What to Expect From Your First Needlepoint Class

When blizzard Jonas came to town a few weeks ago, it majorly disrupted my weekend plans. I had been looking forward to attending my first needlepoint class for ages so I relieved when it was rescheduled to later in January! Of course, that meant that I ended up doing a four hour needlepoint class and a two hour cake decorating class on the same day. Kind of exhausting but totally worth it.

Since I went into my first class totally unaware of what to expect, I’ve decided to share some insights to better prepare other newbies.

Pick Your Canvas

In the needlepoint world, classes revolve around a specific canvas. When a needlepoint store wants to teach a class on a canvas, the instructor picks one that they have a finished example of, as well as a stitch guide.

Waste Knot Needlepoint, my local needlepoint store, offers a new class every few weeks. They always post the canvas for their classes on Facebook so when I saw this Mrs. Claus ornament posted back in December, I signed up right away! This was the first year I hosted my family over the holidays, and after decorating my tree almost entirely with cheap bulbs from target, I knew I had to up my ornament game.

Bring Your Tools

When you show up to class, your canvas will be ready to go on stretcher bars. You’ll also be given a stitch guide, needles and all of the threads you need to finish your project. What won’t be waiting for you is anything else extra you usually use. So, if you are used to stitching with a stand, a light, scissors, a needle magnet or magnifier, bring those with you and give yourself a few extra minutes to set them up.

Get a Taste for Stitches

Once you are all set up, the real fun begins! The instructor is there to walk you through the stitch guide and spend just enough time on every section to feel comfortable to finish them on your own. This means that when you walk away from class after four hours, you are not going to be anywhere near done with the canvas but you’ll have started a little on every section.

These shades of pink worked wonderfully for shading Mrs. Claus's face

These shades of pink worked wonderfully for shading Mrs. Claus's face

Know Your Abilities

Classes are for stitchers of all skill levels but being a complete beginner would make keeping up challenging. I consider myself to be a pretty good stitcher but even I had some hangups when it came to my new nemesis: french knots. I took some advice from the instructor and set myself up to practice french knots on a blank canvas after class. Knowing your abilities will help you make the most of your time during a class. When you recognize your strengths, you can move past the stitches you are confident with and spend time on the more challenging stitches for you.


Besides a scattered handful of friends who stitch belts for loved ones, I don’t have a group of fellow needlepoint-ers to sit and stitch with. Attending a needlepoint class gave me the perfect opportunity to sit and chat with a group of women who also spent a considerable amount of time (and money) on needlepoint. I didn’t leave with a new best friend but it’s always so nice to meet other people with similar interests. And then talk about them for hours.

So there you have it, insights from my first needlepoint class. Now that I’ve taken one and know what to expect I’m excited to finish up my ornament and jump right into my next class. Have you taken a needlepoint class? What did you wish you knew before going to your first one?