Whenever I do a Q&A on Instagram the question I am most frequently asked is,
"What are the best projects for beginners?"
I began needlepointing in my preteens and my first project was an 18 mesh belt with a repeating flamingo pattern. I would *not* recommend this project for beginners.
The *perfect* project for a beginner should have the following five features
The point of a beginner project is that it should be easy to learn on and quick to complete. A needlepointer should feel *accomplished* and *capable* after stitching their first project, not exhausted and frustrated. A small project ensures that a novice does not feel overwhelmed. In the case of needlepoint, smaller is better...
2. 13 MESH
I know you're thinking, "13 mesh? What's that? I'm a beginner! Am I supposed to know what that is? Ah! Needlepoint is so intimidating!"
The mesh size of a canvas simply refers to the holes per inch. The two most popular mesh sizes are 18 mesh (18 holes per inch) and 13 mesh (13 holes per inch). Mesh size works counterintuitively, the higher the number of the mesh size (for instance 18 mesh), the smaller the holes.
13 mesh is my favorite for beginners (and myself). The canvas is small enough that the design still looks elevated (unlike 10 mesh which does not allow artists to depict nuanced details), yet the larger size of the holes ensures that the design is still visible to most everyone.
*NOTE* you can use the "Filter" button on Lycette's website to find 13 mesh canvases
3. FEW COLORS
Again, the point of choosing a canvas with a few colors is to not become overwhelmed. Although it can seem *boring* or *limiting* to only use 2-3 colors, the results can be truly beautiful, classic, and *tres* chic.
In addition, if you find a canvas you *love* but you don't *love* the colors it is painted remember you can switch the colors! Simply stitch over the painted mesh in colors of the same "value." For instance periwinkle can cover light green (similar value), but periwinkle cannot cover hunter green (periwinkle has a "lighter value" than the darker green). For the "Maid Wanted" sign below I changed the colors and needlepointed the canvas in Periwinkle and white, rather than the original green and white.
4. STITCH PAINTED
What is stitch painted? Stitch painted is when each intersection of the canvas (the cross) is painted one color. This allows needlepointers to know *exactly* where each color goes aka no guess work! Stitch painted is the most beginner friendly type of canvas (compared to free hand painted) and is what we recommend to novice needlepointers.
5. A DESIGN YOU LOVE
You know all those "rules" I just said? Well, they don't mean *anything* if you don't like the canvas...truly! A needlepoint canvas is like a book- if you don't like it, you won't finish it.
When choosing your first project make sure you select a design that you *love.* You should feel giddy and happy when you look at it! If a certain canvas excites you *and* it is small, a few colors, 13 mesh, and stitch painted THEN jackpot! If not? Jackpot too! I have seen novice needlepointers come into Lycette and become smitten with an 18 mesh shaded pillow. Guess what? They finished it because they adored the design.
Find a project you *love,* and you will *love* needlepoint.
As for the top five projects I recommend for a novice needlepointer? See below! Remember you do not need a plethora of supplies to begin needlepoint. You simply need canvas, threads, scissors, and a needle (comes with every canvas purchased from Lycette).
"Tres Bien" is one of my favorite projects for beginners. It is small, 13 mesh, a few colors, stitch painted, *and* tres chic! What's not to love?
Finish it as a small pillow, a pouch for lipsticks, an acrylic tray, or framed...the possibilities are seemingly endless.
This greek key keychain from Lycette's exclusive "R!" by Rudy collection is fabulous for a novice. The lines are straight, it is stitch painted, 13 mesh, small *and* the finishing for keychains is relatively inexpensive!
I like to snooze in complete darkness, please and thank you! However, I also like to look elegant while doing so. This gingham sleeping mask is perfect for not only looking elevated while you sleep, but also for learning how to needlepoint!
Another fabulous and easy to needlepoint canvas from Rudy's collection is his "Private but Friendly." Like his greek key keychain it is 13 mesh, stitch painted, a few colors, and small. I would finish this canvas either framed or as a hanging sign for a front door.
Beginner projects aren't just for beginners! Case in point? I am currently stitching Rudy's original "Chef Wanted" canvas for Mr. Needlepoint's and my kitchen. Naturally I am stitching it in begonia (my favorite silk and ivory color). I plan to frame it in a bamboo frame and point to it whenever Greg or I asks "What's for Dinner?"
The canvases above are just a few of a plethora of beginner friendly canvases that can be found on Lycette's website under "Beginner Friendly." If you are in Palm Beach and would like a beginner lesson just pop by the shop- no appointment needed! If you aren't in PB, but still have a beginner question simply give us a buzz at 561.469.9155 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org