Getting Crafty: Needlepoint Edition
I've mentioned in previous posts that I crochet and needlepoint. These hobbies are therapeutic, great for sitting in the car waiting for kids, and make meaningful gifts!
It is around this time of year that I usually switch from crochet (a winter hobby) to needlepoint (my summer hobby). For whatever reason, though, I spent all winter on a very detailed needlepoint piece, and never picked up a single skein (ball) of yarn!
Here it is, waiting to be framed:
It reminds me of a trip we took to Maine before we had kids! I would love go back, and bring them with us in a few years, so until then--this is a great reminder of the fun. I tried a variety of new stitches on it, so it took longer to complete than I anticipated. I'm calling it my "COVID Project," because I spent almost the entire pandemic working on this.
If you're interested in getting started with needlepoint, you should really see if you have a shop in your town or city. Needlepoint is unique in that it's difficult (though not impossible) to purchase online. The really special canvases can often be purchased only through artist trunk shows at your local shop, and the store staff will then help you find all of the threads to make it an heirloom piece!
I personally recommend starting with a keychain or ornament. They require the least investment of time and money (needlepoint is an expensive hobby!), and will allow you to determine if you enjoy it.
When you get to your needlepoint shop, you'll want to pick up a canvas (the design) you'd like to stitch. There are so many options--sports, abstract, floral, travel--the designs are nearly limitless.
Select the threads you'll use to stitch the design. Materials include cotton, wool and silk, and vary in price. Later, you can venture into fuzzy threads, glitter and even beading!
I would also suggest getting a needle-minder to keep track of the needle so it doesn't fall into a couch cushion or the floor of your car (trust me, I've learned from experience). Your shop will have some, or you can look on Etsy for these.
Last, but not least, I love to use waterproof bags to store my various projects in. Your shop may have some, or you can order these from Amazon. They help keep your materials together and they are easy to throw in a large purse for when you have a little downtime in the carpool lane.
In summary, here are the items you need to get started:
While in your local shop, you should ask for a guide to the continental tent stitch. For the neatest looking and longest lasting projects, you'll want to learn to do this correctly. Here's a handy backup if you need a little reminder! The staff can also show you how to get your thread started and likely provide other tips! They may even offer a beginner's class.
When you've completed your design, you will need to return to the store to have it finished. This can get really pricey. They will have to send your design to an individual finisher who will complete the project by hand. If you're feeling a little leery about such a big investment, you may want to ask about self-finishing projects like keychains, bookmarks or coasters. Those canvases may cost a little bit more initially, but you can complete them at home, and will not have to return for additional finishing.
There are lots of great resources out there to get you started:
- Instagram (check out #needlepoint)
If you determine that needlepoint is for you, here are a few more of my must-have items.
- lots of scissors (one for each project bag, and some for around the house)
Let us know if you're a current needlepointer or considering a new hobby! There are so many fun projects for you down the road--belts, pillows, stockings, trays, and more. Next up for me is a second belt for my husband; he loves their durability and the classic style.
Let me know what questions you have, and I'll do my best to "point" you in the right direction! Get it?
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