The Stories Behind the Stitches

closeup1As an avid needlepointer, I take a great interest in the motivation of a stitcher.  I know what motivates me; needlepoint relaxes me, and I feel creatively rehydrated from it.  But what’s it like for others out there?  I have been inspired by many of my customers, and here I share their stories. (Please note that names have been changed.)

Adam orders needlepoint kits for his wife.  She suffers from  Alzheimer’s, and she stitches for ten hours each day!  Needlepoint is therapeutic for her.  He is a devoted spouse, and we all have a lot to learn about loyalty from him.  When his wife loses threads or needles, he patiently and lovingly reorders them.  He pays for express overnight shipping if need be to keep her from getting agitated.

Mary is ordering a canvas to keep her brother’s hands busy.  Her brother has finally quit smoking after being addicted for 47 years!  He now needs something to keep his hands busy, so she is buying him a needlepoint as a gift.

Mrs.B, a kind women in her early seventies, lost two adult daughters to cancer a number of years ago.  She stitches daily.  She feels needlepoint is her only solace and helps her get through each day.

Mrs. E.  insists on leaving heirlooms for her children.. She feels her children will not fight over her jewelry; they will argue over who gets which needlepoint.  Her finished pieces are heirloom quality as I have personally oohed and ahhed over them.

Lisa stitches instead of eating junk. She keeps her weight down this way.  When she needs a canvas, she is always in a rush.

Tina  needed a needlepoint shipped overnight as well. She was leaving on a vacation and would not step onto the airplane without a project to keep her occupied.

My kids’ orthodontist told me that his wife also needs a needlepoint to stitch while traveling by airplane.  She uses the metal piece on top of dental floss to cut her thread in lieu of taking a scissor (TSA Safety) along.

Barbara prefers spending her money on new needlepoint projects rather than paying  her shrink.

Mrs. S. is a senior citizen and grandmother many times over.  She is retired and spends her monthly stipend from her retirement account on new needlepoint canvases. She mastered the technique of many different stitches and is on an advanced level.  She also does the finishing on her own.  She learned how to sew as a youngster.  When she finishes a project, she gives it to a grandchild as a gift for a special occasion.

Susan suffers from bad back pain and is currently recovering from surgery. Her stitching is stunning; she stitches wedding gifts for her relatives in Israel.

Jennifer brought along her dishes to match the color of thread exactly to coordinate her dining room.

Another customer confided in me, “Renee, I stitch because I’m tired of waiting.  Of waiting for buses and trains, of waiting at the doctor’s office, of waiting until I have free time.”

Last week I  mailed a needlepoint kit to a maternity ward in a hospital in Honolulu.  A customer purchased it for an acquaintance stuck there on bed rest.

I love to hear the stories behind the stitches. Enjoy them too, and feel free to share yours.







Mother’s Day Gift Ideas


Another year has gone by. Mother’s Day is around the corner. Those of us fortunate enough to have a special mom, mother-in-law, wife, or grandmother in our lives need to come up with gift ideas.  I am confident the special woman in your life owns enough mugs and perfume. I imagine she will not appreciate extra calories from exotic Belgium chocolate.  I am sure she will be offended if you buy her oven mitts or a new apron.  If you still want to be on speaking terms, do not buy a new food processor or iron.  Take if from me.  I am a daughter, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, but I am also a mom a few times over.  What I would like most is a new needlepoint canvas designed in 2015.  Okay, 2014 is also fine.  But I don’t want anything old and outdated.  I prefer modern, unique, classy, and original.  I adore bold colors yet something strikingly feminine.  I seek uncomplicated, stress-free solace in my needlepoint choices.  I would even consider something personal like a customized design.


The Bride’s Present for her Groom


Today a lovely young bride brought in her finished Afikoman Bag for us to photograph. She is married less than a month, and this is a surprise Passover gift for her husband to use at their first Passover Seder together.  Her grandmother is an old friend of mine and actually purchased the needlepoint canvas for her granddaughter as a graduation gift.  The young woman rapidly completed the afikoman bag.  When she got engaged, she then bought stitched a coordinating matzoh cover and pillow set. They are all ready now, and Passover is next week.  What a heartwarming gift!  All those hours she spent stitching and stitching…. I almost wish I can see the groom’s face when he gets his handmade heirloom-to-be.

The Dress that Broke the Internet



So there’s this dress that broke the internet with a debate.  Most see it as blue and black while others view it as white and gold.  Aha, a controversy. This sounds familiar… When I create a new needlepoint design and match colors… well, let’s just say that people see things differently. For example, DMC 834.  Is it gold, or yellow, or green gold?  Which one is navy – 939 or 823?  Is 318 grey or blue?  And, no, I don’t mean dye lot. I am not even going there. That’s another debate altogether.

It’s fascinating to examine identical finished needlepoint canvases that were sold at two separate shops.  Most of the time, they will resemble one another, but not always.  The way the stitcher “sees” and interprets the design may be so different that the finished designs look like distant cousins.


Friday the 13th?


Do people still believe that Friday the 13th brings bad luck?  Personally, I think February 29th is worse.  If you are born on the leap year day, you hardly ever get to celebrate your birthday properly.

According to snopes, Friday the 13th can be traced back to many generations ago. Individuals avoided all sorts of activities on that day.  It is considered an “ancient superstition.”   Some declared Friday as a day of bad luck in general.  Read more at

Excerpt from snopes:

“Friday was also said to be a particularly unlucky day on which to undertake anything that represented a beginning or the start of a new venture, thus we find references to all of the following activities as endeavors best avoided on Fridays: Needleworking: “I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking, that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or to remain idle for a day.”   (1883)”



Eugene Chernin is Closing


I’ll miss you, Eugene Chernin.  You believed in me when I had this tiny business all those years ago.  You gave me wings to fly and soar. You gently taught me the ropes about pearl cotton #3 and #5.  Recently you opened a website, and I was able to place my orders online.  Nevertheless, there was always someone warm and friendly to talk to.  I knew my orders were taken care of.  You had that old fashioned charm.

So thank you, my friends George and Mark!  If you ever need any needlepoint canvases, you know where to find me.  Good Luck and like you always said, Zei Gezunt!