Thursday, November 8, 2012

We Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Programming for An Important Message

This morning I have a very important message from a reader, which we need to take to heart.  Here is what Sharon  D. has to say.

"I read with a great deal of sadness about yet another needlepoint shop closing. Every few months or so, you sadly report the demise of another shop and the owner's dreams.

I do think the needlepoint community has some hand in this. I have been thinking about writing to you about this for a long time.

It has been my observation that the projects that are featured and getting all the attention on the various blogs are gorgeous works of art. I love looking at them and dreaming of the days when I would have been able to stitch something comparable and wishing I still could hold a needle in my hand.

However, they are almost always for the advanced stitcher. They employ complicated techniques and stitches. I am sure anyone who did not know about needlepoint and the joys of stitching would be totally overwhelmed by them and decide not to even give it a try.

In one blog sometime ago you dismissed an article about needlepoint in the NYTimes that showed a simple canvas with just tent stitches and humphed that there was so much more to needlepoint than that. Of course, you are correct about that. But think of the beginner.

I have looked at a number of NP shop websites and almost nowhere is there listed a class for beginners. The needlepoint community has gotten so wound up in creating more and more elaborate stitching that the future of this craft/art is going to be lost. The NP community needs to look to the future and make sure that the next generations are going to be able to continue with this wonderful art form.

Needlepoint and quilting came back out of the shadows at about the same time in the early '70s. I didn't know about the quilting but started stitching with enthusiasm back then. Now NP is a dying art, in my humble opinion, and quilting is thriving. Why? The quilting community has made a serious commitment to teach the next generation of quilters the joy of creating quilts. Every quilt shop has classes for beginners. There are videos available on the Internet on how to start making quilts. There are very easy patterns and instructions available. Beginners are welcomed and recruited. There are two sewing/quilting shows on PBS right now. I am aware of this because I have been making quilts for about 18 years.

Alas, the NP community seems to have gotten so caught up in making the next amazing creation that it appears no thought has been given as to how to recruit and teach beginners and ensure that the next generation will carry this art form forward.

I live in a suburb. In this whole area, which has a population of probably about 500,000, there is one tiny, and I mean tiny needlepoint/knitting shop. It is about 300 square feet and carries a very limited supply of threads and canvases. At least half of it is devoted to knitting. I think this is rather typical of a great deal of the country.

Long ago when I traveled, the first thing I did was look in the phone book for NP shops. I usually found one no matter where I was. That was how I met Loretta Spears. I can't do that anymore.

Anyway, that is my two cents. My favorite possessions are my NP pieces. They are the first things I would grab if the house caught on fire. So I am sad to watch this wonderful art slowly dying.

You are a very well known and influential person in the NP world. Please spread the word that new stitchers are desperately needed to carry on this tradition."

Sharon D.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at

A New Source For Blackwork Patterns

Mary Corbet has posted information about a new source of free blackwork patterns on her website. If you are a fan, or just want to try blackwork, here's the link to what Mary says.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at