Alphabet Needlepoints

Alphabets are a popular needlepoint theme, particularly for children’s rooms. Often they are adorned with objects, one for each letter of the alphabet. In the needlepoint pictured above, the artist chose 26 members of the animal kingdom to accompany each glyph.

Other times, each letter varies in style or geometric pattern. See these beauties by Felicity Hall:

The letter stitchings look great as pillows, too. They are always wildly colorful and cheerful.

Have a look at some of Pepita’s Alphabet Needlepoint canvas designs, located in the Kindergarten category. The canvas pictured below, called Alphabet Pictures, is unique in that it features only pictures of objects — one for each letter of the alphabet — but no alphabet!

Alphabet Pictures Needlepoint Canvas

This is a really fun piece for young and inquisitive minds. They’ll spend entire minutes trying to identify each object and its matching letter. Click on the image to buy it at our favorite online needlepoint canvas shop.

The Duke Does Needlepoint

Marion Crawford was the governess of princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose (the daughters of the Duke of York) for 24 years, and wrote a memoir of her experiences. From “The Little Princesses“, pg. 36:

The Duke was astonishingly expert with a needle. He once made a dozen chair covers in petit point for Royal Lodge. I remember he got rather tired of filling in the background, so I obliged with that while he went on with the more amusing part of the design.

Ah, the pleasures of royalty. How many times did you wish you could simply summon a servant to do the boring parts of the canvas…

Welcoming with Needlepoint

Buried in the bottom of a story about President Barack Obama’s visit to Canada, we find this interesting passage:

Although there were no public events planned for Obama in Ottawa, about 3,500 supporters ventured to the snow-covered lawn on Parliament Hill in the hopes of catching a glimpse.
Vahid Saadati travelled from his home in Brampton, Ont., with a simple message. He was hoping to unfurl what he says is the world’s largest needlepoint: an eight- by five-metre creation that had the word “welcome” stitched upon it in 103 different languages.
“I hope they can at least let him know that he’s being welcomed by so much of the world,” Saadati said.
Definitely not the world’s largest needlepoint, but perhaps the world’s most welcoming one. We don’t offer a design that welcomes you in 103 different languages, but here’s one that welcomes you in traditional Hebrew:
You can buy it at this fine Judaica needlework shop among others around the U.S.A.

I Can Needlepoint

Needlepoint-kit-in-a-can: Burberry Barrette

We have developed a new line of products, and we’re calling it “I Can Needlepoint”. These kits are packed into these neat little cans, and contain everything you need to complete a stitched barrette or ponytail holder.

They come with canvas, needle, thread, stitch guide, finishing instructions, and hair accessory hardware.

Currently, you can buy them at this needlepoint store, where they set up separate categories for Barrettes and Ponytail Holders. Any other needlepoint shops looking to carry these cuties? They are easy and quick to finish, they’re inexpensive, and they look great – remember, needlepoint wearables are trendy again.

Is there anyone out there who wants to try them for free and post a review on their blog or website? Please leave a comment below, or send me email.

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