Text and Photos by Chris Christen
Needlepoint has come a long way since those first slanted stitches used by ancient Egyptians to sew their canvas tents. What became the basic “tent stitch” now has hundreds, if not thousands, of varations.
“The more experienced, the more daring a stitcher typically becomes,” says Julie Wynn of Lewis Art Gallery and Personal Threads Boutique in Omaha. Her mother, gallery founder Carolyn Lewis, was a “demon ‘needlepointer.’” Pillows were her passion, as evidenced by the masterfully stitched collection Julie inherited.
In contemporary needlework, fibers make the pieces interesting. While tidy wool thread was the standard for Grandma, modern stitchers are gaga over more interesting silk, velvet, fur, ribbon and feather-like threads.
“There’s a canvas for every season and every occasion,” Wynn says. “Needlepoint is easy to learn, too. I have only seen one person fail at needlepoint. And she was just not destined for handiwork.”
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