With only 12 hours to go until the end of 2018 I have finished my London Light needlepoint cushion. 2018 has been a year of only a few rather large projects.
I started this kit by Hannah Bass Needlepoint back in April 2018. I had spotted Hannah’s kits during my first visit to the Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace back in 2015 and I immediately liked their design. Probably partly because they reminded me of the Spatial Analysis maps I have made for my PhD thesis. If you are interested in reading more about my research into Spatial Patterns of the Medieval economy you can find a copy of my thesis here.
However, I didn’t buy a kit straight away because I wasn’t sure whether I would like needlepoint so much that would permit me to spend so much money on a single kit. On the other hand, I did start following Hannah on Facebook and Instagram and when she announced a discount offer on her kits when I was looking for something relaxing to stitch on holiday I jumped at the chance and bought a kit of my favourite city in a colourway that would match my craft room.
The kit is really lovely packaged and comes with enough wool, 3 tapestry needles, instructions, the patterns and the printed canvas. I thought I would run out of some of the colours but in the end, I had lots left of every shade. Even though, I had restitched some bits as I hadn’t stopped soon enough when stitching and the wool had got too thin so you could still see the canvas.
I had never done a painted canvas needlepoint before, and it was something to get used to. I am so used to looking at a pattern but in with painted canvasses you just have to use the pattern as a guide and just stitch whichever colour the canvas shows you. Every canvas has its own unique woven movement so no pattern will turn out exactly the same. However, because of the nature of the image, I am stitching it doesn’t really matter if some blocks or streets are actually bigger or smaller.
On the other hand, it is important that the lettering is accurate so Hannah does advise you to start stitching the letters first. She then suggested to start stitching the roads from the centre outwards and then fill in the building blocks. I thought it would be easier stitching the blocks first and then fill in the roads as I went along, however as I progress stitching the roads is actually easier. It makes to roads align better, and because the roads are white also prevents any colour transfer to the front from the adjoining building blocks already stitched. It started from the area around the letters and then worked my way north.
I did find it difficult to distinguish between the different shade of grey and pink by looking at the canvas alone and that is where the pattern really came in handy.
To keep my canvas taut I used one of my Siesta no-sew frames. Even though I had previously been happy with them for my cross stitch projects, they didn’t cope well with the stiffness of canvas as the wooden rods came away from the screws so I ended up glueing the rods to the sidebars. When we were in London last week I purchased an Elbesee Easy Clip frame which is actually the same frame Hannah recommends so I will try that out and see how that fares. I really would like a Millenium frame from Needle Needs but I have been hearing so many bad stories about the time they take to fulfil orders and their lack of customer service I don’t really fancy ordering one.
At this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show, I purchased some pink backing fabric from Hannah. However, I wasn’t quite sure about doing an all pink backing. I popped into John Lewis on Oxford Street last Thursday and purchased the same type of fabric (Romo Linara cotton linen) in a lovely shade of blue. It wasn’t an exact match to any of the colours but it really brought out all of the shades of my needlepoint and also worked well with the green colour of the seat the cushion will sit in. However, I still wasn’t sure about the colour I would end up using but I got some great help from my Instagram and Facebook followers who voted for the blue backing by a large majority!
The make the cushion even nicer, I made my own piping from 2 inch wide strips of the pink fabric and no. 5 piping cord. I tacked it by hand right on the edge of my needlepoint and then I used my sewing machine to attach the two pieces of blue fabric which make up the back. My machine had to work quite hard as the canvas and three layers of cotton linen are quite thick to sew through. I had originally intended to put a zip in the back, but two larger overlapping pieces worked just as well (and is much easier).
I am really happy with the result. I love how my cushion has turned out. It has taken me some time to finish as it was stored away over summer. However, as soon as I got going again and reached the halfway point it really motivated me to get it finished this year and I managed it by finishing the needlepoint on Christmas day! I also think blue was the right choice and the pink piping just finishes it off!