Needlepoint canvas is obviously an essential ingredient in the needlepoint supplies and materials you need!

I think the following guide will give you a better understanding on how to choose the right canvas for your future projects.


• The canvas mesh is the number of threads (or holes) per inch.

• The higher the number, the more holes per inch... for example, 32 holes per inch for extremely fine work, such as ‘petit point’, to as few as 3 or 5 holes per inch, which is used mainly for rug making.

• 10-12- or 14-mesh are the most frequently used meshes for cushions, belts, seat covers or large handbags. For smaller items, such as evening bags, 16- or 18-mesh is more suitable.

• I use 12-mesh (12 holes per inch) almost exclusively with my needlepoint designs.
It’s perfect for the thickness of the tapestry wool yarns that I use,... and also recommend to my clients, so as to ensure good coverage.
It also works well with the amount of detail in my particular designs and doesn’t strain my eyes!

• Remember…the more detail you require for a design, the finer the canvas mesh will have to be.


• Needlepoint canvas is generally available in brown (called antique) and white, with other colours being available only occasionally and usually in the finer meshes.

• I personally prefer the antique colour, because if the canvas does show through your finished stitches (particularly with dark yarn colours), it’s less obvious than the white.
With printed or handpainted canvases, this is less of a problem.


• Canvas is available in a variety of widths, with 39 inches (1 metre) being the most common.

• Wider canvas at 47" (1.2 metres) or 55" (1.4 metres) is perfect for large projects like rugs or wall hangings, and so avoids the need to join narrower pieces of canvas together. However, this canvas width is hard to find.




From this diagram you can see that the threads weave over and under each other at regular intervals, and so are not bound to each other.

It is perfect for cushions and seat covers or any item where ‘give’ is a definite requirement. 
I use Zweigart evenweave almost exclusively when painting needlepoint canvas for my clients.

Click on diagram to see how to ‘read’ the weave of the evenweave canvas thread as your stitching guide for even stitching.

For me, evenweave means even stitching!




 Mono interlock canvas appears similar to evenweave but, as you see in this diagram, the threads pass thorough each other when they intersect. 

This means that this type of canvas does not unravel. It can be trimmed closely to the worked stitches …a good choice for small items.



A Word of Warning!

For cushions or seat covers, mono interlock canvas does not ‘give’ and so a thread could easily snap with wear, leaving a hole in the canvas!

I’ve also read that if the piece goes out of shape while you are working, it’s impossible to block and regain the original shape.

I’ve thankfully never tested this, but that’s the last thing you need after all your hard work!




This is the canvas to use if you want to add a lot of detail in a certain area and a larger stitch for other areas.

The areas needing detail are stitched in ‘petit point’ (smaller stitches over single threads) and ‘gros points’ (larger stitches) are stitched over pairs of threads.



The rigid construction of plastic canvas makes it perfect for such items as boxes, tissue-box covers, etc.

It’s excellent for children to use because it doesn’t distort. Therefore it doesn’t need to be on a frame or blocked when finished.



First of all, needlepoint canvas is not expensive, so always buy the best quality needlepoint canvases you can afford. Your final needlepoint embroidery will last, with care, for generations.

As needlepoint canvas is one of the needlepoint basics, it is readily available at your local needlepoint shops. They can also advise you as to the right type of needlepoint canvas that would be suitable for your particular project.

As mentioned above, I personally prefer Zweigart evenweave canvas because of its high quality. I buy it online! Very convenient!



Now you have a better idea about needlepoint canvas, click here for info on the other needlepoint basics ... Needlepoint Yarn and Needles

Click here for more info on other Needlepoint Supplies you may want.

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