I’ve been doing a bunch of needlepoint recently. I started on Aida with embroidery floss, but the coverage wasn’t great.
So I took the plunge, switched to yarn and 15ct canvas, and kinda loved it! It really plumps up and fills the gaps a lot better than you would think. It is definitely a different beast than embroidery floss though, and there was a definite learning curve before I got comfortable.
First of all, it’s meant to be used all in one strand. I imagine you could separate it if you really wanted to, but you would end up with a fuzzy mess, I think. This means that you are trying to fit a fluffy, huge piece of yarn through the eye of a needle. A large needle, yes, but still a needle. So what do you do? Use a tiny piece of paper!
I found that receipt paper worked best, since it is really thin. Cut a short strip (about 1.5 cm by 0.5 cm,) fold it over the end of your yarn and push the paper through. I find that I can use each piece a few times before it tears or gets too folded to go through easily.
The other thing I learned (and I learned it the hard way) is that if you cut your strand too long, eventually it’ll wear through and just rip. The yarn is not as sturdy as embroidery floss, and the harder canvas is definitely harder on the fibers than fabric or aida would be. It’s really annoying to be stitching along and feel that snap! that indicates that your thread just broke and you now have to go back and tuck a raggedy end in somewhere… You’re better off working with shorter lengths of yarn (about the length of your arm usually works), no matter how tempting it is to work with a super long thread. It’s just not worth it.
Finally, I learned that my daughter loves yarn. Does she love it more than embroidery floss? I don’t know. But she’ll collect my off cuts and my skeins if I am not careful and drag it everywhere. Every. Where. Sigh. 😉