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Needlepoint/stretched canvas


Hello Henry,
I have am unworked needlepoint canvas that is already on an appropriately-sized stretcher frame. Unfortunately, something was set on the canvas, resulting in a stretched area of the canvas. It is no longer taunt in this area, but there is no other damage.  What steps, if any, would you recommend be taken before I begin to stitch it?

Thank you very much for your assistance.

Hi Betty,

Sorry to hear about your canvas.  Fortunately, it should be pretty easy to fix.

The first thing to do is get the entire canvas wet.  Let is soak for a just a bit so that all the threads of the canvas have been able to soak up the water.  The paint, or ink, that the canvas is covered with should be water proof.  Now that the canvas is saturated, remove from water, and lay it flat to dry.  Perhaps letting it dry on a clean, white towel in a warm location, away from direct sunlight.

After the canvas dries, it might be kind of wrinkled.  That's OK.  At this point, all the canvas threads should have shrunk up back to their normal length.

Next, you will have to follow the following instructions for blocking the canvas:

Obviously, you won't need to wash the canvas; you just need to wet it again, like you did the first time.  Then, you will follow the directions for blocking the canvas.

After the canvas is blocked and dried, it should be back to it's original shape.  Lastly, soaking and blocking the canvas will probably remove all the sizing from the canvas.  This is what holds the canvas stiff while you stitch it.  Check with needlepoint or fabric stores to locate some sizing, and treat the canvas again to give it that stiff texture while you stitch the canvas.

That's it.  You should be able to stitch the canvas normally after that.  


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Henry Babcock


I learned needlepoint, knitting, sewing, etc. from my grandmother over 35 years ago. I can answer most questions on the subject of needlepoint. I know about producing needlepoint as well as cleaning, repairing and restoring.

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Almost 40 years using needle and canvas.

AS Marine Diving Technologies, SBCC 1998
BA Environmental Studies, UCSB 1993

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