Needlepoint is having a moment, and it’s no wonder. The old-school craft has gone modern, thanks in part to millennials and stitch clubs taking cities — and Instagram — by storm. They’re discovering what longtime needlepointers know and love: Stitching is best with friends. And highly therapeutic. Meetups are chatty and fun, and if you’re frazzled by the pace of life, you can literally stitch your cares away in regular sessions with your besties.
Bonus: You can needlepoint while you binge-watch your favorite TV series, listen to audio books, even wait in line.
Needlepoint isn’t wool thread, pillows and stockings anymore, either.
It’s belts, totes, wallets, coasters, trays, 3-D objects — whatever your imagination can dream up, says Mary de Souza, owner of Village Needleworks in Countryside Village.
De Souza was a youth camp counselor in Colorado when she was first introduced to needlepoint. She stitched a mountain scene. A hobby wasn’t born, but she did enjoy watching the canvas come to life. As a new mom, she cross-stitched keepsakes for each of her four children.
Needle and thread came out again years later when the kids started playing tennis. “Lessons and matches were high-stress; needlepoint helped,” she says.
With kids grown, de Souza parlayed her hobby into a business. The shop, in its 12th year, is a novelty.
“A store dedicated to needlepoint is becoming harder to find,” she says.
Every now and then, a customer will bring in a needlepoint project that mom or grandma started and they want to finish. Most customers are devotees of the hobby, eager to see what’s new.
De Souza and her staff offer plenty of inspiration in completed canvases throughout the store. A Chanel-inspired box for the fashionista; a colorful 3-D rooster for a lover of farmhouse style; a mod bird pillow for a mid-century modern millennial.
Groups of stitchers drop in throughout the week to stitch and share. A table by the window seats eight. “Sometimes we have to pull more chairs to the table,” de Souza says. Plus, there’s sofa seating for the overflow.
It’s not all women, either. Men are picking up the hobby, de Souza says, though none have joined the drop-in crowd — yet.
Back to the therapeutic nature of needlepoint. “We’re a support group for anyone who’s lonely or overwhelmed,” de Souza jokes of the informal stitching sessions. “We’re not licensed therapists, but we’ll lend an ear and give a hug.”
When you visit the store, she wants you to touch the merchandise. Shopping in person gives you a clear idea of the colors of threads, the size of the canvas and the intricacies of the design.
For beginners, stitch-painted canvases take the guesswork out of stitch placement. She advises starting with a canvas with large solid-painted areas calling for 13 to 14 threads per inch. A mesh with 18 threads per inch allows more detail in a smaller area and is more suited for an intermediate or advanced needlepointer. Generally, the more detailed the design, the more costly the canvas, de Souza says.
She’ll teach you the basics and promises you’ll see progress after just 10 minutes of stitching.
If needlepointing and sipping wine sounds fun, check out the newly organized Stitch Club Omaha on Instagram.com.