Needlepoint Thread Can Draw the Eye to Features on Your Needlepoint Canvas

Needlepoint Thread Can Draw the Eye to Features on Your Needlepoint Canvas

Whether you are stitching a simple needlepoint ornament or a large piece, something traditional or contemporary, every needlepoint canvas has a focal point—something you want to feature.

You can use different stitches to make your canvas stand out, but another simple method is to use different thread types.

For example, use thicker thread in the area you want to feature and thinner thread for the background. Cotton floss, perle cotton, wool, silk and blended threads; they all have different weights. You can use these differences to emphasize a particular area.


These are the threads we use most often when we kit your canvas, and if you’re picking our “mixed threads”option, this is how we would use them:

1. Cotton floss and Stranded Silk threads

Both of these are stranded – typically 6 strands each piece. This allows you to use as few as 1 strand or as many as you’d like – even more than 6 if the area requires it. We use DMC cotton floss and Planet Earth 6 ply silk.

2. Perle cotton

Perle cotton comes in 2 weights- #5 and #3 – the latter being thicker. The thread is like a thin rope, so it has a coarser feel than the floss. The coarser thread can only be used on 13 mesh or larger canvas. We generally use #5 DMC Perle cotton for either size mesh, but you can request the heavier Perle cotton if you prefer it.

3. Silk

Single-stranded silk from Planet Earth comes in two weights- Planet Earth Silk (heavy) and Pepper Pot silks (lighter). Both have a sheen, giving the area a glossy look. Planet Earth silk is only for 13, 12, 10 or 7 mesh canvas. Pepper Pot silk can be used on any size mesh.

4. Wool

We use Vineyard Merino wool and Planet Earth Wool threads interchangeably. Both can be used on 13 mesh canvas. Vineyard Merino tends to be a bit thinner, but we generally choose depending on the color match. Both brands are heavier than the silk or cotton and do not carry a sheen. Wool is recommended for
pillows as it is more durable than any other option. If you’re doing an ornament or other 18 mesh canvas with detail and choose wool, we will use Bella Lusso wool which is very fine.

5. Blended wool & silk

Although there are many blended threads, we carry Essentials which is single ply and appropriate for 13 or 18 mesh.

6. Specialty Threads

These include Glisten and Kreinik and are of varying weights. All have a sparkle and can add dimension, but mostly are used to add bling to the canvas.


First, determine the area you want to emphasize. In this Rudolph Candy Cane by Danji Designs I’ve used Stranded silk, Pepperpot silk, Essentials, Kreinik braid, Perle cotton and floss to add dimension to the canvas.

The Reindeer should be the focus of this canvas (in larger pieces you may have more than one focus). So, I used heavier threads on Rudolph’s body and scarf. The body is done in Essentials blended thread. Although the stomach looks heavier, this is due to the stitch used. (But that’s another story!)

The antlers are stitched in Perle cotton and the nose in Neon Rays by Rainbow Gallery.

I used a mixture of stranded silk and Pepperpot silk for the scarf, starting with the pattern in green using Pepperpot silk. My intention was to stitch the entire scarf in the same thread. However, I picked a modified Soufflé stitch for the red portion and when stitching it using Pepperpot, the thickness of the silk overwhelmed the pattern. So, I adjusted and picked a 6-ply silk, plied down to 3 strands. And voila!

Of course, I had to experiment with the number of strands so that my stitches did not overwhelm the green, but still covered the canvas.

The sky is also done by plying stranded silk thread. Here I used 2 strands rather than the 3 or 4 we generally recommend for 18 mesh canvas. This pushes the sky into the background and makes the reindeer the focal point of the design. (You can also try this technique using cotton floss, and we’ll often pick cotton over silk because there are many more colors available in the floss.)

Finally, I added a bit of bling in the stars, on the swirls, and on the bottom – after all, it is a Christmas ornament!

Design : Starry Night – Rudolph by Danji Designs
Thread guide and suggestions – Patricia Dee – All rights reserved.

Shop Rudolph and other candy cane needlepoint designs by Danji.

candy cane needlepoint designs

Brenda Stimpson