These are just a few of the many types of needlework that fiber artists create today. If you’re new to needlework, and at one point everyone is new to needlework, chances are these are completely foreign words to you.
Have no fear! In this first post in the oh, stitch Needlework 101 series, I’ll break these down for you. After you see the differences in each type of needlework you may be drawn to a certain type, or you may be like me and love them all. Let’s get started!
Cross-stitch is literally what it says. A series of cross or “x” stitches to create a design on canvas. You may also hear it referred to as counted cross-stitch which just describes that the fiber artist followed a chart and counted the stitches as they went. Historically, cross-stitch was used for embellishing fabric items like tablecloths, table runners, napkins, handkerchiefs, and dish towels, but now cross-stitch is seen in anything from pillows to wall hangings, and even greeting cards.
Needlepoint is probably the simplest needlework, yet can be most expensive, to learn. It’s made up of a series of stitches created on stiff open-weave canvas. You can purchase pre-painted canvases (which can be quite pricey) with which you match the paint colors to yarn and start stitching by color – it’s like painting by number. Alternatively, you can begin on a blank canvas and count stitches to make a design by following a chart. Needlepoint is quite stiff when completed and is ideal for ornaments, wall hangings, and pillows.
Embroidery is simply an embellishment on fabric with needle and thread. There are many different stitches that are considered embroidery. Custom embroidery is very common in monogramming, but is also seen in wall hangings, pillows, clothing, hats, and dishtowels. Embroidery is a fairly inexpensive hobby to pick up and even if you only learn one stitch, it can become a rewarding pastime. All you need to start is a hoop, fabric scraps, a needle and embroidery floss.
Crewel embroidery is pretty much the same thing as embroidery, with 2 exceptions. Instead of embroidery floss or thread, wool yarn is used, and the fabric used is typically linen. It is believed that crewel is over 1,000 years old and is most often used for pillows, wall hangings, and curtains.