My sister and I are addicts. I get excited by a new canvas like most people get out of buying shoes. I have more needlepoint than I know what to do with. I have so many ideas, and love the high of the new canvas. It doesn’t help that I own my own wholesale line and so does my sister. Its like being addicted to drugs and being the dealer at the same time, but I digress. Danielle and I have the same habit, we will get a new canvas, kit it, then “mark” it. Meaning we start it and stay with it shortly, then the guilt sets in. I think that is why I write this, to get rid of some of the guilt. Healthy, yes, no? oh well, back to marking more territory.
The First Christmas I spent with my husbands family after we got married, I was dismayed to see these cheap dime store stockings–Not everybody has their own personalized needlepoint stocking? I thought . It was as appalling to me as watching their table manners for the first time. These stockings (circa 1971), still hanging to this day, were designed and stitched by our Aunt Charlotte–ahh, see how happy we look and pretty cute too I might add. Fortunately for me, my grandmother had already started one for my husband, but sadly it was the last one she ever finished. We continue that tradition by doing one for each of our children, and will for their spouses when they get married, and their children and their children’s children and so on and so on…The key to an heirloom stocking, what else BASKETWEAVE. I am also glad to report my husband has since learned table manners
My first needlepoint was “The Goldfish” by Henri Matisse adapted to needlepoint by Magic Needle. I was art history major, so naturally my mother thought this would be a perfect first project. I was entering in uncharted waters with a handpainted canvas only stitching on plastic canvas before this, but my mother being my mother, had full confidence in me that I could handle this. I didn’t know where to start, so I started everywhere. With no instruction I continental stitched my way around the canvas. Frustrated that the talents of past generation needlepointers in my family didn’t flow through me it went into the top drawer of my dresser. There it sat, for over 3 years and a move, in that same drawer. I had finally had enough and decided this was not going to beat me so I asked my mother for help. She explained the basics of basketweave, scooping up the stairs and down the pole. In her mind this was all I needed to know. Because I am her daughter, I argued with her explaining the continental stitch was easier and if it was good enough for plastic canvas why was it not good enough for this. Her response has never left me, “because its not and and I can’t believe you just don’t see it’ (the up the stairs, down the pole thing) . I did finally “see it” and finished the canvas, 4 years and 7 months after receiving it, and it is proudly displayed in my living room.
My sister and have been in the Needlepoint industry for over 15 years. The name pedestrian stitcher comes about from our retail days. We owned a Needlepoint shop in the Cherry Creek district of Denver. Colorado, not being a needlepoint hub we had to explain to a lot of people what needlepoint was. Our mission was to get people to love needlepoint as much as we did. The feel of the canvas in your hand, the motion of basketweave and the beautiful end result. We always thought handpainted canvases looked better with minimal embellishment. We never have, nor never will stitch on stretcher bars, thus pedestrian. We enjoy the basics. We enjoy stitching everywhere and with our families and friends around us. If it becomes a chore we give up. This is generational for us, my mother once took a class where the canvas was placed on roller bars, she loosened it up so she could scoop. We will never tell a person how to needlepoint, just to enjoy needlepoint and make it yours, after all, you paid for it and its going in your house