Collector’s Craft Book: Needlepoint Pillows
Needlepoint, favorite hobby of queens, Colonial housewives and every new generation of Americans, adapts beautifully to contemporary colors and modern design.
Here, in a simple, traditional stitch, are pillows to make for every room of your home.
How-to: Helpful hints on needlepoint
Needlepoint is done with wools on “Penelope” needlepoint canvas backing. When cutting your canvas, allow an additional 1″ to 3″ around the edges for shrinkage during working and blocking. After needlepoint is completed, trim unworked edges, leaving 3/8″ for binding.
Pillows such as we show are done with a half cross-stitch, in which you draw the needle through canvas at upper left of pillow; insert it into next mesh at right in row directly above, and draw it out through mesh below to form the first slanting stitch. Repeat, always moving one square to the right. Keep needle in a vertical position.
When a row is completed, turn work upside down and go to the right again. Make sure your pull is even, not too loose or too tight. It’s a good idea to have a needle for each color so you don’t waste time re-threading. To get interesting textural effects, use varying weights of yarn or double yarn in the same color. Actually any, except very fine, yarn may be used.
Since most of the pillow designs we show are composed of repeat patterns, they can be extended to any desired size. The “Fleur-de-Lis,” for example, could be worked in various sizes to cover the back, seat and arms of a piece of period furniture. Few handcrafts have the adaptability of needlepoint.
Suggestions for your handiwork are: Wall panels, framed samplers, mottoes for a glass-covered serving tray, needlepoint covers for brick doorstops, for benches and chair seats worked in fresh color schemes adapted to modern living.
Five of our pillows have a velveteen backing. “Sunrise” is backed with jersey. You could also use felt, or wool flannel, and finish the covers with a zipper closing.
When you finish a piece of needlepoint, it must be blocked. Turn it over on the wrong side and sponge until wool and canvas are very wet, or roll your work in a very damp absorbent towel and leave it there until well-dampened. Stretch piece into shape; tack it down on a board, using rustproof tacks, 3/4″ apart. Allow it to dry completely.
Before hemming and joining the piece to a fabric backing, you may want to press it. Cover wrong side with a damp towel and steam gently with a hot iron, never allowing it to touch face of work.
Pattern: Fleur de lis
Needlepoint pattern: Squares
These pillows are all made with the simple half cross-stitch. Sections of designs are shown in diagrams on squared paper.
To copy: Transfer diagrams, square by square, on 10 squares to the inch graph paper; each of the blocks equals one stitch.
>> Also see: Mary Tyler Moore’s needlepoint (1974)
Pattern: Polka dots
Needlepoint canvas backing, called “Penelope,” is available in 10 meshes to the inch or 1 mesh per stitch. Most needlework stores carry alphabetical letter and number transfers, so you can write mottoes in your own handwriting on the graph paper.
>> Also see: Antique needlepoint sampler
Patterns: Tiger motto & alphabet and numbers
“He who rides the tiger cannot dismount”