The Effects of Climate on Needlepointing


Furniture Collection

Quick — which NFL team that shares a stadium with this year’s Super Bowl winner is going to be wearing their jerseys with numbers stitched in Paternayan wool?

While you’re mulling it over, the cat and rooster chairs in my latest pics (check out the new Sedentary Delights page under Finished Models) demonstrate how much can be achieved with the two very simple stitches:  the Continental and the Basketweave.

The hand-carved wooden chairs are from the Philippines.  They were being sold a few years back by CanvasWorks, but I don’t think you can get them anymore.  I was very fortunate to find the perfect gimp and fabric to match both canvases.

These pieces may be small, but they took a long time to stitch. The overall look was achieved with Paternayan 3-ply Persian, which is best for projects that involve chairs or rugs. There’s a whole discussion we could get into about the historical importance of New York’s Paternayan Brothers, as well as, more technically, the ins and outs of plying (the separating of a strand into mother, baby, and grandmother plies) — but I will not go down that road here.

Suffice it to say that, now, Paternayan wool is very hard to come by indeed, due to the New Zealand drought.  New Zealand is actually where the wool comes from, despite the fact that the yarn is known as Persian wool (possibly because the Paternayans started out in the Persian carpet repair business).

Alas, kiwi land has experienced disastrous weather for the last few years, including devastating droughts.  At this time, Johnson Creative Arts, which acquired Paternayan sometime in the early 80s, is sporadic in terms of the availability of their yarn.  It’s a shame, because it was the best.

On an even more serendipitous note, I recently found out that the Paternayan Brothers’ last business address was on New York’s Upper East Side, where I lived for five years in the 90s.  Their place was at 112 East 95th St., and was probably in the basement of what is now an apartment in a beautiful brownstone right next to Hunter College.

It is a small world.

By the way, about that NFL team.

It’s probably only urban legend that Woody Johnson, the current  owner of the Jets, is going to give some new business to Johnson Creative Arts, whose name is nothing if not evocative of Johnson and Johnson, the source of Woody’s wealth and fame.  And there are those unsubstantiated rumors that have been afloat for years that J&J in fact secretly owns Creative Arts….  and that Woody himself is an avid needlepointer.  Nothing confirmed, but it’s out there.

But even if his Jets start wearing those Paternayan jerseys, next season, my feeling (as a long-suffering fan, and I am talking about going to Shea with my Dad and brothers from back in the day) is that the Jets still won’t break Namath’s curse.

More seriously, my best wishes go out to all New Zealanders (including the sheep) affected by the drought as well as the recent earthquake.

Who knows?  Maybe one day Paternayan wool will eventually stage a magnificent comeback.  You just can’t tell about these things.


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.


About Erin

Owner of Needlepoint Land, LLC. Professional in the field for more than 15 years, during which I have managed and/or worked with various high-end needlepoint shops. I enjoy teaching both beginners and advanced stitchers, and have created numerous stitch guides, with speciality thread selections, for in-store customers and private clients. I maintain contact with an extensive network of needlepoint vendors, custom artists, and, most importantly, reliable, high-quality finishers. I look forward to hearing your comments on my blog!

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