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How to Block Needlepoint

By Joanne Thomas

Blocking your needlepoint gives it a professional finished look. Although it is tempting to consider your needlepoint "finished" as soon as you complete the stitching, it is well worth the extra time and effort to block your work. While stitching, the canvas inevitably becomes distorted. Blocking the work brings the canvas back to a perfectly perpendicular alignment.

Using the ruler and waterproof marker, draw a grid of 1 inch squares onto the brown paper. Take care to make sure they are perfectly parallel and perpendicular.

Tape the brown paper to the cork board using masking tape along all the sides so that it is secure and smooth. Spray the paper with water so that it is saturated but not dripping. Allow this to dry thoroughly and it should become taut.

Soak your needlepoint thoroughly in cold water and roll it gently in a soft towel to soak up excess liquid.

Place one corner of your needlepoint work (face-up) over one corner of the squares marked on the board. Staple it in place on the margin of canvas at the edge of the stitching. Use several staples to anchor the canvas to the board securely.

If you know the desired finished dimensions for the work, mark the spots where the other three corners should be on the paper grid. Use the grid lines on the paper to ensure that the sides are straight.

Pull two other corners of the needlework into their correct place and staple, leaving the fourth corner unattached. Pulling each of the secure sides into the correct position, staple along the entire edge of the needlepoint. Start in the center of each side and work your way out to the corners. Place the staples at an angle to the canvas threads.

Pull the fourth corner into its correct place and staple it securely. Staple along the two remaining sides. Leave the needlepoint alone until it is completely dry. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days. When it is dry, remove the staples carefully. The needlepoint should retain its correct dimensions.

Tip

If your needlepoint bounces back to an uneven shape after the first session, you may need to block it several more times.

Needlepoint that is stitched using a frame is usually much easier to block.

Use stainless steel pins or a hammer and tacks if you do not have a staple gun.

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.