Needlepoint Clowns Abound

Needlepoint Clown

Clowns are a popular needlepoint theme. Pictured above is a sweet, tired-looking clown, which I discovered while browsing Twitter. A search on Etsy yields half a dozen others. Ebay lists a whole caboodle of cotton clowns at any point in time, such as this well-dressed jester:

Ebay Clown

Ebay Clown

Here’s a cartoony character from Flickr:

Check out Pepita Needlepoint’s collection of chucklers. Here’s a picture of finished piece Down Clown, a sad little happy guy, which was displayed at Kreinik’s booth at a recent show:

See more clown canvases by visiting Pointseller’s Surely You Jest collection.

Bringing Needlepoint On an Airplane

Will security allow you to bring your needlepoint project on to an airplane? The TSA states the following rule for Transporting Knitting Needles & Needlepoint on their website:

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.

Items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside which cannot go through the checkpoint and must go in your checked baggage.

From the wording “circular thread cutters” it appears that the TSA is zeroing in on those cute pendant things. I don’t see how they could be used as a weapon, except maybe against inchworms.

Still not clear though, is whether I can bring along a regular pair of scissors, or at least a little child-safe one. Is that a “cutter with a blade contained inside”? What sort of cutter doesn’t have a blade inside? A pair of pliers?

I found this document (pdf file), listing changes to the rules made in 2005, one of which is allowing small scissors on to aircraft. Here is the relevant paragraph:

TSA now is modifying the interpretive rule to allow passengers to carry metal scissors with pointed tips and a cutting edge four inches or less, as measured from the fulcrum, through a passenger screening checkpoint and into the cabin of an aircraft. Metal scissors with pointed tips and a blade length greater than four inches will continue to be prohibited.

TSA now is modifying the
interpretive rule to allow passengers to
carry metal scissors with pointed tips
and a cutting edge four inches or less,
as measured from the fulcrum, through
a passenger screening checkpoint and
into the cabin of an aircraft. Metal
scissors with pointed tips and a blade
length greater than four inches will
continue to be prohibited

From various discussions around the ‘net I gathered that pendants and nail clippers might be confiscated anyway. Apparently, TSA agents get twitchy when they see anything with a sharp tip. But safety scissors would probably pass.

Another idea many people suggested was bringing along dental floss dispensers, and using that little blade in there to do your snipping. (Interestingly, I find that DMC floss is actually a pretty good substitute for dental floss, when you’re in a pinch.)

Needlepoint and Mathematics

I always thought needlepoint had a lot of math in it, with its formula for forming smooth bezier curves out of 13-count bargello stitching, it’s pattern tessellations, and of course 3-dimensional color space. But it turns out that at least one mathematician, Daina Taimina, has actually written a whole book about it, Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, recipient of the Diagram Prize for year’s oddest book title. Prize overseer Horace Bent said:

The public proclivity towards non-Euclidian needlework proved too strong for the competition.

The title of a recent press report on the matter led me to believe that the book amply covers needlepoint’s intersection with geometry. Sadly, however, it seems that the book deals chiefly with crocheting, and there’s scant mention of actual needlepoint. Of course, crocheting is a perfectly fine needleworking pursuit. Why, some of my best friends are crocheters.

Read more about math and fibers in a Wikipedia article on the subject. And here is Daina’s own website.

Microsoft Office 2010 and Needlepoint

Microsoft Office 2010 will undoubtedly increase productivity in offices worldwide. Apparently, Microsoft is keen on getting consumers to recognize that Microsoft Office is useful for everyday at-home tasks, too. According to blogger Mary Jo Foley, quoting David Webster, the chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group:

People are defining work pretty broadly these days, Webster said during a meeting I had with him this week, to include everything from volunteering at events, to creating needlepoint pattern designs, to preparing a PowerPoint toast for a friend’s wedding.

(Emphasis mine). I assume she’s referring to Visio, which is a tool I use myself to chart out needlepoint stitches.

I’m happy to see needlepoint design figuring prominently in conversations regarding productivity in the home. Who knows, maybe Microsoft will come out with a photo-to-needlepoint-chart conversion tool. Microsoft Stitch 2010?

Presidential Needlepoint

Needlepoint portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Needlepoint portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Shirley Kerstetter has stitched dozens of portraits of American presidents. They are meticulous, 24-count, multihued masterpieces. She put them all together on a massive quilt, pictured in the article about her monumental work.

Among other ideas, she mentions this:

“I collected fabric for the presidential quilt for years,” Kerstetter said. “Every time I saw a patriotic fabric, I bought it. I stashed it.”

Takeaway: always be on the lookout for stuff you can use in your stitching.

While on this topic, I’d like to call your attention to Pointseller.com’s Famous People category, where needlepoint canvases depicting Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama can be purchased for your future quilt project.

Needlepoint canvas of Barack Obama

Needlepoint canvas of Barack Obama

Truckers Working The Needle Route


Kevin Abraham-Banks, a Sioux Falls, S.D., trucker, likes to knit while passing the time on the road. Here he makes a sweater for his wife.

Kevin Abraham-Banks, a Sioux Falls, S.D., trucker, likes to knit while passing the time on the road. Here he makes a sweater for his wife.

Truckers, too, need something with which to spend time while waiting for a job. And apparently, for many truckers, needlework fits the bill nicely. It’s relaxing, and productive, and convenient.

Great quote:

“The fact that you can take strands of thread and basically make something out of it, that’s awesome I think,” he said. “It’s pretty cool stuff, man.”

OK, so it’s not macho. No need to share your secret hobby with the gang:

“In the truck stops, it’s usually a bunch of guys watching football,” he said. “If I sat down with my knitting, I think there would be some funny remarks.”

Go on and read the whole article.