Needlepoint Canvases

There are basically three types of Needlepoint Canvases - or better known as weaves:
  • Mono
  • Penelope
  • Interlock

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Mono Needlepoint Canvas is a plain weave also known as a single thread canvas. The warp thread is situated at an even distance from the weft thread. Mono canvas uses a bit heavier thread than the other two canvas types - and has a polished feel and look which is due to the sizing.

The reason for the sizing is to keep the threads in place and separated while it is being woven and then stitched. Due to this heavy sizing - mono is very easy to paint on - also being easier on your eyesight because of the simple weave. It is available from ten to twenty-four mesh or holes-to-the-inch. Mono also offers a smooth ride for the fibers - which the other weaves do not offer - and the fibers do not fray as often with this canvas type.

Interlock Canvas is made from a thinner thread than the other blank needlepoint canvases and is more intricately woven. The newest addition to the canvases available - Interlock is a two-thread canvas with both warp and weft pairs woven very tightly together - the warp threads taking a half twist between each set of weft threads.

Interlock ( often called Leno ) is the only canvas that all needlepoint stitches may be worked on. Because the threads are so close together - it is possible to work upright stitches on it - - and since it is a two thread needlepoint canvas - those stitches that cannot be worked on a loosely woven mono canvas can be worked on Interlock. It has a very even mesh count - which makes it ideal for graph work - easy to paint on - and good for silk screen or stenciling - as it tends to stay square.

Penelope Needlepoint Canvas has two threads in the warp and the weft to work over - with the warp threads woven very close together. Usually ecru colored - Penelope is made of a slightly lighter weight than mono needlepoint canvas. The advantage of using Penelope is that you may separate the pairs of threads with your needle and make it into mono canvas within the same project. This way details may be stitched in twenty mesh with the background in ten mesh. Ten - twenty is the most commonly used - although also available in twelve - twenty-four as well as a very durable seven - fourteen combination.


Available from six to eighteen holes per inch. Needlepoint canvas comes in rolls forty inches wide - though it may be had as narrow as twenty-four inches or as wide as fifty-four inches. The terms - *mesh* or *count* - are referring to holes per inch ( hpi ) - which range from three ( for rugs ) - to twenty-four holes within an inch.

 If you plan to join two pieces of canvas together - for a rug or a wall hanging - be certain that to buy all your canvas for that project from the same bolt. Because there is a variation of the weave in each roll of canvas you could come up with an uneven count at the join. When cutting needlepoint canvas for a pieced rug - be sure it is cut as it will lie on the floor - all warps going in the same direction. This is one reason you often see the selvage on the left side ( within needlepoint kits ) - thus insuring that the warp is always going in the same direction.

French in origin - a casual rule to defining these terms could be that - any canvas with sixteen mesh per inch or more is Petit Point - and canvas up to ten mesh per inch is Gros Point. Ten mesh is usually referred to as Demi Point.

The finest Needlepoint Canvases are made by Zweigart in Switzerland. The Company Zweigart & Sawitzki was founded in 1877 - read more ...
Sizing warp threads is essential to reduce breakage of the fabric. When on the weaving machine - the warp threads endure several types of actions - cyclic strain - flexing - abrasion at various loom parts and inter friction. With sizing - the strength - and abrasion resistance of the threads will improve. The amount of improvement of strength depends on adhesion force between fiber and size - size penetration as well as encapsulation of thread. Different types of water soluble polymers called textile sizing agents or chemicals such as modified starch - carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) - polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) - acrylates are used to protect the fibers. Also wax is added to reduce the abrasiveness of the warp threads. The type of material (100% cotton) - the thickness of the thread - and type of weaving machinery will determine the sizing recipe. The sizing liquor is applied on warp threads with a warp sizing machine. After the weaving process the fabric is de-sized (washed).

 We hope this Guide to the types of Needlepoint Canvases is helpful for beginners to needlework. If you have any questions or comments - please write them below !!

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