Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Former Needlework and Crafts

Walking around to tidy up a bit this morning I became aware of how much needlework done by me and others I have on display.

In a "former life" I was a needlework junkie, that's for sure. I tried it all  -- or at least MOST of it. It was a challenge to learn as many of the crafts as I could.

That was then and then there's now. I wonder if my desire to do needlework shall ever return. During my recent downsizing/decluttering I have lingered over unfinished projects and supplies bought for endeavors never even begun. I wistfully think, "I should finish this one." 

But alas, I put it back and think "someday."

Should I ever decide to return to my needlework passion, it certainly won't be because I need a piece to display in the house. I thought I'd show you some of what's already here.

Canvaas Work/Needlepoint

This is one of my favorite needlepoint pieces. As often is the case, it was begun in the 1970s and completed in the 1990s. I have a companion canvas that I started -- years ago, of course -- and never completed. It would look great hanging alongside this one in the living room.

Close-up of the detail in the above piece.

Bargello was my "thing" in the 1970s. I couldn't begin to count how many pillow tops I made and mostly gave away as gifts. This is a detail of the work in the framed picture below.

The green is more accurately reflected in this photo than the blue-green in the detail above.

Another favorite. I love Oriental needlepoint.

Needlepoint bell pull hanging in the family room. 1980s

Detail of the bell pull.

Completed in the 1970s, when nasturtiums were my favorite annual to grow in the garden. 

Nasturtiums detail. 

Needlepoint picture, 1990s.

Needlepoint country scene by my mother-in-law, Rose Martel. 

Old woman at the spinning wheel, a needlework picture by Rose Martel.

Crewel Embroidery

I think this was my first venture into crewel embroidery. I first made a pillow of it and a few years ago, decided to have it framed.

Crewel embroidery/cross stitch sampler and tree of life, designed by Elsa  Williams. I always loved her designs and have several of her kits -- uncompleted of course!
Close up of my crewel embroidery work in the above sampler.

Another Elsa Williams design. I have the matching pillow top/stool cover that really would look nice displayed alongside this bell pull.

Crewel embroidery (one of four). Hummel figurine designs.The handwork was not done by me, but were gifts. 


A beautiful quilt that I pieced and mother and I hand-quilted. It's completed except for binding the edges. Why don't I just do that and call it done?

A "baby" quilt (in size). Patchwork from Laura Ashley fabrics. Still needs to be quilted. Maybe I'll complete it should a girl grandchild arrive one of these years!

My Christmas quilt.  1990s.

This is a "weird" project. Called Hawaiian quilting, I think. The crab-looking thingy is trapunto, where you slit the back lining and stuff with cotton and then restitch it. I don't like it so much, which is probably why I never finished it. Stitching a small section of the binding is all it needs to be complete. But what would I do with it???

Above and below, details of trapunto piece. 

A stylized flag.

A quilt storage cabinet hold many quilts mother made and gave me.
Counted Cross-Stitch

A gift from my sweet sister when we built the house in 1993.

A gift from my sister-in-law Annie.

Combination counted cross-stitch and some kind of paper-cutting.

Counted cross-stitch by Rose Martel

(This was mother's craft of choice. I can't even begin to tell you how many doilies and other crocheted things she has given me over the years. Drawers and drawers full.)

A pineapple design crocheted by mother

Christmas tree skirt around which I crocheted a border.

Storage cabinet where I keep crocheted afghans, mostly made by mother.
China Painting

I started china painting in the 1970s. This was my best piece.

Poppies in the above plate.

I tried china painting again in the 1990s. This dogwood plate is not nearly so nice as the poppies. I must have lost my touch!
I think that is quite enough -- no, more than enough - for today. And I didn't even venture into knitting, or show you the decoupage, or the ceramics.......

Tell me about your craftiness and what of it you display in your home.


  1. WHOA!!! That is some serious crafting!!! It is interesting how our interests change over the years though. Your china painting is beautiful.

    1. Heh-Heh. It's almost embarrassing the number of things I have. I do so admire china painting; so delicate and subtle.

  2. You have stitched some beautiful pieces over the years, Sanda. The first needle point is my favourite; just beautiful. By the end of your list I was smiling, then laughing, because I have a very similar haul of framed stitching, quilts, and other crafted pieces. And, like you, I am rather over it now. Recently I gave away a lot of unfinished cross-stitches and quilts to a craft group, just to clear the house. There are 3 half-finished quilts still languishing, but these days I have returned to dress-making. Maybe we all need a change from time to time. PS your china painting is gorgeous!

    1. Thank you, Patricia. Giving away some of the kits/projects not yet begun is something I will eventually do. I do believe we pass through stages in our interests and we should just go with what appeals to us now.

  3. I don't realize how beautiful all these pieces are in your house because I'm just used to seeing them! All SO beautiful, I love the china painting of the poppies and all the bargello is so pretty. The nasturtiums is very nice also, and the crewel/crossstitch tree of life is a favorite also. I don't believe you "need" to finish anything unless you have a real interest in doing it. BUT, you do such a great job.

    1. Thank you, Sissy. And you always inspired me because you did just beautiful handwork yourself. At least you could limit yourself to your chosen craft, which allowed you to concentrate on one type and produce all that beautiful counted cross-stitch you created.

  4. It is funny how we go through these passions for different things and then give them up completely - something I suspect we all do. However, you really do have a fine eye and have done some lovely needlepoint etc in your time. Heirlooms all of them.

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. Neither the daughter or daughter-in-law are interested in needlework, but I suspect they are eventually going to end up with quite a collection. Hopefully, they will appreciate it enough not to sell it in a garage/yard sale!

  5. Your needle point is beautfil, I love the choice of colours and motifs! Needle point is very popular in Slovenia but for some reason the motifs chose by most are either too cheesy or religious. This is probably why I never tried any.
    Since I prefer non ornamental crafts, my home isn't filled with any decorative work, other than a jewellery board filled with jewellery and a bird family made out of a pin cushion pattern I display on my mini shelves in the kitchen / living area

    1. Thank you, Anna. And your jewelry is beautiful enough to serve as decoration for your living space. Needlework is very relaxing, and I had thought I'd get into knitting this winter but have not done so yet.

  6. I feel so much better now, hahaha. I have a trunk of UFO's.
    Your needlework is outstanding and I'm voting for binding the quilt you and your Mother made. Maybe you could pass a few unfinished pieces you have lost interest in on to someone who would enjoy finishing them.


    1. UFOs - haha, that's a great way to refer to our unfinished projects. You are right, Darla, the quilt would take the least amount of time to finish. Maybe I'll make that my project for the rest of the winter.

  7. Omg. What an amount of needlework done. How on earth did you have the time to do all these art pieces?
    You are a busy woman.
    I agree with Darla above, finish the quilt, it is my favorite of all the many wonderful pieces you have made!

  8. I got an early start! I became interested in needlepoint in my 20s and rarely sat down without it in hand. One thing led to another and it seems I always found time to do the things I enjoyed. I have enough now and my interests have changed. Now I find I would rather read, write, take photos and entertain the dogs during my "spare" time. Yes, the quilt may get finished because it won't require a great deal of my time.

  9. Oh my gosh, you are so clever ! Just having made ONE of these would make me proud ; my favourite is the sampler with the tree of life. Thanks for sharing the photos of your beautiful crafts !x

  10. Thanks, Silver Bunny. Perhaps not clever, just driven. I like the Tree of Life in many mediums. You are welcome!


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