Roundup: Needlepoint

Historically, needlepoint may be thought of as women's work, but needlepoint was practiced by some totally fierce women. My favorite mythological needleworker is Penelope, who, in Homer's The Odyssey, fooled all of the men around her for three years with her needlework. Penelope's husband Odysseus was out on various adventures and presumed dead, and her new suitors were put off by Penelope's promise that she'd choose one of them after she finished stitching her father's death shroud.


The clever Penelope, who was convinced that her husband Odysseus would return (as he well did, just 20 years later), wove during the day, and then unwove each day's progress at night. Now that's faith.

To see some modern-day examples of needlepoint, read more.

Needlepoint has been referenced in historical texts for thousands of years, and has been seen more recently in movie remakes of Jane Austen novels. A type of canvas work made with yarn or thread, needlework is handstitched into canvas mesh into designs or patterns. Because needlepoint is stitched on canvas, it is generally more durable than many other needlecrafts, which makes it perfect for furniture. Today, there are a number of needlepoint styles available for the home, including pillows, ottomans, and rugs.

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