Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons for Beginners






My World of Needlework


Lessons for Beginners


Four years ago I wrote a series of Lessons for Beginners; now I find I've changed my mind a bit and in my lead-up to Catherine the Great, I'm rewriting the lessons a bit.


The most current lesson is on Queendom Website's Home Page and on this page.


You will find links to the former lessons below.

Taking Your First Stitches, Starting and Ending Threads


To Start a Thread

Cut a length of Pearl Cotton about 24”,

then thread your needle.

Slide the thread through the eye of the needle

so that one end of the thread is very short

(about 2”), the other end about 22”.


Make a knot at the end of the 22” length of



Now look at the graph on the right.

For needlepoint instructions, pretend each

graph line is a canvas mesh and each white

box is a hole in the canvas.


Measure about 2” from the right edge of the canvas to find the spot on the graph marked AA.

Needle down through a hole in the canvas at AA and the knot will rest on top of the canvas.


Count the lines on the graph, then the same number of canvas meshes and bring your needle up through the canvas hole at 1.

Count the graph lines up to ‘2’ then count the same number of canvas meshes and take your needle down through the canvas hole at 2.


Count the graph lines to 3, then the canvas meshes, and needle up at 3.

Needle down at 4,

needle up at 5, then down at 6,

needle up at 7, then down at 8, and so forth.


You have just created a ‘waste knot’ at the end of the thread and stitched your first few

stitches on the canvas.  More about a ‘waste knot’ in a minute.


To End a Thread

When you take your needle down through

the hole at 12, turn your work over, and on

the backside, slide your needle through the

back of the stitch from 12 to CC.

Clip then thread at CC.


You have just ended your thread.

Notice: no knot involved in ending the



Back to the Subject of Waste Knots

You began by making a knot at the end of the thread, going down through the hole at

AA and up at 1.


Notice the knot on the top of the canvas at AA;

notice the long thread underneath the canvas from AA to 1.


When you finish the row, cut off the knot, turn the canvas over and you will find that the thread from AA to 1 is now loose. Thread it on your needle, then slide it through the back of the stitch, from 1 to 12. Clip off the excess thread tail.


The knot has disappeared.

You’ve wasted it, haven’t you; you cut it off and threw it away.

Hence the name ‘waste knot’.


The thread from AA to 1 is called ‘the waste knot thread


A More Economical Waste Knot

Let’s try another swatch of the same stitch.

Thread the needle as before and make a knot at

the end of the longer part thread.


Waste knot at BB, up at 1, down at 2,

up at 3, down at 4, up at 5, down at 6 and so



The waste knot is at BB, the waste knot thread

is behind the canvas from BB to 1.

Notice that you are stitching over the waste knot  thread, therefore catching it behind your work.

This is called ‘Waste knot thread in the channel of your stitching’.


When you reach the end of the row, the thread is already caught

under your stitching, therefore saving you the step of ending the thread by threading it on the needle again and sliding it under the stitch.

For Beginning Needlepoint Students, here is a reworking of my series from the past.

Lesson #4 The First Stitches: Starting and Ending Threads

Learn about 'Waste Knots' in this lesson