How this all got started

Designed & Stitched by Betty McGrath

Designed & Stitched by Betty McGrath

Here’s a good example of a professionally done needlepoint Family Crest.  In this case, I’m showing you the coat of arms from the Underhill (or English) side of my family.  My mother drew this design, and stitched it as well, sometime in the late 70s or early 80s.

The size of the area you see here (it’s actually framed, and surrounded by a black mat) is 4″ W x 6″ H.  The design area is 3 1/2″ W x 5 1/4″ H.  It’s 18 mesh canvas, and stitched mostly using the basketweave stitch.

As you can see (click on the image to enlarge it), there is quite a bit of Kreinik metallics used in the crest. If I recall correctly Kreinik introduced some basic colors (gold, silver, black) around the time this was stitched and expanded over the years to include the huge variety of metallic thread colors they now offer. It was very exciting, at the time, to work with Kreinik, because it was a new product and added a lot of fun and dimension to your needlepoint.

Notice how Betty achieved the curve effect on the bottom of the shield.  She went down one, and over one, to create a rounded effect on the right side, and on the left, she did double stitches 4 times and then single stitched up one and over one.  Overall, it worked very nicely.

Notice also how she used serifs in the lettering.  As you can see, she counted and centered the family name, and stitched it using a tent stitch, not forgetting those elegant serifs.

Betty did a nice job on her charming design.  It’s always a treat for me to look at my mother’s handiwork from time to time!

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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