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Waste Canvas

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Various Counts of Waste Canvas

Waste Canvas

Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Description of Waste Canvas:

Waste canvas is a grid that is held together with a water soluble glue. Waste canvas resembles the canvas used for needlepoint. It is available in various fabric counts, typically 8.5, 10, 14, and 18 squares per inch. A blue thread is often woven every 10 stitches to help with counting. This gridded canvas is called waste canvas because the fibers are temporary and are pulled out after the stitched design is complete.

Why to Use Waste Canvas:

Waste canvas is used to stitch on non-evenweave fabric. Stitchers use it to aid in stitching on clothing, tote bags, quilts, and other non-evenweave material. The grid guides stitch placement. After a design is completed, the grid is moistened and removed, leaving the finished design in place.

How to Use Waste Canvas:

  1. The canvas should be cut slightly larger than the finished design size of the design to be stitched.
  2. Mark the center of the waste canvas with a small piece of floss or a permanent marker.
  3. Attach the waste canvas by basting it onto the pre-washed fabric.
  4. Stitch the design.
  5. When the design is complete, remove the basting. Moisten the waste canvas grid and remove it, pulling each strand with tweezers or by hand.

Tips for Using Waste Canvas:

  • Use a crewel needle instead of a tapestry needle.
  • You may want to baste a piece of interfacing on the back of the fabric for additional support.
  • Stitches should "hold hands." There should be no gaps.
  • Stitch into the middle of the square formed by the grid of the waste canvas.
  • Take time to position your stitches carefully when working with waste canvas.
  • The canvas should be moistened, not doused with water. Too much water may actually make it more difficult to remove the waste canvas grids.


Waste Canvas Placement:

Care should be taken when basting the waste canvas on an item that will be worn. Use pins to help mark the center of the area you will stitch to match it to the center of the canvas. Make sure the canvas is placed exactly to ensure stitching success.

More Waste Canvas Tips:

Readers Respond: Working with Waste Canvas for Cross Stitch Projects

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