Tuscaloosa needlepoint canvas
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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 get started, 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.

During the next few weeks, I’ll share the steps that I use to write my own stitch guides. Sound good? Okey dokey…let’s dive in.

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. 🙂

Next week, we’ll take a look at different threads. Until then…

Happy Stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: Are you a member of the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group? That’s where we share ideas and cheer each other on and I’d love to have you join us, so click here to request an invite. I’ll see you on the inside! 😉



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  1. Meg French

    March 22, 2018 at 7:06 am

    The first thing to notice is Tuscaloosa!

    • JH

      March 23, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      I think the boat should stand out, then the town’s name. Janice

  2. Ellie

    March 22, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Tuscaloosa or the riverboat ??

  3. Marti Tyler

    March 22, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I think the boat is the focal point of the canvas.

  4. Carol

    March 22, 2018 at 8:54 am

    The riverboat 🙂

  5. Ellen Johnson

    March 22, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, ladies! 🙂 Check back on Sunday to see what I’m declaring as the focal point. 😉
    In the meanwhile, if you’re reading the post and you haven’t told me what you think the focal point is…go ahead and type it in the comments box.

  6. Susan L. Westfall

    March 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I will start with what I was drawn to, in order, on the unstitched canvas: Denny Chimes, Tuscaloosa, Riverboat, Water.

  7. El Mathias

    March 22, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    The first thing I saw was Tuscaloosa, then the water drew me to the riverboat and up to the tower.

  8. Robin Gress

    March 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    My eye went first to the boat and the chimes. I like the way the artist balanced the canvas with those two elements.

  9. Lorraine Graybill

    March 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I vote for the river boat! Especially the paddle wheel. 🙂

  10. Ellen Johnson

    March 25, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Y’all are GREAT! Thanks ever so much for sharing your thoughts! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    This design is a little tricky because there’s a lot going on in the picture. The river and riverboat are definitely important parts of the design – they’re the point of entry. And they lead to Denny Chimes and the word “Tuscaloosa”, which are also both very important parts of the design. But – there should only be one dominant focal point (cue the drumroll…) and it’s the word “Tuscaloosa”. Denny Chimes and the riverboat are definitely subordinate focal points, though, and should be treated as such. 🙂

    • Beth Pansino

      March 26, 2018 at 6:22 am

      The focal point is where the darkest dark and lightest light meet=the boat


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