What Was your First Needlepoint Project? – June Giveaway

This giveaway was inspired by one of the responses to last month’s post about how we learned to needlepoint.

Priscilla wrote:

My grandmother Mimi and my godmother Kappy gave me a needlepoint canvas with a grey donkey already stitched in the middle, and I learned by tent stitching the background. My godmother told me that the donkey carried Jesus on its back and that was why the donkey stillhas a cross in fur on its back. I sat on that pillow for many years, but I never became too famous. Whenever I stitch they guide me.

That got me thinking about my early projects. My first project was a pair of Persian Wool “pocket” patches which were supposed to go on your jeans. I saw them in Seventeen Crafts on September 1970 and had to have them. My parents took me to the only shop they knew, the shop had them and we bought it.

I was entranced. I think I made both within a week and went back to the shop to buy more canvas and different colors of wool to make more. I probably copied that design and made a dozen pockets.

Happily I never actually put them on jeans or tried to wash them.

I doubt if I would have continued if confronted with the combination of mis-shaped interlock canvas and shrunk wool.

The oldest piece of mine which is still around is a pillow I designed and stitched for my high school friend, Dot. It’s a big red dot in the middle of a white square, all in Tent Stitch. I only knew Continental and didn’t know that if you stitched in odd shapes it shows on the front, so I think it’s terrible, but Dot loves it.

So in the comments section tell us about your first project. Throughout the month I’ll share some stories of my early adventures along with sharing some of yours.

The winner, randomly chosen on July 15, will get a selection of threads.


  1. says

    My first needlepoint project wasn’t that long ago. I bought an instruction book and tried stitching a small image of a sun and some grass. Didn’t go so well. Might make a nice abstract piece some day, LOL.

  2. says

    My first needlepoint project…. a beautiful tabby cat (what cat isn’t beautiful!!) done in tent stitch, in the 60s. Actually it was 1968.I’ve posted a picture on my blog: pinsneedles.wordpress.com/

    I know it was 1968 because that was the year my grandmother got remarried, and I couldn’t go to the wedding because I had Glandular Fever (Mono). While I lay in bed, I stitched away on my cat.

    It lives in a cupbaord now – I really should frame it properly and display it, shouldn’t i!

  3. Edy says

    My first needlepoint piece was some sort of a printed flower which I stitched and then framed right on the wooden frame I had stitched it on…probably 40 odd years ago.
    My first designed piece was a Tallit Bag for my eldest’s Bar Mitzvah…a stylized depiction of the 12 tribes of Istael that I ‘copied’ from a 4″ x 5″ New Years’ card. The symbols for the tribes were stitched in perle cotton, and the background (front and back) of the bag was stitched with Velvet thread in a medium dark blue. I also stitched his name and the date in both English and Hebrew on the back. That was 32 years ago, and he still uses that bag. I remember the lady at the shop saying “You can’t do that” and my answer being “Watch Me”

  4. says

    My first completed needlepoint project was a little kit that said Happiness. I felt accomplished, and moved onto a celtic knotwork square, which turned out beautifully. I’m now looking at starting to implement my own stitches, but I might pick up one of the Amybear designs to work on them before I go solo with a canvas and no instructions 😀

  5. Bonnita says

    My first needlepoint project was back in 1974, I was 14 years old. I had seen a kit and I wanted to learn how to needlepoint. I bought it and brought it home and taught myself how. I still have it. It was a strawberry plant with the flowers and fruit.

  6. Carmen says

    The earliest needlepoint I can remember making was a design with a squirrel, lots of different stitch types, and had the saying “Tomorrow I plan on being more assertive… if it’s ok with you.”

  7. says

    My first was a kit my mum bought for me when I was about 16. It could be a cushion or framed. It was green background with flowers using mainly long stitch but a basketweave background. I went from there to a little silk needlepoint kit which was a lot more complicated and I loved it. That was the start of my love for all kinds of needleart

  8. says

    When I was around 19 years old – and a very driven college student – I began developing all kinds of stress-related illnesses. My doctor advised me to relax, and soon, or face dire consequences. But I couldn’t even approach a hobby in a relaxed way and was soon more uptight than ever. And then my dear friend Sara stepped in to the rescue, introducing me to cross stitch. It perfectly satisfied my need for control and organization, while opening up an outlet for my creativity. My first project was a small Santa ornament for her Christmas tree, and very soon after that I did a sort of “school girl sampler” of the alphabet and some borders. She still has them both, and we are still the best of friends.

  9. says

    My first needlepoint project is lost in time. I don’t remember what it was. But I’m sure it was simple basketweave and that I ran my thread on the back along the diagonal to end it. Because I didn’t know any better.

    The first extant one that I have is a large needlepoint sampler that I made for my in-laws 25th anniversary back in 1981, 3 years before they were my in-laws. It has a lovely saying about family life and I’m happy to say my father-in-law loves it still and it is proudly displayed in their home.

  10. Lisha says

    I was making a duvet cover for my bed and it looked too boring. I had a dish that I loved the pattern on, so I drew it on the duvet, and used a book w/all styles of stiches and decided to give it a try. 2 months later it was finished and I just love it. Problem is I don’t want anyone to lay on it.

  11. says

    My first needlepoint project was…you guessed it…a Bargello pillow! Back in 1974, one of my co-workers used to stitch Bargello in the cafeteria at lunchtime. I was enthralled with the colors and how the design took shape; so I asked her if I could learn to do one and she said she would teach me.

    We went to a needlepoint store that was in the back of the local card shop and I purchased the wools, canvas and my first needlepoint Bargello book. Every lunch hour for the next two weeks I worked on that pillow to the oohs and ahs of many envious co-workers who couldn’t believe that I, a manager, could do such beautiful work.

    After completing the stitching, I found a professional finisher to make it into a pillow, which I kept on a chair in my office. When I changed employers that pillow went with me and eventually it ended up at home on a sofa with several other Bargello pillows I had made since the first one.

    Unfortunately, the pillow became the victim of a cute little puppy we had bought for our two children. I remember that I cried when I saw my first Bargello treasure snagged, chewed and ripped.

  12. Mimi says

    I have always been crafty but my earliest memory of advancing to working with sharp needles was when I made my mom a very small embroidered table mat. I was always so pleased to see it on display, even many years afterwards.

  13. Deb says

    I think my first “proper” needlepoint project was a simple kid’s kit I found in a craft store when I was 10. The kit was for an owl panel (for a cushion I guess) and my favourite aunt was an owl collector. So, I sewed away (probably quite badly) and finished it eventually. I think she had that owl panel framed up and displayed with the rest of her owl collection. Sweet but embarrassing when I think of it now some twenty years later!

  14. Kim R. says

    My first needlepoint project was a canvas of the Smurf’s (the cartoon) for my children, as they were all crazy about them at the time. Alas, it was never completed and they grew older . . .

  15. Emilie S says

    My first official project was a coaster with an apple on it! heh…my first project was taking a square of cloth and sewing outlined pictures (a tree, a butterfly) on it with yarn–I only did around the edges of the cloth, and turned it as I went, so you can hang it any direction you want–there’s a picture facing each way! My mom has it framed in her room, heh…

    emvark at gmail dot com

  16. MRS.MOMMYY says

    my first was a sunset that turned into a pillow that I gave to a friend at a housewarming

  17. Carolyn says

    Mine was one of those cross stitch sets you can buy for children – I think the picture was of a yellow and red fish, and I gave it to my mum as a present!

  18. says

    My first needlepoint was a kit, probably my mom gave it to me as a gift, and I was probably in high school. It shows a house with a garden and a rainbow in the sky. In my memory, it included all sorts of stitches, but I looked at it last night and noticed that there are only 3! (basketweave, long stitches, and some french knots) But even so, I quickly got disappointed with the kits available in my small town, because they were all solely basketweave. I moved on to other forms of needlework. Decades later, I still have a vague yearning for a kit with fancy stitches…

  19. Linda says

    My first needlepoint project was a majestic stag that my Dutch Grandma chose for me when I was visiting. I was about 10 at the time and she taught me the basics using sign language as I don’t speak Dutch and she had no English!
    I still have it, but want to re-frame it and then display it with pride!

  20. Beth says

    My first needlepoint project was a picture of a woven basket of fruit. I was probably some where between 10 and 12, and I got it on one of the expeditions that my mother and I used to go on, to the big craft store (which eventually became a Lee Wards) that was about 45 minutes away. I stitched the design fairly quickly, but the background took a while, because I found it boring to just do tent stitch (that’s what I used) over and over again. Eventually, it became a rug for a doll house that my mother built. I still have the doll house and the rug, but the rug has a lot of moth holes in it. The funny thing that I remember about the project is that I did mostly while watching TV and for many years after I finished it, I could look at a particular section of the picture, and remember what TV episode I was watching at the time. I still associate the project with the Six Million Dollar Man!


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