How to Adapt Needlepoint – Step 7

Step 7 – Do the Layout of the Rug

Time for the final step before I start stitching. Early on I showed you a plan for the rug – just the bare bones of the layout following the layout of the original rug. Now it’s time to figure out where the motifs will be placed on the rug that I will be stitching. The original is quite complex and has motifs crowded into the various bands, sometimes putting two small ones on top of each other. I want to be a little more organized than that. Since I’m working on a smaller overall size, that will also limit how many motifs I can stitch on the rug.


I started with a large piece of graph paper with 8 squares per inch. Using four squares for one inch of the rug, I drew out the general layout so the rug will measure 13.5″ X 26″.  Then I got out colored pencils and started filling in the colors and some of the motifs. (I didn’t have enough variation in the brown colors, so I’m using an orange for one of the medium browns.)

Though I would like to sketch out the entire rug before I start, I haven’t figured out all the motifs yet, so this one is not complete. I’ll continue to work on it over the next week or two, but will actually start the stitching in another day or two.

DSC_0497This close-up of the beginning of the rug shows where I will start my stitching. I’ve figured out the beginning border using black Trio and it will have the very light beige Splendor stitched on top of it. The practice stitching for this looks pretty good. It will go onto the computer tonight. I’ll also put the large X box into the computer tonight. The background for the large Xs will vary across the row.

Other motifs that I have completed will go into the computer tomorrow so most of them will be done before I start the stitching. I won’t try to do the whole rug now, just the motifs on the computer. The whole rug will come later.

As I work on color decisions, I use the color stick you see at the top of the graph paper. I have actual samples of the threads that I will be using wrapped around a piece of cardboard and taped down on the back. There are six shades of brown (the background color is the third color from the left – Peanut Butter). There are two shades of yellow, a light green, and an off white and black that are not shown. The background is a medium color, so the motifs will be stitched using a combination of the lighter and darker browns, along with touches of light yellow, light green and off-white. Many of the motifs are repeated throughout the design, so the colors used to stitch them will vary. This adds a little more variety to the design. The other rugs that I’ve done were always done in bands that went across the entire width of the rug. This rug is different and is more of a challenge when it comes to layout. If I don’t like how one section is going, I may decide to take out a planned motif and put in another in its place. I don’t make ALL the design and color decisions before I start.

Like the Berber women who create the original rugs, I have an idea in my head about how I want it to look and I’ll make changes as I go to accomplish what I see in my head. The Berbers don’t have anything written down before they start working on a rug. Many women will work together to create a rug, but the person in charge is the only one who knows what that plan will be. Neighbor women, family, and even the husband of the designer will wander through the house while a rug is being worked on and give their opinions and suggestions, which may or may not be included in the rug. Wouldn’t that make things interesting?

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post on Saturday and show you how the stitching gets underway.


One response to “How to Adapt Needlepoint – Step 7

  1. I’m really excited about watching this one – and, as always, your history and process explanations make it come alive. Please sleep less and stitch faster

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