Needlepoint Threads

Written by Linda Alexander
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Many different needlepoint threads are readily available today, in a range of fibers, textures and colors. The combinations provide you with limitless possibilities as to the patterns, stitches, and colors you can use on your project. Two main classifications of needlepoint threads are natural and synthetic fibers.

The most common natural fibers used for needlepoint are cotton and linen, silk, and wool. Synthetic fibers are often blended with each other or with natural fibers to make specialty threads. Keep in mind that not all threads are washable, nor are they all stitchable (capable of being passed through the canvas without being damaged or damaging the canvas). If you need to block your work or will be making an item that must be washed, be careful to only choose washable threads.

Textures and Durability in Needlepoint Threads

When choosing needlepoint threads, consider their texture: smooth, textured, shiny or matte. You can also create texture in your piece with twisted threads or textured stitches (like cross stitch). Will your project need to be durable? For upholstery, use wool, cotton, or certain silks and linen, which hold up to wear. For a wall hanging, you can use specialty or more delicate threads.

Remember that not all threads are colorfast either. If you will be blocking your work, even if it's not a piece you will need to wash, be sure to use a colorfast thread. Otherwise, the colors may run and ruin your project before it's even finished. Also, to prevent waste, only allow a short end of yarn to hang from the needle. Needles will damage the thread, so you don't want to run much of it through the needle. Two inches is a good length.


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