Set Yourself Up For Needlepoint Success

Learn the basics of needlepoint with Ellen in Needlepoint Made Easy!

Another school year is upon us and it’s a terrific time to do a reset for your needlepoint hobby. Wondering what a “needlepoint reset” is? Well, the short answer is that it’s a self-assessment of where you are on your needlepoint journey. So grab your favorite mug, fill it up, and let’s chat about how you can set yourself up for needlepoint success today.

First, you need to do an inventory of where you are right now.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and make a list of all the things you already know how to do.

Fundamental things like…

  • being able to identify – at a glance – the different sizes of canvas so you know what kind of thread to use
  • always using a frame so that your stitches are nice and even
  • starting and ending your threads in the best way for the different situations you might encounter on different canvases (things like single stitches for snowflakes!) – so your stitches don’t come loose and your backs are neat and tidy!
  • using continental and basketweave the right ways – and knowing when (and where!) to use each
  • how to use a laying tool
  • what to do with your project after you’ve finished the stitching
  • and all the other essential skills that every needlepointer should have!

Then, think about what you’d like to be able to do.

And make a list of those things, too.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to articulate what it is that you want to be able to do. If it’s “make my canvases look like the ones I see on Facebook and Instagram” – well, my friend, just write that down.

And now, it’s time for the fun part!

You’re going to make a plan to set yourself up for needlepoint success! 

There’s no doubt that the most successful stitchers are the ones who have mastered the basics of needlepoint. They continue to practice and hone their skills regularly, too.

You may have heard me say “practice makes permanent” – and, well, it’s true! The only way to get better at something is to do it over and over and over again.

In order to truly master something, you must have the fundamentals down pat – whether it’s playing the piano, baking macarons, or stitching beautiful needlepoint treasures.

Learn the fundamentals of needlepoint in Needlepoint Made Easy with Ellen Johnson as your needlepoint guide.

So – are you ready to become a more confident – and competent – stitcher?

Woohoo… that’s awesome!!

Here are 6 ways you can set yourself up for needlepoint success…

1. Learn from what hasn’t worked.

If you’re new to needlepoint, chances are that you don’t have any bad habits – yet. 😉 (And that means you can skip to the next tip. 🙂 )

But if you’ve been stitching for even a little while, especially if you’re self-taught, there may be some things you need to change.

Think about methods you’ve tried in the past  – things that haven’t worked, as well as the ones that have.

For instance, if you’ve been mixing up different variations of the tent stitch on your projects (hello alternating rows of continental and half-cross!) – and you can see ridges on the front of your work – it’s probably not the best idea to keep doing that.

And if you realize that there could be A LOT of other things that you don’t know, it’s probably a good idea to take a class.

2. Set up ways to measure your progress along your path to needlepoint success.

You won’t know how well you’re doing if you don’t track your progress. Set goals for yourself that you can measure. (You can read more about setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals here.) It’s super important to see how you’re doing as you move along your path to needlepoint success.

For example, you could schedule a specific amount of time to practice your needlepoint every day or every few days. And use our habit tracker to measure your progress over time.

3. Find a guide – and some accountability buddies.

Finding someone who can serve as your “go-to” guide when you’re trying to learn something new is a surefire way to set yourself up for success. Of course, that holds true when you want to fix some bad habits that you may have picked up along the way, too. The person in whom you place your trust should have experience and they should also be able to clearly explain the things you’re trying to learn. Having access to that person so that you can ask questions is really important, too.

And when you have some accountability buddies who are traveling the same road as you, it makes the journey more fun. See, there’s nothing quite like telling someone that you’re going to do something to really make you do it. If nothing else, telling another person about your goal makes it real. And if that someone you tell becomes a friend, they’ll also check in on you to see how you’re progressing.

4. Make it easier on yourself to achieve needlepoint success.

Have you ever tried to go on a diet with a pantry full of cookies and potato chips? (Trust me – it doesn’t work! 😉 ) All of those goodies sitting on the shelf are a distraction from your goal of losing weight – and they can be your downfall if you succumb to temptation.

My guess is that you’re probably wondering how going on a diet relates to needlepoint. Am I right?

Well, think of it this way… instead of letting yourself fall prey to a project that’s above your skill level, focus on taking the small steps every day that will lead to massive progress over time.

For example, regularly practicing fundamental needlepoint skills like stitching on a frame, using the right kind (and size!) of needle and thread for your canvas, starting in the right place so that your finished project looks the best it possibly can, and so much more – those are the kinds of things that, if you do them on every canvas you stitch, will have the same kind of effect on your needlepoint that compounding interest has on your money in the bank.

Taking baby steps every day is part of planning ahead for your future self – you can make it easy to follow the map you created for yourself and avoid those pesky roadblocks.

5. Give yourself some grace – and BE PERSISTENT!

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and your needlepoint hobby won’t be either. In fact, you’ll continue to expand and develop your skills every time you practice your stitching.

It’s easy to be inspired by all of the beautiful needlepoint projects on social media, but we often fail to remember that those needle artists practice a daily discipline and that it may have taken them years to get to where they are today. Achieving mastery of a skillset takes patience and persistence – EVERY day.

There will be times when you feel like you’ll never “get” it. Times when you spend more time ripping out your stitches than you do putting them in. And maybe even times when you consider throwing your hands up and quitting – but keep going! If you can push yourself past the roadblocks, your needlepoint success will be that much sweeter in the end.

6. Celebrate your victories.

Celebrating even your smallest victories is a great motivator and can help you keep going. Maybe you’ll promise yourself that if you work your next canvas on a frame, you’ll reward yourself with that new thread you’ve been wanting to try. Or, if you practice your basketweave every day for a week, you’ll buy that cute little ornament for your new granddaughter. 😉

Enroll in Needlepoint Made Easy and learn how to do needlepoint the right way!

You can set yourself up for needlepoint success, too, when you join Needlepoint Made Easy™.

If you’re ready to finally have confidence that you’re doing things the right way on your needlepoint projects, you can learn more about Needlepoint Made Easy here. I’m leading a special cohort of stitchers through the course starting with our Welcome Party on September 6th and I’d be tickled to have you in our group.

If you’re not sure that you’re a good fit, just click on that little green button over in the bottom right corner of the screen to send me a message and I’ll make sure that you get the answers to all of your questions.

Alrighty, my friend… that’s all for now.

Until next time, happy stitching!!

Stitch with a smile!




PS: Enrollment for the special cohort of stitchers closes on September 3rd at 6:00 p.m. Central time. 😉




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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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