Christmas feels like it only just happened but it’s never too early to start planning for next year, especially when it comes to needlepoint ornaments.
I finished this ornament over the summer but kept it tucked away until giving it as a Christmas present last month. Since it spent so long in my needlepoint supply bag, I almost forgot to write up my how-to for ornaments! Almost.
The great thing about DIY needlepoint ornaments is that there are no limits, no rules that one has to follow. I do have a couple tips for success though so if you’re ready to give ornaments a try, read on.
- Outline the ornament. Knowing how big your finished project is going to be before jumping into it will make life so much easier. Start with a blank canvas on stretcher bars. I use 8×7 stretcher bars that I use for door hanger and ornament projects which is a good size – it’s transport friendly and is a versatile size for different types of projects. To outline the ornament, use a permanent marker and a mug.
- Sketch ornament design. Once you have the limits outlined, time to work on the inside! Needlepoint canvases are laid out on a grid so you can sketch designs on grid paper and transfer final designs onto the canvas. If you are worried about transferring designs, hold it up to the window with the sketch behind the canvas and trace it. If you prefer to freehand your designs, map out a grid on your canvas. I like to divide my canvas into three horizontal sections to outline work areas.
- Pick stitches and threads. Unlike pillows and belts that get tons of wear and tear, ornaments can be more delicate. This is a good opportunity to try out new stitches and threads, no need to stick to basketweave.
- Be flexible. As much as you plan, things won’t turn out exactly how you expected. Be flexible and roll with it, making changes on the fly as needed. I had sketched the pineapple out on grid paper and had done tons of them on Colin’s belt and yet, this one still turned out differently. I’m going to call it creative improvisation.
Once you are done, it is time to finish it! I work with my local needlepoint store to send my ornament canvases away to a finisher who will add a backing and twisted thread outline but you can also finish it yourself. Susan Thompson has some great tips for finishing two sided ornaments here.
Ready to start making your own? Let me know how it goes!