I won't bore you with my New Year's resolutions because quite frankly I don't make them. But, if forced to make one, I might say it would be to make the time to do more needlepoint. I've been working on the same canvas now for three years- seriously. It's an Erica Wilson design called Erica's Diamonds, and the reason that I chose it was because it was surprisingly modern looking. Do you know how hard it is to find needlepoint designs that aren't cutesy nor overwrought traditional? My only hesitation about Erica's Diamonds is that it's a riot of color, and I haven't a clue where I'll eventually put it once it's been made into a cushion. But still, once I start something, I must finish it-even if it's three years later. So, I will finish this darn thing in 2011.
What I would absolutely love, and I really mean love, is to find canvases with designs that are chic or modern or unique. To me, the ultimate needlepoint designs must be those geometric masterpieces by the late Sol Kent:
Now this is my kind of needlepoint. It's sophisticated and the colors are subtle. But the important thing to note here is that Kent created his own graphic designs. I suppose that he couldn't find contemporary looking canvases either.
The late Birmingham designer Joe McKinnon took up needlework late in life. He worked on pillows, game table covers, and runners like those, above. I don't know if he designed these particular examples himself or not. That Chinese fretwork pillow would be perfect in my home.
The first time I came across Lou Gartner's book on needlepoint, Needlepoint Design, was about seven years ago. Well, I found it so inspiring that I just knew that I would run out and start stitching up a storm. But once again, I realized that I would have to paint my own canvases or something, so that deterred me. Still, aren't his designs absolutely amazing? Obviously, this man had sophisticated tastes and would not have settled for anything twee. In fact, he likened needlepoint pet portraits to bronzed baby shoes. I knew that I liked this man.
The conclusion that I have come to is that I simply don't have the time to create my own designs and put them down on a canvas. And then there's the actual process of stitching too which takes a lot of time- or at least, it does for me. So, I either need a Lou Gartner or Sol Kent in my life to whip something up for me at my request, or I'm going to have to wait until my retirement years to do it all. Unless, of course, any of you have any better ideas!
(Kent photos from Veranda, Fall 1994, Cameron Wood photographer; McKinnon photos from an old Southern Accents; Gartner photos from Needlepoint Design by Louis J. Gartner.)