Basic Preparations for Canvas Work

To begin canvas work, you must first prepare a piece of canvas large enough to receive the design. ‘Large enough’ means the finished size of the design plus a margin of at least 5cm along each edge. When you are working with an uncharted design, finish size equals the dimensions of the drawing you will follow.

When a design is charted, finished size depends upon the number of canvas threads called for by the chart in relation to the threads per inch in the canvas. If the canvas is too narrow, lengths can be joined to get the necessary width. Make a pattern of the prepared canvas – it will be need when it is time to block the worked canvas.

Placing the design on canvas – method 1
This design transfer method places both the shapes and the colors of the design on to the canvas. The stitches are then worked right over the painted design. This method is recommended for use with any uncharted design, especially one that uses tent stitches only.
Before a design of this type can be transferred, both the drawing and the finished size of the canvas must be equal to the finished size of the item for which the canvas work is being done.


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To transfer the design to the canvas, only use waterproof coloring pens or paints. If you are absolutely not sure about any pen, do not use it; colors that are not waterproof are likely to run while the worked canvas is being blocked. Use the painted canvas as a guide to calculate the amount of thread that will be needed.

Placing the design on canvas – method 2
This method of transfer puts the lines of the design, but not its colors, on the canvas. It is recommended for use with any uncharted design, particularly one calling for some ornamental stitches.

Both the canvas and the drawing of the design as prepared as for method 1; if ornamental stitches are being used, the name of the stitch is noted in appropriate areas on the drawing.

To transfer the lines to the canvas, use markers that are waterproof and neutral in color. As you work an ornamental stitch area, modify the size or shape of the area to conform to the space needs of the selected stitch.


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