Some of you may already know that I am an embroidery nerd. I taught myself needlepoint and cross-stitch way back during my Fine Art degree and have been stitching pretty much every day since. Stitching by hand can be incredibly time consuming, and working full-time means there’s little time left in the day to complete lots of projects.
Thankfully, I’ve found a way around this and a way of combining two of my favourite things – charity shopping and needlepoint. For the past couple of years I have been scouring the charity shops for abandoned embroidery projects, with the hope of finishing them off or unpicking areas of stitches and reworking them into something else entirely. The perk of this is that most of the stitching has already been done for me, and all that’s left is for me to put my own spin on it.
One of my first reworking attempts was a completed needlepoint piece of a large ship at sea, to which I added some ginormous sea monster tentacles attacking the ship. The next was a small landscape piece that someone had completed but not bothered to frame, which I decided to add the Instagram ‘Like’ icon to the bottom corner and finish into a small cushion complete with a pom-pom trim.
While trawling the charity shops in Halifax (spoiler alert: they’re great and I always find something) I came across a small, completed, swan needlepoint in a frame for just £1.00! Of course I bought it. Initially, I didn’t have plans for this piece, but on a whim, I removed it from its frame and pinned it to the back panel of my denim jacket. I decided to keep things deliberately ‘rough’ and really simple; I pinned the piece to my jacket, and simply hand-stitched it in place, leaving the edges frayed and loose.
My next project? Well, I have an embarrassingly large collection of completed needlepoint pieces I’ve found in charity shops now, so I really need to start to work my way through them all, but I have my eye on reworking this tiger I found in my local Oxfam in Oldham…
As much as I’d love to hog all of the embroidery pieces in the world for myself, should you come across some, there are many things you could do with it. If you’re feeling handy with a needle and thread, you could follow suit, and rework areas of it. Confident using a sewing machine? Make it into a bag or cushion. Or, you could simply display it just as it is and appreciate the time someone put into making it for you.
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