We are super excited to welcome writer Lesley Arfin to our stable of regular bloggers. Her monthly column, 'Stuff I love' will explore the whimsical obsessions of Ms. Arfin. First up: needlepoint!
My grandmother was a master needlepointer. I have dozens of pillows that she made, each one awesomer than the next. She made one that has a baby leopard peeking out from behind a palm tree, and one that has designer names thrown across as if they're dancing: "Dior!" "Chanel!" "Halston!" (I love that she included Halston). The sad thing is that my grandmother is no longer around to teach me the needlepoint ropes, so I've been teaching myself.
I love doing it so much but I really wish there was a crafts community here in NYC that I could be a part of. Surprisingly the city does not have many good crafts stores and needlepoint supplies are actually really hard to find. There are some stores on the Upper East Side that deal strictly with needlepoint, but they are very expensive and snotty and the patterns they sell are super lame (no I don't want to work on a scene landscape or a bowl of fruit. SNOOZE!)
Then I thought, "Well, I'll just make my own patterns." I can trace really simple patterns but when it comes to more complicated ones, I still haven't figured out how to transfer them onto the canvas. In the meantime I've been working on my own simple ones just to get better. The Rolling Stones lips was easy to trace and The Germs album cover was also quite simple. I'm ready for more complicated ones! My dream is to do album covers, like really weird, obscure albums or just classic ones. Right now I just like giving them to my friends but maybe one day I'll be good enough to take commissions.
Needlepoint is especially good for those who suffer from anxiety. Sometimes I find working with my hands to be the only cure for it. Crafting is not only fun, but it's relaxing too. I love to put on a great album and just craft. Bonus points are for when I get to sit outside, and extra super bonus points are when I have friends who want to craft with me. LET'S HAVE A CRAFTERNOON!
Glad you are enjoying your new hobby and your Rolling Stones lips are great, but am sorry to hear that the NY shops are snotty. Handpainted canvases are always expensive because of the time involved, but if you check a little further, perhaps on line, you'll find that there are a lot of really good designs out there that don't involve landscapes or fruit.