and answers promptly

The Silk Mill silk - this silk runs if washed - Be Careful! The company is located in the UK, they have huge sales too. It is comfortable to sign up with their Newsletter and get updates.


Beautiful Piper's silk can be purchased at their website:


I also would like to introduce you Chinese silk that is available on E-bay. It has very pretty shadows of one color and very, very suitable for Miniature Bargello.

There is also Indian silk

and very fine House of Embroidery silk out of South Africa

to be continued...

Have a great week!



Alice - Wisteria Lodge said...

Thank you for such an informative post :-)

afairytalecometruewyrna said...

Thanks for the great tutorials you have made. I have little experience with embroidering. I can only see to sew the very coarse type.
The fact that you show all the things I should be aware of, such as needles choices and thread choices, do, I now I have the courage to try again, and choose more carefully my material choice.
Thank you for taking the time to show how to do.


Natalia's Fine Needlework said...

Thank you, Alice and Wyrna, for your kind comments. I hope it will encourage you to do mini needlework. In some way it is fun! Natalia

Xandra Dekker said...

Dank je wel voor deze uitgebreide uitleg. Als mijn poppenhuis klaar is wil ik gaan proberen te borduren. Ik heb deze pagina dan ook alvast opgeslagen om later makkelijk terug te vinden.

Groeten Xandra

anisnofla said...

Esto si que es una explicación exahustiva, ¡muchas gracias!

Fabiola said...

Thanks for these informations.
Bye Faby

Ludmila said...

Наталья, спасибо за полезную статью.

Unknown said...

Hello from Spain, thanks for the tutorial. Your creations are awesome. Keep in touch

BiWuBär said...

Thank you very much for all the work and effort you've spent on this fantastic post - this was so interesting. And a special thanks for your great photos!


Ксаня said...

Какая прелесть. новогодний носок просто чудо)))) очень кропотливая работа


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