TAPESTRY KITS - How to stitch a Tapestry

HOW TO STITCH GUIDE - Tapestry and Needlepoint Stitching

Tapestry Kit or Needlepoint Kit ?  Tapestry and Needlepoint mean a similar thing–a wonderfully relaxing pastime, stitching onto full colour printed canvas OR from a chart onto plain canvas, with kits suitable for beginners and the most experienced stitchers.

Tapestry Kits rely on a few basic types of stitch, the two main forms being 'Half Cross Stitch' and 'Tent Stitch/Continental Stitch', both of which have the same appearance at the front of the work and are very easy to achieve.

Needlepoint Kits can be stitched in basic stitches, but often require various additional stitching techniques creating texture and added interest, with clear instructions provided to achieve the finished effect.

Today many kits are termed ‘Tapestry Needlepoint Kits’, which can be confusing and encompasses all ... however product descriptions should explain the stitching recommendations in the kit and the type of wool/yarn provided. Generally this term means that the project can be stitched in traditional standard stitching if preferred.

All kits come supplied with the essentials: canvas fabric, all yarns required, needle, clear stitch instructions and how to guides, and a design image. Many come with a reference chart too.


You will minimize distortion and keep your stitching even, if you attach your canvas onto a rectangular tapestry frame before you begin.  If you choose not to use a frame, your needlework will become distorted as you stitch. A frame can be used for future projects, so is a great investment.

You need to be certain that you have the right number of threads in your needle and are using the stitch recommended in your kit. Different stitches use up differing amounts of yarn so check the notes supplied with your kit.

When there are close colour shades, it is important to establish exactly which colour is which.  Some printed colours on the canvas may be exaggerated to increase the contrast and make the printed canvas easier to follow.  

If you have a key at the edge of your canvas, attach a short strand of each yarn to each coloured square of the key.  This helps when selecting colours in artificial light.


Make sure you are using the stitch recommended by your kit manufacturer /designer – you may run out of yarn if you make a change.  

Cut one length of yarn to approx. 20 inches. To use the ‘catching method’ pull the thread through the hole where you wish to begin, leaving 1-2 inches at the back. Hold the surplus end flat to the back of the canvas and catch it into the back of the stitches as you proceed.

To finish off, when you are about 1-2ins (5cms) from the end of your yarn, slide the needle under a few stitches at the back of the work and snip it off.  From now on, you can do this to start new threads.  


When stitching is completed, check over your work by holding it up to the light. This will show any missed stitches that may need to be added.  Tidy up any loose ends at the back by tucking them behind a few stitches before snipping them off.

When you are satisfied, you can detach your work from the frame. If you have used a frame and maintained your stitch tension throughout your needlework should have kept its shape.