Before I got into this cosetta nostra, this tiny thing of ours, I had always wanted to do needlepoint and never had, mostly because I didn't have a needlepointing mother or grandmother to teach me. My grandma taught me to roast a chicken and make incredible oatmeal cookies and my mum taught me how to operate a Bunsen burner and make bread, but my life was void of needlepoint.
One of the reasons I wanted to do needlepoint was because one of my favourite characters (Georgie Pillson) in one of my favourite series of books (the Lucia and Mapp novels by E.F. Benson) is always working on some frustrating bit of petit point and I loved Georgie so I wanted to be just like him :)
Getting into the dolls' house hobby was a great excuse for learning the basics of needlepoint, especially since we were starting with a castle which clearly needed tapestries!
I taught myself from diagrams and YouTube videos, although I've never seen a diagram that really makes sense of basketweave stitch! I had to puzzle over that one quite a bit before I got the hang of it. (Basketweave stitch is great for covering large areas of background without pulling the needlepoint out of shape).
I was learning needlepoint with the Knitwits, of course, but most of the Knitwit girls started with a big advantage: their mother. She's an extraordinarily talented needlewoman, whose work is practically perfect, front or back. The girls definitely take after her :)
My own work isn't flawless, it certainly isn't the same on the back as it is on the front, and it's not going to win any prizes anywhere, but I now find it incredibly enjoyable, relaxing and satisfying to stitch pieces in 1:1 scale as well as 1:12 scale, and I do get better with practice!
If you've never done needlepoint but would like to try, a small project like a cushion is one of the very best ways to get started. It's very, very easy, and something like 22 ct canvas (that's 22 stitches per inch) is small enough to get some detail in your work, but not so small it will drive you crazy with the tiny stitches!
You only need to master one stitch to start: the continental stitch or tent stitch. When you've got that, go and work out the basketweave stitch and you're all set!
(Maybe we should have a needlepoint tutorial? I know there are a lot of stitchers out there, and I'd love it if some of us put our heads together and came up with a really simple way of explaining the craft to others. If you know of good links to resources or videos for beginnings, maybe you could suggest them in the comments, below?)
With that in mind, here's an early Christmas present for those of you who do petit point in 1:12 scale, or who would like to try!
I've always loved Bokhara patterned rugs and cushions, and in the course of stitching some for the dolls' house came up with this one of my own.
This stitches up very quickly on 22 ct canvas and only uses five colours of cotton floss. As always, you can vary the colours, although these warm tones are very traditional.
Here's a link to a jpg file of the whole chart.
Please make as many as you like for yourself or for gifts, but not for commercial purposes without asking me first :)
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