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What is Needlepoint Finishing?

By Christine Hudson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Needlepoint finishing, also referred to as needlepoint fabrication, is the process of turning a stitched needlepoint canvas into a decorative item or something for practical use. For example, a large square stitched design can be fashioned into a pillow, or a small round design can be mounted onto a Styrofoam™ ball covered in decorative fabric to be used as a Christmas tree ornament. There are a vast number of ways that any given canvas can be transformed into a usable or decorative object, and the possibilities are only as limited as the imagination.

Many people who have stitched their own canvases also prefer to do their own finishing, having a clear idea of how they would like to see it in its final form. On the other hand, needlepoint finishing is an art that can be extremely difficult to do well. It can require many hours of labor and precise attention to detail as well as experience gained over years of practice. A completed canvas can become quite dirty from being handled during the stitching process and greatly distorted from the pressure of the fibers pulling on the canvas, particularly when decorative stitches have been incorporated into the design. Those who lack the skills, interest or time to fabricate their stitched canvases can avail themselves of a needlepoint finishing service that will do all of this for them.

A finishing service can attend to all of the steps involved in transforming a stitched piece into the finished product. Cleaning needlepoint, blocking it into shape and selecting coordinating fabrics and beads all fall within the realm of a needlepoint finisher’s tasks. This person may also add any other desired embellishments, fit the canvas within frames or turn it into a pillow. Christmas stockings and gifts of many kinds are often made out of a needlepoint canvas during the finishing process.

A good needlepoint finishing service will generally be able to handle most any type of project adeptly. The artistry required is considered significant, and the results can sometimes be quite remarkable. Those who wish to learn the craft themselves, however, may be able to do so with local and online classes, instructional books and videos, or even through trial and error.

It is generally recommended that anyone who wants to learn needlepoint finishing start small. If the process of finishing a project ruins the canvas design, it may be less frustrating if the project was fairly easy to stitch and took very little time. Easy finishing such as fitting a canvas onto a frame may be helpful during the learning process. Once the person stitching has mastered simple techniques, he or she may then wish to move on to more difficult projects such as ornaments or other decorations.

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