Fabric and threads

What kind of fabrics and threads are are used in dollhouse needlepoint kits?


Samples of fabrics

Miniature needlepoint is normally defined as being worked on anything from 18 count fabric or smaller. The kits I produce use fabrics from 18 count canvas, through 22 count canvas, 28 count evenweave, to 32 count silk gauze. The ‘count’ means the number of threads in each direction in a linear inch.

Although the fabric is now usually sold in metres (in the UK at least), it is still always described as `18 count’, ’18 hpi’, or ‘no.18’, based on Imperial comparisons. For instance, 10 count fabric has 10 threads vertically and 10 threads horizontally to the square inch, and therefore 100 holes per square inch. By contrast, 18 count canvas has 18 threads vertically and 18 threads horizontally, and so has 324 holes per square inch. The finer the count, the smaller the holes, naturally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a finer fabric will be more difficult to stitch on than a coarser one with a lower thread count. The secret is in your choice of needle and threads.

THREADS: Crewel wool

The threads needed for miniature stitching can be quite varied – what needs to be borne in mind is the relationship between the thickness of the thread you are stitching with and the count of the fabric. The carpet kits that I design are made to be stitched using 2-ply Appleton’s crewel wool (cut as it comes off the skein, in one foot lengths to prevent excessive wear) on 18 count canvas. Using tent or basketweave stitch (see the needlepoint stitches tutorial) this gives good coverage.

Anchor cotton thread


However, on the 32 count silk gauze, as used in the bellpull designs, one strand of Anchor 6-stranded cotton gives perfect coverage – a much finer finish for a much smaller item.



Silk thread



On the finest silk gauze (40 count and finer), rayon or silk thread works best.