Friday, August 9, 2019

New to Needlepoint - Some Advice

Everyone seems to be discovering needlepoint which is great news (from someone who learned to stitch as a child). It's great that others are catching on.  Put down your phone, quit texting and learn to stitch. It's one of the most relaxing things I know how to do and you will create an heirloom that will long outlive you.  Plus it's fun.

So if you want to learn, are thinking about it, pondering, I am hoping that I can push you over the edge with these pointers.......

First of all, you can learn here.

(My Cabin Wreath)

1) Find a good needlepoint store - or two or three
A good retailer is worth their weight in gold.  Their advice is needed on selecting the right threads, finishing, ordering canvases.  If you don't have one locally you can order online or check out the stores when you travel, which is one of my favorite things to do in a new city.  Some good ones are (in Raleigh, NC but has a great website), Po's Point in Charlotte, NC, Chapel Hill Needlepoint in Chapel Hill, NC, Lycette in Palm Beach - just to mention a few.  If you see a canvas you like online, any retailer can order it for you but it may take 6-8 weeks or longer if it has to be painted.

2) It's expensive
Needlepoint is not an inexpensive hobby but it's a lot cheaper than owning a horse!  The finishing costs can be high, but you won't be pushing out a pillow a month. Ornaments can be expensive to finish but you are creating something that will last. Come to terms with what it costs. The canvases are painted by hand as well, which drives up the cost.

3) Start small
Pick out something easy to start with and a good retailer can assist here. Don't try something too difficult at first.  Here are some good examples...

This rainbow stag would make a great holiday pillow. It would be fun to stitch but it is not complicated.  It is also 13 mesh which is bigger - easier to see.  18 is smaller, harder to see, takes longer to complete.

An ornament or a door hanging is an easy project to start with like this cute one that I would hang on a door handle:

4) Boring canvases are boring to stitch
Look at the canvas when and if it is a boring pattern then it will be boring to stitch.  I try to avoid these at all costs.  Here are some examples:

This would not be fun to stitch.  While I love Ikat, this canvas would drive me nuts to needlepoint (and it would make a lovely pillow).

This is another one that I would not want to work on:

5) Think about finishing deadlines
It can take many months to get something back from the finisher.  If you are working on ornaments you typically should get them to a finisher by Labor Day but check with your retailer. So plan your stitching accordingly.  Nothing is fast in the needlepoint world.

6) Tackle more than one project at a time
You'll enjoy it more if you have a few projects going on at one time.  You may tire of what you are working on and want to pick up something else. I have 4 projects in the works right now.  If one is large (like a large pillow, a rug, a wreath, a handbag) you may want something to switch over to so not to get bored with one project. 

Other Pointers.....

You don't have to learn all those fancy stitches if you don't want to. I tend to be a needlepoint purist and don't enjoy all those different stitched but that is a personal choice. 

Your stash will grow larger and larger and larger......ask me how I know!  And they are coming out with new canvases all of the time now. 

You'll meet some fun people who also love to stitch.  Many cities now have stitch clubs.  Check Instagram for those.

You'll wonder how you ever tackled life without your needlepoint in tow.   And you spouse or SO will learn to sit quietly while you peruse the needlepoint stores in the cities you visit. Yes, they do learn.....

Keep your bag handy - you can stitch in the car.  It's great while waiting for anything (a delayed plane, a car mechanic, a day at the DMV, at the rail at horse shows, sitting in traffic).  Enjoy!!!!

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