The Thread, Canvas & Needle Handbook for Needlepoint – Book Review

Originally posted 2011-01-13 07:10:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Susan Surgeon Roberts, self-published, 2007, $8.95

The question of what threads work with what canvases and what size needle to use are ones that perplex many stitchers. Another puzzler is how much thread do I need to complete a project. Susan Sturgeon Roberts (author of The Complete Needlepoint Guide) has created a helpful tool in this little book.

The book is essentially a number of tables listing threads from many manufacturers that will work on different mesh sizes of canvas from 3 stitches per inch to Congress Cloth. Many unusual mesh sizes of canvas are included and there are also tables for 7 and 14 count plastic canvas.

With stranded threads, such as floss, the number of strands is indicated. Roberts also indicates if the thread/canvas combination is best suited to long stitches. Not all threads are listed, but enough are so that this is a useful starting point for selecting threads.

Notice that I said “starting point.” While most of her suggestions are good, often she picks thread sizes or numbers of strands that most stitchers will find incorrect for stitching. For example she suggest Fleur de Paris’s Velour Fine Mesh, a discontinued thread about the thickness of Petite Very Velvet for 13 mesh, something that gives very thin coverage. Her thread size selection for Kreinik metallics, on the other hand, suggests threads that are way too thick. She suggests #16 Kreinik for 14 mesh, which is correct, but also suggests #32, a thread twice the thickness and way to thick for this canvas.

Your thread usage may vary, I know mine did, and you should make this book your own by noting your results.

Following the thread charts there is a useful chart of needle sizes, a listing of canvas colors by mesh and definitions of different types of canvas (some of badly out of date). The color listing is especially useful because this information can be hard to find.

The book finishes with tables and formulas for calculating thread use in Tapestry and Perisan Wool. This is also useful information but I wish she had given us a general formula, so that we could find amounts for other threads.

All in all, this is a useful book, one I would recommend with slight reservations. The thread world changes so quickly that most books of this type are out of date before they are printed. But, in the absence of other books with thread information, this is a good book to have.

You can find this book at many needlework stores or from her directly. Email her at

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