Needlepoint: Where to Start

If you are new to needlepoint one of the first questions you might ask is where to start your first stitch on the canvas.

needlepoint where to start Pin image

The short answer is, you can start anywhere. Truly, it doesn't reeeaaaaally matter, especially if this is your first try at needlepoint and you are learning the flow of the stitches. 

But, if you prefer a more considered answer to the "where to start your fist needlepoint stitch" question, then this is what we suggest...

If you are a right handed stitcher, and you are stitching a Continental stitch or a Basketweave stitch (two of the basic beginner needlepoint stitches from the Tent stitch family), start in the top right corner of the design.

If you are a left-handed stitcher, start in the top left of the canvas.

needlepoint where to start

These are the easiest places to start when you are learning how to needlepoint. When you have finished this color area, move on to an adjacent color area. You can move around the canvas however you please.

When stitching a basketweave stitch, there are some "moving around the canvas" rules of thumb to follow in order to create the perfect stitched canvas in basketweave. You will find them in our blog post, How to Do A Perfect Needlepoint Basketweave stitch.

So, start in the top right or the top left of the canvas if this is your first time stitching.

But, once you have a few needlepoint canvases under your belt, there are other factors to consider when deciding where to start your needlepoint canvas...

Needlepoint: Where to Start #1

Stitch the white areas first. This will help to prevent darker threads from being pulled through to the front of the white or lighter colored areas. By stitching lighter threads first you will avoid getting shadows or pieces of dark threads "muddying" the paler colors.

needlepoint where to start

Needlepoint: Where to Start #2

Stitch the detail first. It's a good idea to stitch lettering or small detail first so that the important details get the first choice of the available stitches. In contrast, if you stitch the background first, you will have to stitch around the detail and "guess" which stitches should be left for these small areas. It is better to stitch the smallest and most detailed areas first, and get these looking good, and then stitch in around them.  

needlepoint: where to start blog post

Sometimes #1 and #2 might be in conflict. For example, the detail or lettering might be in a very dark color. In this situation it's a judgement call. We tend to stitch the detail and just make sure we're being extra careful when we stitch the white areas in later.

needlepoint where to start

So, there are a few things to consider when deciding where to start your needlepoint canvas, and we hope you have found this discussion helpful. There is no right answer for all situations, and the best advice is to keep stitching—as you stitch more, you will figure out what works best for you.

Enjoy making beautiful art with needle and thread.

needlepoint where to start

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