the summer I turned 12, I learned to needlepoint at this little seaside shop with my mother and sister. the idea was a sampler pillow of 12 different stitches, in 12 squares. I loved learning but I don’t recall ever finishing it. my sister claims to not only have finished the needlepoint but actually had it made into a pillow! (I’m going to need to confirm this with photos.)
even though I’d had some experience, I added ‘learn to needlepoint’ to my month of learning. I had the perfect project, too! I bought (and stashed) a belt kit on etsy that I’d hoped to make for Jack as a Christmas gift a few years ago so I headed out to my local needlepoint shop (heretofore known as LNS) and Linda, the owner, walked me through starting, working, and ending threads. she was incredibly patient and encouraging.
I worked non-stop for almost two weeks and was officially hooked, and with the callouses to prove it. my mind started working overtime on all the many ways I could translate the colors and patterns of my hand-painted beaded necklaces.
when I dropped off jack’s belt at the LNS for finishing I peppered the owner again but this time my questions were all about hand painting my own canvas. again Linda was incredibly helpful and offered me a scrap of 13 point mesh to give it a go. since the scrap was long and narrow I thought a bag strap would be a fun project to test out my idea.
after a bunch of googling, testing out a pattern design site, and watching abby cecile’s canvas painting tutorial a few times I felt confident enough to break out my paints.
all painted and ready to go! I painted the black and white disks with gray because I left the background ‘white’ and need to distinguish those beads. I also used a metallic paint to match the bronze on one of the beads but I’m not totally committed to the idea of metallic thread. next up: choosing threads!
ever-helpful Linda helped me figure out that with thinner threads like DMC and Vineyard Silk, the 13 point mesh canvas will show through so it’s important to be mindful of the painted canvas. the Silk & Ivory threads completely cover the canvas so it’s not as big a deal. Linda was also key determining how much background thread I’ll need - and I went for a super pale pink so the beads with white will be more visible.