When you block needlepoint you stretch it back into the shape it was in before you started stitching it. Oh, wouldn't it be nice if we could spray a bit of water on and stretch ourselves back into the shape we were in before we hit 40 (or 30?).
We digress. You will need to block your needlepoint canvas before you can finish your masterpiece properly. If you intend to make your needlepoint into a pillow, then you need a square and not a parallelogram, so let's learn how to quickly and easily block needlepoint.
Remember, before you started stitching, you traced an outline of the design shape onto some heavy paper? You did do this, didn't you? Well, remove this from where you stashed it in the pile of old papers in the garage, and lay it flat onto some hardboard or MDF (or any other type of board you can bang tacks or nails into). If you don't have an outline of the canvas before you stitched it then don't worry, you will simply be "eyeballing" your canvas back into shape.
Tip. For small projects we actually just use heavy thumb tacks and cork boards to block needlepoint. Probably not recommended but we are all about the easy route and it works for us, so it will probably work for you too.
You are now going to dampen your needlepoint by spraying it with clean water from a spray bottle. Notice we said dampen and not saturate!
Lay the dampened needlepoint, good side down, onto the paper you have laid on the board. You now need to match the outline of the canvas to the outline you traced on the paper. This will involve some stretching.
To block the needlepoint canvas, start at the center of each side and pull diagonally opposite, hammering or pressing in tacks or nails all the way around as you stretch the canvas out from the center. The tacks will need to be no more than 1 inch apart, and closer in places where more tugging is required. You are aiming to stretch the canvas to match it up with the drawn outline, or 'eyeball' it back into shape if you do not have this outline.
Allow to dry. In other words, leave it for several hours.
When dry your canvas should have retained its svelte original shape and be ready for needlepoint finishing. If it is still a little distorted, simply repeat the needlepoint blocking process. Some canvases require multiple blockings to get them back into shape.
Contact us with questions about how to block needlepoint.