Heirloom Obsession: Needlepoint

Belle Decor

Heirloom Obsession: Needlepoint

By M.K. QuinlanMarch 1, 2013

While traveling last week, I had the good fortune of sitting next to an older woman on a plane who was hard at work on a needlepoint Christmas stocking. The pattern included vibrant pastels, two turtledoves, and fruits-a-plenty. In her words, “It’s an heirloom, but I’m not quite sure who to give it to.” For a girl with a fear of flying, the woman and her needlework came as a comfort to me, the sign of a good heart and a shoulder to cry on in the event we took a nose dive. It made me think back to my grandmother's needlepoint bell pull, a Downtown-esque contraption made by my great-grandmother that hung like art on her living room wall.

Southerners have always loved needlepoint—whether it’s a framed “Home Sweet Home” sign in an entry hall, a piano bench, a personalized belt, or pair of loafers. The intricately designed handiwork is just about the most durable, long lasting heirloom you could pass on to your children and grandchildren. On my frequent visits to antique stores, I’ve often seen old chairs with the needlepoint in perfect condition despite the decay of the chair’s wooden frame.

Bumblebee needlepoint loafers spotted in the G&G offices yesterday.

Consider keeping this homespun tradition alive by taking a needlepoint class and making some heirlooms of your own. (I’ve been told it’s easier than knitting and sewing, if that gives you any encouragement.) Or support some of the companies that are doing their part to keep this art alive. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite needlepoint pieces below— great additions to your wardrobe or your home.

Clockwise from top left: Stubbs and Wootten Camo needlepoint slippers, $400, stubbsandwootten.com; Asher Riley Golden Retriever needlepoint belt, $95, asherriley.com; Smathers and Branson block monagrammed flask, $100, smathersandbranson.com; Harding-Lane Striped Bass ballcap, $30, harding-lane.com; Land's End Tapestry needlepoint Kindle/Nook case, $13.99, landsend.com; Jonathan Adler Multi Bargello Zig Zag pillow, $165, jonathanadler.com.