Does Printed Needlepoint Canvas Last 600 Years?

An Old Printing Device
An Old Printing Device

Here’s an email recently received by the folks at

I would like to know why you think your printed canvas is superior to handpainted. It has been my experience that the printed canvas does not have the life of a handpainted canvas. Tapestries from the 1400’s have lasted 600 years. Will yours? Doubtful.!!!

Here was my response:

To quote “from experience” that printed needlepoint canvas doesn’t last 600 years, is quite an interesting claim. To my knowledge, printed canvas is only around for a few years, so it isn’t possible to have conducted this type of experiment.


In fact, I had some of my designs handpainted by an offshore shop, and compared them to my printed versions. I couldn’t find any appreciable difference.


Indeed, my printed canvases have proven themselves durable and up to the task. The cost of a printed canvas compared to handpainted, inch per inch, is far more economical and much faster to produce. And in the end, both printed and painted designs will be covered with stitching. The quality of the design is the most important factor in choosing a canvas, not the method with which the ink was applied.

One of these days I will need to post a longer article on the pros and cons of printed vs. handpainted needlepoint. But the email I quoted above does cover the main points.

Another Fine Example of Needlepoint Appreciation

Check out Appraisal Day Offered at the Daily Tribune of Oakland County, where another needlepoint canvas was appraised by experts with an especially fine appreciation of needlework:

We’ve had things appraised as high as $50,000, said Colleen Barkham, a historical society member and organizer of the event. It was a needlepoint that came from England, 300 years old.

Sadly, no picture of the pricey point was included.

New Designs Released This Week

Hi there all, I’d like to share with you some of the new designs released this week. I had a bunch of unfinished projects that I finally finished and cleared out of my todo list.

From my collection of “Coloring Book” style of designs, I bring to you “Doggie and Soldier”:

Doggie and Soldier
Doggie and Soldier

The pair of playthings have joined their friends in the Charming Illustration category. Next, I have “Banister”:


It will find a welcome home under my Home Sweet Home collection with all my other dandy decor depictions. After that, please join me in greeting “Beach Chairs”:

Beach Chairs
Beach Chairs

The perfect piece to stitch while relaxing in a beach chair under the brilliant sun. And now, introducing “Kitchen Utensils”:

Kitchen Utensils
Kitchen Utensils

As Benjamin Franklin once said, we need to all hang together. Last, we have “Shalom”:


And what a better way to end this blog post: Shalom, everyone!

Needle Point Pens

A Needle Point Pen
A Needle Point Pen

On one of my frequent sightseeing tours around the Internet, I chanced upon another meaning of the word “needlepoint” of which I wasn’t previously aware. I’m referring to an ink writing instrument known as a “Needle Point Pen”. Here is a review of the Uni-Ball 207 Needle Point Pen by Sanford.

Any business that involves a word that is ambiguous, is harder to find using Google or one of the other search engines. For example, if you are looking for a product for your nails, your search will turn up the other type of nails as well. Not everyone is savvy enough to type in “fingernails” instead of just nails. Needless to say, it isn’t good for business.

Our industry up until now has been free from this particular ailment. Let’s hope Needle Point Pens don’t become wildly popular. Searchers have a hard enough time finding our websites already.

On the other hand, it’s a perfect gift for a needlepointer friend!

Using a Needlepoint Frame

Adjustable table/lap stand - A type of needlepoint frame
Adjustable table/lap stand - A type of needlepoint frame

In my article The Needlepoint Beginner – How Do I Start Stitching, I touched briefly on the subject of using needlepoint frames. I recently had the opportunity to read Brenda Stimpson’s article Should I Use a Needlepoint Frame? over at EZine Articles, so I thought I would expand a bit on the topic.

A needlepoint frame is a wood contraption that holds your canvas taut while you work. Using a frame offers the following advantages:

  • Warp Drive. All those stitches pull the canvas in different ways. The tension can result in a warped canvas. A frame protects your canvas from this by holding it firmly taut at all times.
  • Get Around the Blocking. For smaller canvases, using a frame may eliminate the need to have the canvas blocked once it is finished. This is not the case for larger projects.
  • Getting Down and Dirty. Your hands aren’t always perfectly clean. Constant handling of the canvas can result in noticeable dirt accumulation or other soiling. When the canvas is pinned to a frame, you touch it less.

Adjustable Craft Floor Stand
Adjustable Craft Floor Stand

Some needlepointers take the point of view that you must use a needlepoint frame or stand to do good work. Others say that without a frame you are more susceptible to injury, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, by the constant repetitive cramped-hand action. I don’t think either of these have been scientifically proven, though. I’d love to see some data! 🙂

The main disadvantage of using frames is mobility. If you will be taking this stuff with you everywhere, on the bus, train, in the car, up and down the stairs in your home, to the hairdresser, whatever, the bulk of extra equipment will make it harder.

The warping issue can be mitigated by reviewing your work periodically for signs of distortion. If you nip it in the bud, you can fix it by loosening some stitches to ease the lateral stress. Or you can try applying opposing tension nearby to compensate. In any event, your framing service will do a decent job of blocking the completed work.

Another thing to consider is your personal stitching style; it is profoundly affected by the use of a frame. Since the frame is maintaining tension in your canvas, you will find it difficult to pull thread through more than one hole at a time. Since the canvas material will not bend, you need to push the needle down, catch it on the underside and then push it back up. Many stitchers find it easier to thread the needle through a few holes at a time, if that’s how you like to do it, don’t use a frame.

Some other useful links related to needlepoint frames are:

Elmer Jose: Needlepoint Master

Elmer Jose Concentrates on his Work
Elmer Jose Concentrates on his Work

This segment from KX News about Elmer Jose is both interesting and inspirational.

In all, Elmer has created over 200 of these needlepoint works of art, some containing nearly 170,000 stitches. He doesn’t usually take requests, but if you have something in mind, chances are, he’s already done it.

Oh and by the way, “he does his work from a wheelchair, using one good eye, and limited use of one hand. If that’s not incredible enough, he’s also a cancer survivor.”

Here is a transcript of the interview.