Friday, March 31, 2017

Quickpoint: Big Stitches for Needle Art Success

ferret and butterfly detail
Quickpoint is a form of needlework that I recommend to several groups of people. First of all, to beginning needleworkers. It is easy to do and the results are achieved quickly. Almost any kind of design can be adapted to the technique. There are some absolutely beautiful pillow kits currently available that originated in Belgium. You may not want to start out with something quite that expensive, however. You also know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, that I feel kits sometimes discourage creativity.*  I would personally rather see all craftspeople do something that is original and that expresses their tastes and personalities. A second group for whom quickpoint is appropriate is that of creative people who have very limited time to do projects. The final group would be those people who once enjoyed needlework, but now find their eyes and hands do not respond as well as they once did. I belong to that group myself. Please don't give up an activity that you love. Find less physically demanding ways to work. Quickpoint is large and the canvas mesh is easy to see. The needles are large and have eyes that are easy to thread. The yarns are thick and cover the canvas quickly. Projects can be any size that is easy for you to hold.


quickpoint wall hanging, "Spring Thaw"
Quickpoint wall hanging, "Spring Thaw"
The “point” part of quickpoint implies that it is only done in needlepoint. This is misleading. Although it is done on a canvas background, quickpoint is also lovely done in counted cross-stitch. (I believe needlepointers and cross-stitchers together form the largest group of people doing stitchery today.) The wall hanging here, “Spring Thaw”, is done in cross-stitch. This is how it looked completed.





#3.75 & #5 canvas
#3.75 & #5 canvas
 Traditional quickpoint canvas has 4.5 stitches to he inch. I do not have a source for this canvas at the moment, so I cannot show it to you. I can, however, show you a larger-mesh and a smaller-mesh canvas, both of which work well for quickpoint. The canvas with the larger squares is #3.75 conventional latch-hook rug canvas. It can be worked in uncut rug yarn or one of many thick craft or novelty yarns. The canvas with the smaller mesh is also a rug canvas, but one which requires a special hook. It is #5 canvas. You can use two strands of knitting worsted yarn or several strands of crewel or tapestry yarn on this canvas. For the best results, do not double the yarn; instead, cut two or more separate strands the same length and thread all of them through the eye of the needle at the same time. Some of these materials can be hard to find. Good paces to look for them are thrift stores, charity shops, and yard or garage sales.

Framed needlework ferret & butterfly
Framed needlework, "Are You Endangered, Too?"



From time to time, I create a needlework picture for a series I call “Close Encounters”. The photograph at the beginning of this post is a close-up of one of these pictures, entitled “Are You Endangered, Too?” You can see the entire picture at the right. It is done primarily in cross-stitch with some tent stitch.


Framed quickpoint, "Let's Do Lunch"
Framed quickpoint, "Let's Do Lunch"
Another of the series is the one at the left, “Let's Do Lunch”. It also has some star stitches in the more heavily textured areas. A star stitch is made by stitching a + (like a plus sign) over a completed cross-stitch. A conventional cross-stitch occupies four squares of mesh. A star stitch (which has many other names, including Double Cross, and St. George & St. Andrew) occupies nine squares of mesh as you can see in the sample. As with cross-stitch, it does not matter which part of the “plus stitch' you do first as long as you are consistent and do the stitch the same way every time.




Steps in making the star stitch
Steps in making the star stitch

Tip: If you are doing a framed picture or a wall hanging that you want to stay rigid and not sag, you need to work on jute canvas. To do a pillow or other soft object, you will need cotton canvas or a nylon mesh. Again, you may have to do some searching to find the appropriate materials.

Quickpoint cross-stitched butterfly
Quickpoint cross-stitched butterfly

 
Here is one last example of combined quickpoint. The butterfly was done in cross-stitch. The outlining is done in a single strand of crewel yarn, as are the “floating” lines that represent veins in the wings. The background is done in tent stitch. This is easier to see in the enlargement below.






Detail of butterfly's wing
Detail of butterfly's wing


Annake working on "Spring Thaw"
Annake working on "Spring Thaw"
When I am planning a complicated piece with many different shades of color, I often make a detailed graph of the planned design before I begin stitching. You can see part of such a graph over my shoulder as I am working on “Spring Thaw”. On the “Close Encounter” pictures, however, I charted some features and simply outlined everything else. I didn't chart the butterfly, simply outlined it. I'm currently starting a new picture in the “Close Encounter” series. In the next post on this topic, I will take you through the process for that picture, step-by step.




In the meantime, think “big stitches” and do a little quickpoint.




* My apologies if I have offended anyone from Belgium. I have many fond memories of the country and its friendly people.

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