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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Waste Canvas

Ever see a t-shirt, quilt or even a baby's bid with a cute design cross stitched on it and wonder how it was done? Sometimes the design is pre-printed or stamped on the material. If not, there is a wonderful product called "waste canvas". Waste canvas is a grid of thread held together with a starch glue agent. It is used as a guide material for stitching on non evenweave type fabrics (like a t-shirt), so that you can stitch neatly and maintain the correct size of the design and then remove the waste canvas to leave only your cross stitched design on the fabric.

To use the waste canvas, first find the centre of the canvas by folding it in half and then half again. Mark the centre lightly with a pencil or a single cross stitch. Next, attach the waste canvas to your fabric with a tack or running stitch along the edges of the canvas. Now you can stitch your design through the waste canvas and through the fabric beneath using the squares of the waste canvas as a guide for the cross stitch, as you would do with an evenweave fabric like Aida cloth. Make sure that the points of the crosses are touching as any gaps will look unsightly.

Once you are finished cross stitching, you are ready to remove the waste canvas. First, remove the stitches that you put in to hold the waste canvas in place and then dab or spray the area with water. Water is used because the waste canvas is only held together with a starch based glue and the moisture will dissolve the starch. This then allows you to pull out the waste canvas threads one at a time, either by hand or with tweezers. If you find that you have stitched a bit tightly over a strand, just cut either side of the waste canvas thread, so that it is shorter and easier to work with, and remove the canvas thread as normal.

Now you are ready to cross stitch any design on any type of fabric. What a great way to personalize your next project and make it even more special!

To see more information on cross stitching, including free patterns and framing ideas, please visit

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