My desire to stitch a canvas coincided nicely with my younger sister’s birthday. We both liked this design, so I ordered it and am making “The Firmament” for her. The design is one of six in Alex Beattie’s “Creation” series. They are available from Ehrman Tapestries.
Getting started was exciting and daunting. I have never worked a needlepoint. Had I known what was involved, I might have chosen something easier. But the complexity is just what makes it interesting. I embroidered a lot growing up, and I know how to sew; somehow that history gives me confidence.
I studied the booklet of instructions and followed the steps. I unwrapped the bundles of wool and paired one strand of each color to the printed canvas samples (at left) to make a shade card. The colors of wool called for in the design can be somewhat difficult to make out on the canvas itself (which is shown at the right). Fortunately, they are easier to make out, and labeled by number, on the paper version (next to the shade card) that Ehrman supplies as an additional guide.
I read a bit more about needlepoint technique and stitches before getting started. One of the more helpful sites that I consulted was The Spruce (a handy DIY site that I have referred to when I need help with gardening projects). I also liked the site The Needlepoint Teacher. I didn’t get bogged down with reading, though; I wanted to begin. The Ehrman booklet contained everything I really needed to know.
All that remained were two decisions: what stitch to use, and strategy. I decided to work with the simpler of two recommended stitches after talking the matter over with my older sister. It pained me to opt for the half-cross stitch instead of the superior continental, but my choice was the only one to make when my lack of experience was taken into account. Given how many small dots of color make up “The Firmament,” working the continental stitch over the entire canvas would have been beyond me.
The stitching is engrossing; I like its irrevocability. One can only go forward. As long as one keeps at it, stitch by stitch, one can be confident of eventually being done.