A reader wrote in after inheriting some unfinished needlepoint from her grandmother. She’s wondering how to find the mesh, so she can finish it up.
It’s reasonably easy, find a tape measure of something clear that has a square inch marked on it. Somewhere away from any edges count the number of threads in one inch. That tells you the mesh size.
Alternately, do the same thing but on a stitched area and count the stitches.
This is only an approximation in the case of older needlepoint because often it’s in sizes we don’t see anymore.
There are a couple of tools that will do this without counting for some mesh. The Mesh Minder (pictured above) has areas marked out with grids for 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18 mesh. Place it over the unstitched canvas and see what matches. It also has a nice little chart printed on it showing how much Persian wool needed to stitch an inch.
There is also a stitch/thread ruler that allows you to measure and see how many threads are in a distance. You would find the scale where your canvas threads hit most closely and that’s your mesh.