Thanks Larry and Mary!
In the end I went to the haberdashery in a department store and asked for their advice.
They recommended a pack of general purpose tough repair needles (hippo spears
) and linen thread. The thread was great because it matched the canvas exactly
I took my metal sewing thimble, and tried out a few different sizes of hippo spear needle on the canvas to see which one would work best... the thinnest needle began to bend quickly, so I picked the next size up which was spear-pointed like a leather needle.
Even so, it was the toughest repair job I have ever
done - my blood and sweat went into it, but no tears
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but the true test will be next Friday when we unfold the canvas and tension it around the frame, and of course train upon it
Fortunately my fingers have mostly healed and my thumb tips no longer feel like they've gone 10 rounds with a meat tenderizer...