Itching to Stitch

House of ReamyI’ve loved the needle arts since I was a little girl when my grandmother first taught me some basic embroidery stitches. Since then I’ve completed dozens of cross stitch and needlepoint projects—most of them from kits or books. My largest and most ambitious project to date is a cross stitch rug that is approximately 3’ x 5’. The rug, which depicts a Celtic lion and lamb, is designed by Alice Starmore and is featured in her book, Celtic Needlepoint (Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1994). That rug hangs on a tapestry rod above the TV in our living room presently, and it’s one of my most treasured pieces of personal art.

Last year when my husband and I got married, I decided I wanted to stitch a personalized tapestry to commemorate our marriage. After weeks of toying with design ideas, I ultimately settled on the design pictured here. I purchased the pattern for the center monogram from New York Needleworks, and then I added our name, marriage date and a border using PCStitch. It’s my first semi-custom design, and I’m dying to finally begin stitching.

It took quite a long time to gather the materials necessary to complete this project. It’s been many years since I completed my needlepoint rug, so I was blissfully unaware that the original manufacturer of Paternayan wool (my favorite needlework yarn) had gone out of business not long after I purchased the wool to complete the rug project. As luck would have it, however, a new manufacturer, Saco River Dyehouse, recently began reproducing this gorgeous wool. I managed to locate a wonderful local retail supplier for the new Paternayan wool. The timing of my itch to stitch a new needlepoint project and the renewed production of my favorite wool is truly remarkable. I was amused to discover that nearly all of the wool in stock at my local supplier was from dye lot 001.

Needlepoint is sort of a bastard art in the United States. It’s far more popular in Europe, so it’s not always easy to locate materials here in the US. If you or anyone you know is looking for a reliable source for stitching supplies, I highly recommend A Stitching Shop. Ask for Christine and tell her I sent you. She caters to several stitching disciplines, she carries a fantastic range of products, and her customer service is truly exceptional.

Life is short. Do something you love, no matter how long and hard you must search for the perfect materials. The challenge of locating the materials to stitch this very personal piece makes this tapestry even more special for me and my husband. Now that I finally have all the materials I need and I’ve nearly finished graphing the canvas, I can hardly wait to start stitching.

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