How to Use Waste Canvas

When you go to a yarn store, you may see some canvases which have extremely thin threads. This is known as throw-away or waste canvas. The purpose of waste canvas is to create needlepoint stitches on a background of regular fabric. Woven yardage usually does not accept needlepoint stitches. Often, the weave is not correct.

To use waste canvas, place the canvas where you would like to have the stitches, and tack it down with white sewing thread.

Using the canvas threads as a guide, you will then stitch through both the canvas and fabric.

When you have finished stitching your project, immerse the entire piece in water. The canvas will soften. It will want to pull apart-but do not panic! This is just what you want. Very carefully, pull the canvas out of the stitches. This takes some time, but the patience is worth the result.


Here, on the right, you will see a close up of needlepoint stitches on a woven shirt. The stitches were created with a fine DMC pearl thread.

A word of warning! Never use waste canvas for mono, interlock or Penelope canvas. The canvas threads are too thin and will not have enough starch to hold it properly straight. Waste canvas is just that. It is for a temporary grid on a permanent ground. It is meant to be thrown away after stitching. Never let a shop owner tell you it will be ok to substitute for another canvas. You will be wasting your time and money on something that will not hold up in time.