How to needlepoint those BOLD stripes

How to needlepoint those BOLD stripes

Bold stripes are seen in clothing, wall hangings and yes, needlepoint.  But how do you stitch them.  Do you play them down, or highlight them?  Here are some tips for stitching those BOLD Stripes.



Your canvas has large bold stripes: pinks, blues, greens, navy & white, it doesn’t matter. You love the canvas, but can’t figure out how to stitch the stripes without overpowering the main theme.  Read on and we’ll give you some ideas about how to stitch those bold stripes so that they complement your needlepoint.



Many canvases have a simple theme on a bold stripe.  The Flamingo & Palm Tree canvases by the Collection of Designs and the Starfish by Associated Talents are good examples of those. 



Others, change it up a bit with softer stripes with more colors. Either way, you must first choose whether you want to play down the stripes or highlight them. 

PLAY THEM DOWN: The best way to stitch the BOLD colorful stripes is to play them down. They should be the back drop to the main theme – the star fish, palm tree, flowers or flamingo. 

Stitch the main theme first.  Use a glittery thread, or one with full coverage. 

Now do the stripes in a thinner, flat (non-glittery) thread.  If you’re using a stranded thread, use 2 less strands for 13 mesh 1 less for 18 mesh than your main theme.  If using a single ply thread use two weights, the thinner one for the stripes.  We use Planet Earth fibers for example.  They offer 2 weights in wool and silk – use the heavier weight for the star fish, crab, flower and flamingo, the lighter for the stripes.

EMBRACE THE STRIPES:  You love those bold stripes – embrace them and stitch them with heavy or sparkly thread – or try one of the stitches below and show them off.

The STITCHES:  Here’s some suggested stitches which can be used regardless of whether you want to play down the stripes or highlight them. Use your thread to determine the emphasis.

I’ve started with the easiest stitch – moving to the most difficult.  Regardless of the stitch used, you will have to compensate around the main object.

Alternating Tent Stitch



Alternating tent stitch– You can use this stitch on the stripes in all the canvases.  It is a light, airy stitch that looks elegant when complete.  Stitch it in the direction of the stripes – Vertical (first graph) for the Casbah  & the Starfish canvases, Horizontal (second graph)  for the Flamingo or Crab canvases. Ply down your thread or use a lighter weight thread to play down the area.  Use a heavier, brighter thread to make it bold.

The red stripes in the Little Panda needlepoint kit by Animal Fayre above are done in a Vertical Alternating Tent stitch.

  Mosaic & Scotch Squares


Mosaic Squares or Scotch squares:  This is a bolder look.  Count the rows in each color.  If divisible by 2 use the Mosaic Squares (left); if by 3 use the Scotch Squares (right).  Do one of the colors in the squared stitches and the other in a tent stitch, or do them both the same. 

ONLY use these stitches if the stripes are uniform. 

 Woven Needlepoint Stitch

Woven:  This pattern works for all of the canvases above.  Compensate at the top and bottom rows with a tent stitch.

Finally, if your stripes aren’t uniform (like the crab above) use either the Alternating tent or Woven stitches.  Or, stitch the large stripes in a tent stitch and do the single rows in an x stitch.


Remember – Ply down when playing down the area, use Glisten to make it Bold.