My own private Idaho

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Green Pillow -front

Stitched by Betty

Well, it’s already more than a week into 2014.  Time for a post!

When I was young, Betty, my mother, taught me how to needlepoint.

Sometimes, she’d skip work to attend needlepoint classes in Bronxville, where I grew up.  Betty always made copies of the instructional material:  one page for her, the other for me.  And she’d buy two kits, one for her, and one for me.  I would have gone with her, but the classes were always in the morning, and I had to be at school!

Here’s an example of a booklet my mother assembled from one such class in 1973.  This particular one was given by Mrs. Montgomery, who lived nearby.  I guess she had a little company called Design Patch, long defunct.

Anyway, the cover page looks like this.  (You can click on most of the images to make them much bigger!)

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Cover with Protector

Cover with Protector

Below is my copy of the cover page, with my name written in the top by Betty.  (She assembled the booklets in a polypropylene sheet protector, with the pages kept in place with that plastic spine thingie people used  instead of stapling — see the pic to the right.)

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Here are the rest of the pages.

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Betty wrote down on the back of this page the name of the book they were using.

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It’s currently available at Abe Books  (see image below).  I still have my personal copy of the book in my needlepoint library. It has a piece of 10 mesh mono practice canvas stuck in the back!

Kurten

Betty was such a meticulous student!

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Pillow Design Trace

The green pillow you see up top was stitched by my mother. Green was her favorite color.  We used Medici wool for these pillows and I thought it had a nice texture, and was a departure from the usual Paternayan. Betty’s pillow has held up a lot better than mine!

The stitch that I had the most difficulty with, back then, was that basketweave background.

At the time, basketweave was done by “scooping” or “sewing”  rather than the stab and jab method used today. I found it a hard stitch to learn.  Funny thing is I never knew I scooped until the subject came up years later at a needlepoint store where I worked  in CT.

I named this post after the Gus Van Sant movie, which is about a young person’s search for his mother.   I’ve never actually seen this movie, but I hear it’s good.

Unfortunately,  I didn’t get to go to Italy to find Betty.  So I guess this post is just a sentimental way of expressing my appreciation for her teaching me needlepoint.

Happy New Year, Betty!

Needlepoint Pillow

Stitched by Erin

Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016

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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!

2 responses »

  1. Betty was a lot of fun; she was kind of like Lucille Ball, but when it came to needlepoint she was like Dinah Shore–she took this hobby very seriously. I had not looked at these notes in years, btw. She was impressive!

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