A hundred years ago, Walter P. Sharp, president of Whitman’s candies, was looking for a name for a new sample box of assorted chocolates when — voila! — he looked on his living room wall and saw a framed needlepoint sampler created by his great-aunt. He thought the cross-stitch design of birds, animals and flowers on the linen backing was so delightful that he borrowed the name and design idea for the sample box.
Now try and top this: a needlepoint creation made by a lass back in 1807 was just sold at auction for more than a million dollars! Here is the Art Newspaper with the story:
The top lot was a Burlington County sampler, 1807, by Mary Antrim of a home with farmyard animals selling for $1.1m
And here is Jamie Frevele:
Back in 1807, when a young New Jersey resident named Mary Antrim embroidered the farm scene pictured above, the thought of something like this — a children’s needlepoint sampler — being sold at a fancy auction for just over a million dollars would have been preposterous…But that is exactly what happened — someone bid on and won this 19th century farm house scene, shelling out $1.07 million to own a piece of folk art a kid made to pass the time 200 years ago.
This is some serious needlepoint appreciation, folks. How much will your needlepoint masterpiece sell for, 200 years hence?
The gifts we thought would be favorites were ignored after the first 5 minutes. [The top favorite gift was] a needlepoint kit for our 8 year old niece. The needlepoint was of a horse, and before the other kids had finished unwrapping, she was fireside asking our youngest for directions on how to get started.
It is a charming little design – see photo – and I could have predicted that it would be the winner. Easily.
I had a few ideas for a needlepoint app, and instead of stuffing it all into a bloated comment I decided to do a full blog post here. A needlepoint app which could do the following things would be awesome:
- Text Charter. This app would accept a string of text, such as “Happy Birthday Mom,” and would create a chart that shows how to stitch it. You would have a choice of fonts, text effects (like drop shadow or outline), spacing, and you would also specify the dimensions of the area in which it needs to fit. This would save a stitcher loads of time (anyone who ever needed to do this knows how time-consuming and error-prone it can be).
- Thread Matcher. You snap a picture of a canvas using your phone with the onboard camera. The software would instantly inventory the colors used (up to a limit of, say 40), and then make suggestions of thread you can use to stitch it. You can control choices by fiber type, budget, and it would keep track of your previous projects so it matches thread from your stash. This app could make money by offering to purchase an entire thread ensemble on the spot.
- Stitch Charter. Building on the previous item, you would use this app to select areas of the canvas, and designate which stitch you will use. You would choose from a little window of stitch choices, and drag the right one over to the canvas photo. Then the app would create a chart based on your selections, and it would also estimate how long it would take, based on your stitching habits and history.
I have some other ideas, but let’s get an enterprising developer started on these. The stitching world is waiting!
Read this engaging blog post about a ten-year-old girl who stitched a needlepoint canvas, but didn’t quite get it right. She wants her Mom to spring for the finishing cost. Mother finds herself in a moral dilemma (basically the definition of motherhood).
What do you think? Should Mommy lay out the 50 bucks or so to make it into a pillow, imperfections and all? Should Mommy painstakingly rip out the stitching and show her how to do it right?
A while back, I posted about my Hebrew Stitch Charts, available online at JudaicaNeedlepoint.com. That page has attracted a good deal of traffic. The charts have been downloaded close to 2000 times since then.