Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Camels, Needle's Eye, Whatever

"And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." --Matthew 19:24

I thought of the quote, not because of my financial situation, or because there are roaming herds of camels in Dallas (but there are in East Texas at the Blazing Saddles Ranch), but because I just ordered the last batch of tapestry wools needed to complete a needlepoint pillow.

I blogged earlier about a needlepoint canvas I will eventually have made into a pillow, one I finished years ago and stowed away, lugging it from apartment to apartment in its unfinished state. Within the month, I will finish another one, also a design by William Morris, on which I've been working for about 3 or 4 years, now.

It is the Hare Tapestry pictured above, and I've thoroughly enjoyed working on it, even if I tend to use more wool than the stitch guide says I should. I use a stitch called the Reverse Basket Weave, which looks exactly like Tent stitching on the front (diagonal stitches leaning to the right), but on the back looks like - you guessed it! - basket weaving. It provides a sturdier base for the canvas than other stitches and helps to hold the canvas' shape through repeated rollings and crumplings.

Unfortunately, the store where I originally purchased my canvas and tapestry wools is no longer in business. It was run by a wonderfully diminutive family, all of whom - husband and son included - needlepointed. They were the only shop in Dallas that carried the particular type of wools I prefer, Appleton Tapestry wools, which Queen Elizabeth II favors. They were also the only shop in Dallas where, when I underwent chemotherapy, the patrons did not comment on my odd appearance, and welcomed me with open arms because I was a fellow stitcher, bald head or no.

After my little needlepoint shop went out of business, I tried going to another shop, but the employees were frankly unhelpful, and I did not go back.

I cannot find any other shops in Texas that sell my Appleton Tapestry wools via internet, and so I ordered them from Carbondale, Illinois. Hopefully, I will have them within a week so I can continue stitching up a storm.

But once finished, my hands will be idle, and I'll have to find another piece of needlework. I have a few ideas - possibly turning one of my own photographs into a needlepoint pillow, which would be a mountain of work - but the biggest impediment at present is cost.

A good quality needlepoint canvas usually costs at least $100 (for a 12"x12" canvas), and the really nice ones are in the $200+ range, and neither of those numbers includes the cost of the wools, which can put the total cost well over $400 by the time all is said and done.

I found a website with absolutely beautiful canvases for sale, http://www.artneedlepoint.com/. I like it because it isn't cluttered with cutesy teddy bear needlepoints or Precious Moments kits. Most of its needlework is based on artists' works - Paul Klee and Edgar Degas both make appearances - or they're designed by the likes of Elizabeth Russell, whose name sends stitchers' hearts a flutter.

Anyway, I've found about twenty canvases I'd like to own, but they will undoubtedly have to wait until I'm employed, at the very least, or until one of the random holidays my mother celebrates by lavishing gifts upon my sister and I rolls around.

My mother has always been amazingly generous, celebrating Valentine's Day and Easter with the same exuberance she puts into Christmas, albeit on a smaller scale.

Or perhaps I'll cobble together something of my own design from the wools I have left from previous projects.

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