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Category Archives: miscellaneous
It was such a wonderful surprise to get a phone call at Needlepoint.Com last week from Abigail Cecile, the newest canvas designer being represented by Fleur de Paris! I had been following her on Instagram ever since January Market earlier this year when her pieces debuted. Just like Lycette Designs and Tess and Thorn, Abby is part of a new young generation of designers taking the needlepoint industry by storm. She is a recent graduate of the Royal School of Needlework in the UK and her work puts a beautiful, fresh spin on a more traditional style of design. She is insanely talented- I know you all are going to love her work as much as I do!
First of all, tell us about yourself Abby! Where did you grow up, and how did that experience lead you to where you are today?
I grew up on a small hobby farm in the middle of Michigan. My childhood was full of freedom, adventure, and creativity, especially creativity. My parents indulged my love for arts and crafts with materials, tools, classes and books. I learned weaving, wool felting, fiber dying, photography, screen printing – whatever sparked my interest. By the time I graduated from high school, I knew that I wanted to make beautiful things for the rest of my life. Soon after, I discovered the Royal School of Needlework and the next thing I knew, I was on a plane to London to learn hand embroidery in a palace.
How did you end up at the Royal School of Needlework?
At a library book sale I discovered an old embroidery book by Erica Wilson. She writes about her education at a school called “The Royal School of Needlework.” I was fascinated. To me the idea of a school dedicated to hand embroidery was magical! I found that not only was the school still around but it was esteemed and well known in the UK. It seemed perfect and I enrolled a few months later. Everything just fell into place!
What was your first experience with needlepoint?
I stitched my first piece while studying Canvaswork at the Royal School of Needlework. It was a folk art rendition of my childhood home worked in cotton and wools. Out of all the needlework I’ve created it’s still my favorite piece.
How did you end up designing needlepoint canvases, and what is your process like?
A fellow student at the RSN painted canvases and ever since then I wanted to try painting one myself. When I finally got around to it, I had no idea what I was doing. Amazingly, my next door neighbor Valerie McAleenan also attended the RSN, used to own a needlepoint store, and is an incredibly talented and knowledgeable teacher and stitcher. I showed her my first canvas, she corrected my mistakes, and then mentored me through building my first collection.
I’ve found that creativity begets more creativity, so I usually have an idea lurking in the back of my mind. I’ll start with a loose sketch to get an idea of the composition. Then I’ll make detailed drawings (typically keeping elements separate), scan them into Adobe Illustrator, and arrange and resize until I’m happy with the final design.
Next I’ll create the color scheme. I use craft acrylics when painting a canvas and have a chip for each color. I’ll play with the chips until I find a scheme I like. Usually I’ll work with some kind of color inspiration (such as a piece of stationary, illustration, or work of art). Painting a canvas is time consuming, but it can be relaxing, too! I’ll listen to an audiobook or podcast while I work.
What inspires you?
I’m very inspired by historic needlework and design. It can be so beautiful, even though created hundreds of years ago. Most (though not all) of my work is rooted in that history–especially the history of folk art and Jacobean crewelwork. But I’m twenty five, so I’m also very aware of trends in color and theme. Since I draw inspiration from both the historic and the modern, I hope my designs appeal to modern women and millennials. At the same time I hope they are truly beautiful and have longevity.
When you’re not painting and designing embroidery patterns, how do you like to spend your time?
I used to sew and quilt a lot, but I’ve been trying to get away from hobbies that involve even more stitching! I love to cook, especially Mediterranean food. It’s creative but in a completely different way from needlework. I also love to read. Though you can’t tell from my blog or social media, I really enjoy camping, folk and bluegrass concerts, and general adventuring with my family.
Happy Small Business Saturday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!
This is just a short post to let you all know that Needlepoint.Com is offering free shipping all weekend long on all online orders in honor of Small Business Saturday!
Additionally, new markdowns have been added to the sale page. Here are a few of my favorites:
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Happy Stitching!
Hey everyone. Happy Sunday! It’s a very exciting day in the needlepoint community, as this is the weekend of Destination Dallas Market- a huge “cash and cary” needlepoint trade show down in Texas. The Kirk & Bradley and Burnett & Bradley girls (Needlepoint.Com‘s sister company) left Raleigh last Thursday and send me this picture of their room at the show. Doesn’t it look dreamy?! So much needlepoint for sale!
Even though I’m not there to shop this weekend. Melissa and Nancy (Needlepoint.Com’s store manager and shop owner!) are there taking care of business. They’ve been hard at work picking up tons of new items that will be hitting the sales floor over the next couple of weeks. If you’re in Raleigh, be sure to drop by and shop our new arrivals for yourself.
Since Destination Dallas is closed to the public, I’ve collected a few of my favorite new designs that have been released this past weekend. Here they are for you all to see!
Remember Kirk & Bradley’s famous Travel Round Series? Well, Vernon has done it again! This weekend K&B released their newest Sporting Round Series. They’ve got all tennis golf and horse enthusiasts covered. Wimbledon, Royal Ascot and St. Andrews are the first in the line, but rumor has it there may be some American sports destinations making an appearance in the future.
Everyone loves the snowmen that Pepperberry Designs is so well known for. But how about these new penguins. I think they’re precious. (I think I may have to stitch that one with the candy cane and the top hat- he’s just too cute!)
She also debuted a brand new artist this show: Este MacLeod. Her work is very folksy and the colors are wonderful and rich!
I’m sure you all saw Lycette Designs new color ways of her Staffordshire Dogs last weekend in our giveaway. Jessica’s designs are so fun and colorful… I still can’t decide which is my favorite!
Jessica also released this beautiful new blue and white seashell canvas. It pairs beautifully with her green and pink coral canvas (pictured below with her precious pup!) Those of you who know me, know that I’m a total sucker for anything blue and white- so timeless and classic!
Thought these new hearts from AT Needlepoint were cute. Love the pink, white and blue ones… summery and patriotic!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great Labor Day Weekend. I’ve got a funny little blast from the past for you all today!
My parents are currently moving out of our childhood home. My parents bought this house together the year I started Kindergarten. Of course, it is full of memories…
As my parents sort through their basement and attic, every once in a while my mom sends a box of things she thinks I might like to hang on to for the future down to North Carolina. Well, turns out she stumbled upon my first needlepoint canvas ever!
Needless to say… perhaps not my best piece of work ever haha. Funny thing is that I’m sure my mom and grandmother bought it for me at Needlepoint.com. As you can tell the canvas is not in the best shape… Edges are unraveled… It’s stitched in DMC 3 and Paternayan Wool… I vaguely remember spilling a glass of iced tea or something on it at one point (Yikes!)
In my defense, I was also probably only about 9 or 10 years old when I started it. Who would have thought that more than a decade later I would be working for the same company that started my passion for needlepoint?
I had a pretty good laugh when I opened up the box to find this but I wanted to show you all this canvas today to bring it all back to the beginning. I’m sure you all can recall the piece of needlepoint that got you started. Maybe your mom taught you to stitch, or maybe it was a grandparent or a dear friend. Even though some people may look at this canvas and think that it belongs in the garbage, I just can’t quite bring myself to toss it out!
James and I were lucky enough to be able to attend the Fort Bragg Major League Baseball Game on July 3rd! Although we didn’t originally plan on going, we were able to snag some extra tickets from will call at the last minute! Surprisingly, we had really awesome seats. We sat right there in the third row behind the first base, instead of up in the bleachers like we had anticipated!
The Marlins/ Braves Game was the first professional sports game ever played on an Active Duty Army Base. There was such a strong energy throughout the stadium, as the game was played, and many soldiers were recognized for their service and accomplishments. After all, there is nothing more American than baseball on the 4 July weekend! Although I’m not a huge sports fan, it was an amazing experience to be able to be able to share in a little bit of “history in the making!”
In honor of the event, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite baseball canvases with you all, today on the blog:
Happy Weekend everyone!
Exciting news to share today… we got a puppy! Meet Charlie: our six week old Lab/Golden Retriever mix. Such a sweetie. He came home to us this week and we are already so in love with him!
For those of you who are curious, he’s a rescue pup from Peak Lab Rescue in Apex, NC. We cannot say enough wonderful things about this organization. All dogs are placed in foster homes until they find their forever home. Charlie and his four siblings were being fostered on a horse farm in Southern Pines with their mom, where they got lots of fresh air, personal attention, and had boundless room to play with each other!
Charlie is named for the Charles River in Boston. It’s right on the Boston University Campus, where I went to school. James also rowed there with the West Point Crew Team a number of times. We have a lot of happy memories together in Boston- so it seemed like the perfect fit! “Charlie” is also the letter “C” in the Army Phonetic Alphabet- so the name has lots of appropriate ties to our life!
He’s really been a surprisingly easy puppy to train so far- he almost slept through the night last night, and is already learning his name. He’s definitely a true lab at heart, because we can hardly keep him away from the water! We put his water dish down, and he drinks for a minute… but then before you can blink an eye, he’s got his front paws in the dish, then his back paws are wet too… and then the whole thing is flipped over on our kitchen floor, and he’s rolling around in the water! (Obviously a habit we’re going to want to break… but it’s the funniest thing to see!)
We can hardly wait for all the walks, belly rubs and games of fetch in our future! Thanks for rescuing us, Charlie- we love you!