Embroidery Canvas

Example of DMC embroidery canvas. Example of DMC embroidery canvas.

Embroidery canvas is an open-weave canvas, especially suitable for various types of decorative needlework, including counted thread embroidery. It has been used since the early seventeenth century and became especially popular in the nineteenth century with the advent of Berlin wool work.

Counted thread embroidery is sometimes called tapestry, hence embroidery canvas is sometimes being called tapestry canvas.

Embroidery canvas can be made of cotton, flax, hemp, jute, silk and wool, or a combination of these fibres. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, most forms of canvas were made from cotton. Canvas has an open, even weave appearance, with large spaces between the warp and weft threads. Canvas is normally described according to the thread count per inch (sometimes called mesh count or holes per inch). Sizes vary from 5 to 28, with the higher count indicating a finer canvas. In the nineteenth century much of the canvas was made in Britain and this historical fact has encouraged this system being adopted even in those countries using the metric system.

Most canvas is sized with starch to make it stiff. The degree of stiffness can vary considerably.

The main forms of embroidery canvas are:

  • Single-thread canvas: an open-weave canvas with single warp and weft threads. Also known as flax canvas, mono-canvas (USA), plain canvas.
  • Interlock canvas: a twentieth century invention whereby paired warp and weft threads are twisted around each other when they intersect (mock-leno weave).
  • Double thread canvas: an open-weave canvas whereby the warp and weft threads are used in pairs. Also known as Berlin canvas, Penelope canvas.

There have been numerous regional and trade names for embroidery canvas, especially in the nineteenth century. Some names are now obsolete or have been replaced by other names, others date from the late twentieth century. Some of the most commonly occurring terms are: antique canvas, bolting, check canvas, Congress canvas, Cordova canvas, cotton canvas, English canvas, flattened French canvas, flax canvas, French canvas, German canvas, Java canvas, mosaic canvas, rug canvas, sampler canvas, Sudan canvas and waste canvas. Some ground cloths, notably aida and plastic canvas, are often called canvas, although they are not technically canvas.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 26 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 18:47