Choosing Stitches for an Ornament

Choosing stitches and threads for your canvases is just part of the process for writing a stitch guide.

This week’s blog post is a blast from the past – and it’s chock full of terrific information about writing your own stitch guides…

Just the other day, someone asked me about which stitches might be good to use for the sky on a needlepoint canvas. And that’s a really great question, but you know what? It doesn’t have a “one-size-fits-all” answer.

Choosing stitches for any design component on a needlepoint canvas requires careful consideration and forethought.

I know, I know…you’re chomping at the bit to start stitching, but jumping in willy nilly often results in precious stitching time being spent “frogging” (you know…rip it, rip it!) – instead of making progress on your project.

How do you know where to start?

Well, the best place to begin is by evaluating the overall design.

First, think about how you’re going to finish the canvas. Is it going to be framed? Or will it be a pillow? Are you going to make it into a stand-up for your mantle or is it going to become an ornament for the Christmas tree?

Knowing how your project will be used when it’s finally made into that one-of-a-kind handmade treasure can really help narrow down your options.

Tuscaloosa needlepoint canvas by Kathy Schenkel Designs

Since choosing decorative stitches for a needlepoint project is a process…

let’s use my Tuscaloosa canvas as a working example.

First, this canvas is designed to be an ornament. And I plan to finish it as an ornament for my family’s Christmas tree.

That means I can use almost any kind of thread or stitch my heart desires because all this little guy will be doing is hanging out on my Christmas tree for about a month every year.

So, now that we know the project’s finished use, it’s time to make a list of the different design components.

What are design components?

Great question! They’re those individual items painted on your canvas.

In the case of my Tuscaloosa canvas, they’re the river, the trees, the grassy area with the park benches, the sidewalk, the railing, the lamp posts, the riverboat, Denny Chimes (the bell tower behind the trees), the word “Tuscaloosa”, and the sky.

Now, what’s the first thing the artist wants you to notice on my ornament?

Tell me what you think it is in the comments box below! Go ahead…don’t be shy. I can’t wait to hear from you and, remember, I read every single comment. 🙂

Alrighty, my friend – that’s all for now. Until next time…

Happy Stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



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6 thoughts on “Choosing Stitches for an Ornament”

    • Yep – you got it, Susan!
      Thank you for reading and responding. It’s always fun to hear from my readers.
      Ellen 🙂

  1. First I thought tuscalusa, but I doubted myself because it was so small. So I changed my mind to the water and boat because it was center.

    • Hi Malki!
      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Your first instinct was actually spot-on… it is the word Tuscaloosa. So, great job there!!
      The water and the boat are definitely important design components, too.
      Have a happy Sunday!


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Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

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