Blame it on quarantine, but I feel like I went from 30 to 65 in the last few months. 😂 Literally, though. 👵🏻 Learning to needlepoint was on my list of 2020 goals, even though I didn’t really have a plan of how I would make that happen. But then a pandemic hit, and I realized that one of my girlfriends needlepoints! She graciously agreed to teach me and one day I tried my hand at her canvas and kind of got hooked! She told me all of the things I would need, and I did a ton of research (like I do) so even though I’m still a beginner, I feel like I can help you get started with the basics.
A little bit of backstory… I mentioned this on Tuesday, but I’m staying two blocks from one of my best girlfriends this summer, and I basically spend every weekend at her and her boyfriend’s place. (I’m literally the third wheel in all of my friends’ relationships, but I actually love it. 😂) Back when I lived in Bucktown, I would make the trek over to their place in Lincoln Park on Saturday afternoon, and end up spending the night in their guest room to avoid having to get in an Uber at night. (You know, #COVID.) We’d end up making or ordering breakfast on Sunday morning, and she actually somehow got me into watching TV on Sundays. If you know me, you know that I literally do not watch TV. A few years ago, I had a Sunday night tradition with a friend of watching the Kardashians and ordering Doc B’s, and when I had the flu in 2017, I binge-watched the first two seasons of Billions. But that’s literally it. I think I watched some TV with my family when I was in high school (Entourage & Sopranos), but I don’t think I really touched a TV in college, and I didn’t even have a TV in New York.
Anyway, over the past three to four months, we’ve watched Dead to Me (both seasons), Summer House, we’re on Season 3 of Vanderpump Rules, we’re on Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek, and we just started Succession last week, too. Different shows for different moods, you know? (Really, her boyfriend refuses to watch Vanderpump with us so we only get to watch that when he’s working, haha.) They’re so kindly re-watching all of these shows with me, but I’m the first timer! I’d love to do an Entourage rewatch at some point down the road, but I’ve got a lot on my TV plate already. So much TV, so little time. 😂 We’ve also watched a ton of movies, most of which I somehow missed during childhood! Almost Famous, Richie Rich, Best in Show, and I’m sure there’s some more I’m forgetting. Spotlight was also SO GOOD! Really went from 0 to 100 this year! 2020, man. 😂 I still don’t really watch TV on my own, I save it for our lazy Sundays, but never say never!
But aside from that TV tangent… Needlepoint is the perfect mindless activity while you’re watching TV. And I find it so relaxing! It’s great to have something that keeps my hands busy to keep me off of my phone and my screen time down. (TV screen time doesn’t count, okay?! I’m working off a 30 year deficit.) Since so much of my job is on my phone and computer, it’s been so nice to have this distraction. Even when I’m home during the week, it’s been the best mid-day break, or pre-bed wind-down activity. (I’ve been reading a lot, too.) Sitting on the porch needlepointing… I told you I’m basically a granny now!
Where to Shop for Your Needlepoint Needs
I’ve followed Lycette (a Palm Beach-based needlepoint shop) for years, but their website is currently under construction. My girlfriend gave me Mr. Needlepoint‘s number and said he was so helpful to help shop in store virtually, but since I was such a newbie, I just felt like I needed to browse everything online to get a lay of the land first. You know? I couldn’t yet articulate what I needed. (Update: Lycette’s new website is now live and it’s gorgeous!)
I scoured Instagram for younger needlepoint artists with fresh-feeling designs! (I’m not a total granny, you guys.) First, I found Morgan Julia and Eva Howard. I decided to order the Pastel Chill Pill from Morgan Julia Designs, but she doesn’t sell threads on her site, so I had to find somewhere to get all of the extras. That’s how I found KC Needlepoint! Funnily enough, I have a lot of friend ties to Kansas City, including the friend that I needlepoint with, so it seemed like a great match. Turns out, the woman who owns the shop actually raised all four of her kids in Lincoln Park in Chicago, where we both live! It all comes full circle, huh? Kind of crazy.
KC Needlepoint has THE BIGGEST AND BEST online selection of literally everything you need for needlepointing! Almost every artist I find and like, she carries. I’ve now placed three orders* with her and they’ve all come so dang fast. And it’s free shipping, too! She can also “kit” your canvas for you, which means she’ll pull all of the threads to match the canvas. But like you can see in my canvas above, I chose to do orange thread instead of yellow on the H, and I was able to do so because I bought everything separately.
*can you say ‘addictive personality?’ 😂
What You Need to Start Needlepointing
Canvas | Fore warning: canvases can be kind of expensive! But most are hand-painted, and truly works of art. Once you get going on your canvas, you see how detail oriented the designs are, and how precise the painting has to be, and it all makes a little bit more sense. You’ll probably want to start with a canvas that has a lot of straight lines! (Which is why I chose mine that says CHILL! Planning on turning it into a toiletry bag, FYI. Would be so cute as a little pillow, too.) Curves can be a bit more tricky, but a hand-painted canvas does make it pretty simple to figure it out!
Thread | When you start buying thread one-off, you’ll realize that there are different sizes of mesh canvas. Some canvas has a tighter weave with smaller holes, and some have a looser weave with larger holes. (There’s no good way to word that, but I tried my best… 😂) Different threads obviously have different thickness, but Silk & Ivory is a good place to start because they can be used on 13 and 18 mesh. They also have every color under the sun!
Needle | My girlfriend gave me the needle that I have to start, and it’s actually a size 22 that’s meant for her 18 mesh canvas. (FYI: For the canvas numbers, the smaller the number, the fewer amount of holes, the larger the weave. The bigger the number, the more holes, or the tighter the weave.) My canvas is 13 mesh, so I should order this pack of needles!
Threader | This little threader is a must to get your thread through your needle!
Scissors | You can probably use scissors you have at home, but I got a pair of sewing scissors. I thought these little bamboo scissors were the cutest!
Needle Minder | I feel like this is also a must so your needle doesn’t go flying around! I’m sure you could use any two piece magnet though. I went with this ginger jar!
Bag | Two of my girlfriends have these bags to keep all of their things in! I was about to get one of the cute, colorful tri-zip pouches, but when I realized I was about to spend $60 on a mesh bag, I decided to get this clear pouch for my needle, threader, and scissors, and this clear pouch for all of my threads. Ended up spending more, but they’re both two brands that I love!
How to Start Needlepointing
If you don’t have a friend that can teach you, I’d honestly just go to YouTube! Carly has a great guide, too.
And that brings me to my next point… What to wear for these leisurely activities!
The Best House Dresses
Hillhouse coined the term Nap Dress, and I couldn’t love it more. Once my friend and I started spending our Sundays lounging around her house (usually in workout clothes that we had no intention of exercising in), I suggested we look into some house dresses to elevate the experience a bit and I highly recommend! They make you feel so much more fancy while you’re lounging, but it’s essentially like wearing pajamas. Or, essentially, a sheet. The best ones barely touch your body! And honestly, it makes you feel more put together, so it sort of feels less shameful lounging around needlepointing, snacking, and watching TV. Even her boyfriend noticed when we upped our lounge game! But honestly, Sundays are my new favorite days of the week… It’s almost the dresses, TV, and needlepoint help keep the Sunday Scaries at bay, too.
I’ve been wearing my Elegantees Maxi most weekends, but I rounded up a few others for you!