Designer Rug Blog - Interior Design Inspiration

How Needlepoint Rugs are Handmade Using a Painted Needlepoint Canvas

Posted by Abid Ilahi on May 18, 2017 5:59:00 PM

It is hard to imagine that in this day when most things are made by machine a 9'x12' Asmara Needlepoint rug  has 1.5 million individual hand made stitches (1,555,200 to be exact). The only people who are not surprised are needlepoint hobbyists who know how much time it takes to complete just a few inches of petit point (a late 19th century French term meaning ‘little stitch’)let alone a large room size needlepoint rug with millions of stitches and hundreds of colors! Today we pull back the curtain to reveal how needlepoint rugs were made at London's famous Royal School of Needlework and at the Asmara Needlepoint Studio in China.

How Needlepoint Rugs are Made 

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Needlepoint rugs are made by hand with a sewing needle and wool thread which is hand stitched on an open grid cotton fabric called a canvas. The wool stitches cover the entire surface of the cotton canvas which then becomes the needlepoint rug. Each hand sewn needlepoint stitch is very sturdy and millions of needlepoint stitches together make a highly durable needlepoint rug.

 

(Short on time? Click here to buy Needlepoint Rugs)

 

The Needlepoint Pattern is Painted on a Canvas with a Fine Mesh 

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A butterfly has been hand painted on a needlepoint canvas with a fine mesh made of strong cotton threads. The artist has carefully painted several different shades of blue, brown and red. The needlepoint embroiderer will find wool yarns that match each of the shades and then create needlepoint stitches one by one by hand until the entire surface of the canvas is covered by wool stitches which becomes the surface of the needlepoint rug.  Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

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The needlepoint embroiderer stitches the pattern first, and then the background.

Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

 

The Pattern is Hand Drawn on Translucent Paper

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The artist may consult historical documents for inspiration.

Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

The Floral Needlepoint Pattern is Transferred from Drawing Paper to Canvas

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The artist will transfer the pattern from the paper on to the canvas.  

Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

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The artist mixes up paints to create the exact shades required by the painting.  

Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

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The artist either finds yarns that match the colors of the painting or the colors will be custom dyed. The needlepoint embroiderer on top of the painted canvas.

 Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

 

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The pattern must be painted on a canvas that is completely flat. The hand iron in the background is used to take out wrinkles in the canvas to ensure the pattern is not distorted.

 Image courtesy The Royal School of Needlework, London.

 

 

(Short on time? Click here to buy Needlepoint Rugs)

 

 

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yarns-in-many-red-shades-in-asmara-rug-workshop.jpg

Yarns in many shades red, rose and coral in the Asmara Needlepoint StudioEven though the needlepoint design work room carries a large range of pre-dyed colors, Asmara dyes new custom shades for new needlepoint designs.Photo © Asmara, Inc.

 

first-Bergamo-needlepoint-rug_sample-being_made-in-Asmara-Design-Workshop.jpg  

A test sample of the Bergamo needlepoint rug being made in the Asmara Needlepoint Studio

Photo © Asmara, Inc.

 

large-needlepoint-rug-being-made-by-hand-in-asmara-workshop.jpg

Several embroiderers working as a team on a large floral needlepoint rug in the Asmara Needlepoint Studio. The needlepoint canvas is rolled on two long poles and the area to be worked is stretched tight to create a flat working surface. The finished areas are kept covered with a white cloth to keep it spotless.

Photo © Asmara, Inc.

 

Buy Needlepoint Rug

You may also like:

Where to Buy Needlepoint Rugs: 9 Top Sources and 17 Decorating Tips  

Are Any Needlepoint Rugs Durable Enough for Active Rooms? 5 Tips

 

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 10, 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 

Tags: needlepoint rugs, Rug School, how needlepoint rugs are made

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