Still think needlepoint should only be allowed in homes of the elderly? Think again. Granny's favorite pastime has received a modern makeover, and even the youngest members of your family will approve. We probably have Jonathan Adler to thank for the resurgence of needlepoint's hip factor, but he's not the only one who's making cross stitch and embroidery seem completely contemporary. Keep clicking for six cool, crafty finds both you and your kids will love!
One of Jonathan Adler's new handmade needlepoint pillows features a famous quote from a British model: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Can you name the woman who coined the expression?
While most people consider crewel a style of needlework, the word crewel (or cruell) actually refers to the wool yarn, not the embroidery. While crewelwork was traditionally used with wool yarn, today it's used with a variety of yarns, from silk to cotton to even beads and feathers.
The popularity of crewel has waxed and waned over the past four hundred years, but one thing remains constant: It's a lovely form of decoration for your home, no matter what the century. See some of my favorites below.
The 12 varieties of velvet-backed Zodiac pillows ($98 each) feature wool needlepoint designs in fabulous '70s shades. I especially love the regal color scheme on this Gemini pillow. The product descriptions include astrological profiles — naturally! — so here's hoping your sign design suits your style. To see my five faves, read more
Jonathan Adler single-handedly made needlepoint cool again, and he's got me wanting to take up the hobby. If and when I do, you won't catch me needlepointing any cat motifs. Of course, my pattern will have to be hip. (Sorry, cat lovers.) I'm considering kicking off with a Hug Needlepoint Kit ($106) from former graphic designer Emily Peacock, which comes complete with a canvas, yarn, a needle, and instructions (a must) — essentially all you need to get your NP on! Well, OK, some patience and maybe a glass of wine may also be crucial . . .
I used to think needlepoint was a bit too stuffy and granny a hobby for Yours Truly, but I've been seeing so many fun and fresh needlepoint accessories lately, I'm reconsidering. I'm kind of thinking of taking it up! But don't worry, I won't buy a rocking chair or anything, I'll be the hip chick needlepointing on public transit while rocking out to her iPod. Or something like that.
Since you named Jonathan Adler your favorite product designer of 2008, and since Greek key patterns are perennially pleasant, I find it highly likely that Jonathan Adler's Greek Key Pillow ($82.50, marked down from $165), will meet your approval. The pattern is painstakingly embroidered in needlepoint, and its chic monochromatic colors will make it welcome in any home.
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
I was never fond of needlepoint; but I am always fond of anything the pioneer of Palm Peach kitsch Jonathan Adler does. These Jonathan Adler needlepoint eyeglass cases, $38, are fabulous. They come in other styles too, but this one is an ode to another thing I'm fond of: the theatrical rock band KISS. A crafty gift for yourself or others, these cases put needlepoint back on the cool map.