Your Home in Needlepoint
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“Your Home in Needlepoint,” Ensign, Feb. 1980, 64

Your Home in Needlepoint

Would you like to preserve a replica of your home for posterity? Take a color photo of the home from the center front, enlarge it in an opaque projector to a size you would like to frame (twelve by sixteen inches is nice), and trace it onto sturdy paper. Then, using canvas that has twelve stitches to the inch, place the drawing behind the canvas and trace the pattern on the canvas with a gray permanent marking pen. Draw the lines from hole to hole rather than along the threads of the canvas. (Bind the edges of the canvas with masking tape to keep it from raveling.) If desired, you may paint the canvas with acrylic paints or permanent markers to match your yarn colors.

When buying the yarn, take your photo, drawing, and canvas with you, and purchase enough Persian wool yarn to complete the needle-point. Don’t short yourself; dye lots vary and you may not get the exact color again. As a general role, use two-ply yarn for all diagonal work, and three-ply yarn for horizontal and vertical work. (One three-ply strand of yarn covers about 2 1/2 square inches of canvas. The type of stitches you select will help determine the amount of yarn needed. Stitches should be worked at a medium tension.)

Yarn colors appear darker when worked on the canvas. The background color should be neutral or very pale blue or green to keep the house more prominent than the background. Also, vertical planes appear darker than horizontal planes, so a black roof, for example, could be done with dark gray yarn; lawn is a lighter green than the shrubbery.

The Order of Work

Try doing the needlepoint in this order:

  1. Architectural features—windows, shutters, doors, pillars, porches.

  2. Railings and shrubs in front of the walls.

  3. Walls.

  4. Roof.

  5. Remaining foliage, shrubbery, and trees.

  6. Background—sky and lawn.

  7. Embroidery and overlay stitches.

Work light colors first, when possible.

Tricks of the Trade

Combine two threads of yarn of different colors and work the two threads as one to obtain a tweeding effect (for multi-colored bricks). Use tones of the same color in this same way for shadows or shade.

Take care of small details (wrought iron, brass, doorknobs, flowers) with overlay embroidery, using embroidery floss, buttonhole twist, or heavy duty thread.

Take liberties in foliage by lowering or heightening it, or by filling it in or leaving it out.

If your yarn twists, drop the needle and let it hang to untwist. If you make a mistake over a small area, pick out the stitches one at a time with the end of your needle. If the area is large, rip out the stitches with embroidery scissors or a seam ripper.

For beginning and ending-off stitches, start by coming up from the underside of the canvas with the yarn, and pull it through, leaving a one-inch tail underneath; with your free hand, hold the tail under the canvas in the path of your work, and stitch it against the back of the canvas as you execute the first few stitches. This locks the end of the yarn and the first stitches solidly in place. When you have almost used up a piece of yarn, end it off on the underside by pulling the remaining yarn back through the last few stitches. Cut it off close.

Paint canvas threads that show through the finished work with matching acrylic paint, if necessary.

To avoid an unwieldy canvas, roll up the part you’re not working on and secure the ends with paper clips or clothespins.

To thread the needle, fold the end of the yarn tightly over the pointed end of the needle, withdraw the needle, and ease the eye of the needle over the tight fold and pull it through. Or make a loop of regular sewing thread, pass this through the eye of the needle, insert yarn through the loop, and pull it back through the eye (see Ensign, Apr. 1979, p. 69).

Embroider your name and the year in the corner of the finished picture.

When you frame the finished needlework, if you desire a mat choose one that is made of fabric, such as wool, linen, or velvet, rather than mat board. The work must be blocked. It should be framed on a stretcher. You need one-fourth inch all the way around for framing. (Adapted from instructions in the Relief Society Homemaking Booklet for 1980.)

Needlepoint by Geneal Horrocks