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Selecting Needlepoint Fibers

Selecting needlepoint fibers is not always easy, so we thought it was worth devoting a page to this topic. There is a wide variety of needlepoint yarns and threads on the market, both natural and man-made fibers, and it is often difficult to know which needlepoint fiber is best for your needlepoint project.

If your needlepoint fiber is too thin for the canvas you are using, then it will not provide good coverage, and you will see the canvas through the yarn. On the other hand, if the yarn you use is too thick, the canvas will bunch up under the strain of having too much yarn squashed into the holes. The yarn will then not sit flat on the canvas. Selecting needlepoint fibers is important if you want your needlepoint project to look great.

So, it is important to match the right needlepoint fiber with the needlepoint canvas you are using. Consult the table below for some general information on the various types of needlepoint yarn and when to use them:

Selecting Needlepoint Fibers

Fiber Type Properties        Best use
Tapestry Yarn Single ply.
Smooth and tightly twisted.
Does not split, so can only be used as a single ply
10-12 mesh needlepoint canvas
Persian Yarn 3 ply yarn.
Loosely twisted.
Can be split down to individual plies.
Does notmake as smooth a stitch as tapestry yarn.
As a 3-ply yarn, you can use it on 10-14 count canvas. Split the threads (and use one or two of the plies only) for use on 16-20 count canvas.
Crewel Yarn 2 ply yarn.
Loosely twisted, fine yarn.
Can use on most canvas sizes, but will need multiple strands (plies) when stitching onto wider than 18 count canvas.
Embroidery Thread Made of cotton, pearl cotton, silk or rayon.
Usually made up of 6 plies that can be split.
Works well on 13-18 count canvas. Can only use on wider canvas if multiple strands are used.

There are many other needlepoint yarns and fibers but  the ones above are the most commonly used.

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