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For Plastic Canvas Needlepoint








Whip Stitch





Continental (Both)




Long Stitch




Cross Stitch


Long Cross Stitch


Bead Attachment

Shade variations indicate an under stitch (darker) and over stitch (lighter). This is for deciphering  the difference per stitch direction.

Start/Stop- When starting stitches, leave a 1 inch tail of yarn on the backside of the canvas. When making your first 6 or 7 stitches, stitch around the tail while holding it on the backside. This will hold your yarn in place for stitching. When finished stitching take the needle through the previously stitched area, again through 6 or 7 stitches on the back side. Cut off any excess yarn.


Overcast StitchFinishes the cut edges of a piece of canvas. Simply take the needle down through each edge hole when stitching. Three stitches are used around a corner edge to cover canvas better.  When joining two or more pieces together this is Whipstitch (see below).



Whipstitch- Used for joining two or more pieces of plastic canvas together. Hold the two pieces of canvas together even where you will stitch. Like Overcast stitch take the needle down through the edge holes being sure to sew through each layer of canvas. Whipstitch can also be used on inside squares where necessary. 


Come up under the canvas on odd numbers and down through the top on even numbers, unless otherwise stated. (i.e. 1= up under canvas, 2= down through canvas)


Continental/Tent Stitch- This stitch is worked diagonally on the canvas from one row of holes to the next.


Reversed Continental/Tent Stitch- This stitch is worked diagonal in the opposite directions of continental stitch from one row of holes to next.


Gobelin/ Diagonal Stitch- This is a slanted stitch which crosses over more than one row of holes on plastic canvas. Each graph should indicate the number of rows to cover and which direction the stitch should slant. For Reversed Gobelin/ Diagonal Stitch follow the direction that is shown in the reversed continental graphic. 



Long/ Straight Stitch- This stitch is worked over one or more holes on the canvas. Again, the graph should indicate if the stitch is vertical or horizontal, and how many rows to cover per stitch. Left graphic shown in horizontal. 




Backstitch- Generally used for outlining an area on the canvas. This stitch is usually done after the canvas is worked.




Cross Stitch- Start with one continental stitch, then cross it in the opposite direction over the first stitch. Being sure that a row of cross stitches are all following the same direction.




Long Cross Stitch-Same as cross stitch, only this stitch crosses over more than two rows on the plastic canvas. Graphs per pattern will indicate the amount of rows to cross over.




Bead Attachment- Come up under canvas with needle and yarn then apply bead to yarn, then take needle back down through the canvas. For another bead continue with same strand, for one bead you may wish to knot it on the back side of the canvas. Most graphs should contain the markings for where the beads will be placed.

Braiding instructions come from an older Indian Craft Book I borrowed from a friend.

Use three strands and twist together following photo. Flip left side strand over middle strand then right side strand over middle strand. Continue until braid is finished.




French Knot picture is from a Leisure Arts Book. Leisure Arts creates their own pattern booklets.



Fringe Instructions from ©Leisure Arts Stitch Guide– Fold a length of yarn in half. Thread needle with loose ends of yarn. Bring needle up at 1, leaving a 1” loop on the back of the canvas. Bring needle around the edge of canvas and through loop. (A). Pull to tighten loop. (B). Trim Fringe to desired length. 

General Notes:

  • Thickness refers to how many pieces you sew through at one time.

  • For two ply yarn from 4 ply simply split the 4 ply yarn in half and use the same way you would 4 ply. 

  • Shorter amounts of yarn are easier to work with, especially with cord. For larger projects longer strands can be used.

  • Using a Sharpie marker to trace the canvas before cutting is very useful on detailed pattern shapes.

  • When cutting using an Exacto knife be sure to use on a surface designed for cutting.

  • Before stitching a project it is wise to once again check the size of the pieces, for it can be extremely close but not exact. 

  • Label pieces as you cut them, you can use a sticky label or a string and a piece of paper tied on the cut pieces.

  • When reading pattern instructions, Assembly usually refers to two pieces or more stitched together.

  • For cleaning, gently rub with soap and water and rinse clean.

  • A vacuum with a brush works well for dusting, gently run the vacuum brush attachment over the item.

MeshDifference.jpg (264840 bytes) 

Click above picture to see how different 7, 10, and 14 mesh canvas can be in size comparison.

Use a spare piece of canvas with a few stitches on it for a needle holder.


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