If you’ve never heard of petit point (pronounced peh-tee point), you’re not alone. As a crafts editor, I’m pretty hip to most kinds of crafts, but I had never heard of this technique until I came across a DIY petit point kit this week. After a bit of research, I discovered that petit point is a form of needlepoint similar to embroidery—and the centuries-old technique is making a big comeback right now.
Petit point is a form of needlepoint that’s smaller and more delicate than traditional embroidery, which means it results in gorgeous, intricate patterns. It’s been around since the early 1700s, popularized by the Austiran empress Maria Theresia, who was known to love the art form and practice it herself whenever possible. Over the centuries, the technique has been used to embellish bags, clothing, and wall hangings. And now, the craft trend is back—and we probably have quarantine to thank for the resurgence.
Over the last several months, people have been ordering more DIY kits than ever before to keep themselves busy while sheltering in place. In addition to needle punch art kits and gorgeous floral embroidery kits, we’re seeing dozens of DIY kits for gorgeous, intricate artwork you can frame.
While needlepoint and petit point are often thought to be the same thing, there are a few things that make petit point unique. Needlepoint and embroidery both use a tapestry needle to weave thread through a cloth material. If you’ve ever done a needlepoint or embroidery project, petit point will likely be pretty easy for you to pick up.
Needlepoint is typically done on single-thread canvas: Each stitch goes over and under this single layer. But petit point is more intricate: Typically, it’s done on a double-thread canvas and each stitch goes over one thread. This results in a smaller and more intricate pattern, which means there can be more detail and shading in the design.
While you can absolutely go out and purchase the materials needed for a petit point project (you’ll need a tapestry needle, canvas, thread, and a pattern), newbies will probably find it easier to follow a kit specifically designed for beginners. If you’re interested in learning how to do this kind of needlepoint, we’ve rounded up a few kits from We Are Knitters that teach you the basics and help you create a bright and modern wall hanging for your home. Each of these kits comes with a canvas, needle, thread, and detailed pattern and instructions to help you get started. The $85 price point is about what you'd spend if you purchased the materials individually, and you'll be able to frame the finished design as a large piece of wall art (each canvas measures 11 x 14 inches).
Flamingo Print Kit
If you're picking up petit point as a summer hobby, opt for a fun summer pattern to match. This design features 14 bright flamingos made from various shades of pink thread. The included pattern and instructions will help you place each stitch in just the right spot.
Buy It: Flamingo Petit Point Kit, $85
Alpaca Folk Print Kit
While petit point originated more than three centuries ago, today's patterns are anything but old-fashioned. This bright alpaca print is made with bright pinks and purples that pop on a gorgeous cream background.
Buy It: Alpaca Petit Point Kit, $85
Talavera Print Kit
The Talavera print is often found in Mexican and Spanish pottery, but we think it's just as gorgeous re-created with needle and thread. This kit comes with everything you need to stitch this intricate design onto a canvas to create a detailed wall hanging or handmade pillow as one reviewer shared! The detailed florals are reminiscent of snowflakes (especially when stitched in blue and white thread), so the finished product would make a sweet DIY Christmas gift if you feel like getting a head start on holiday projects this summer.
Buy It: Talavera Petit Point Kit, $85