Tag Archives: modern needlepoint designs

DIY Needlepoint Floor Pouf

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*caution* I am amending this post on 8/27/13 to say that after rigorous use by my four year old daughter the floor pouf is not holding up well. Back to the drawing board on this concept. The stitched side panels are tearing. I am sorry to those of you that have attempted this project and had a similar result. I will look to come up with an improved version.


This project was created with a few goals in mind. It had to be stylish, fun, easy and budget friendly. And finally, my daughter had to love it.

This DIY Needlepoint Floor Pouf project was so much fun to make and the 7 count mesh made the stitching go by quickly. This would be a great mother daughter project. The design could be adapted to your personal color tastes and adding a name or an initial would be easy to do if you wanted to personalize your pouf.

What you will need for this project:

  • 8 panels of  10.5″ x  13.5″  7 count plastic canvas
  • lots of yarn! 2 balls each of 4 colors of your choosing. For this project I used sugar n cream white, robin’s egg, hot blue and hot orange
  • tapestry needle(s), size 16
  • scissors
  • sharpies
  • graph paper to lay out your design or invent your own designs!
  • at least 2 bags of 20 ounces each poly fill

Let’s get started! 4 panels of the plastic canvas you will leave as is. These will be for the side panels. The other four will be cut to 45 holes long leaving the width as is (13.5″). Next you will layout part of the design with a sharpie permanent marker. Once you have stitched in the border pattern you can use the sharpie to mark in the diamond pattern. Needlepoint 4 of these panels.jhd floor pouf 001

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Once you have completed the sides you can move on to the bottom. The latticework repeat pattern is carefully marked onto the canvas starting in the upper corner and working down. Remember each panel is a mirror image of the other. Once you have stitched them up you can whipstitch the two together.

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To create the top butterfly piece you will be charting two mirror images of the half butterfly image seen here below. Mark that in with the sharpie as well and then add the lattice background. Whipstitch the two panels together.

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stitching the top panels together

jhd floor pouf 020Now the fun part! Using long lengths of  yarn (I used white) whipstitch all the panels together. Knot the ends to anchor the threads so they won’t slip out later. View the picture below to see how each panels join together.

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Stuff generously with the poly fill.

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Whipstitch closed.

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Enjoy somewhere soft and cozy to sit. My girly loves hers. She hurls it down the stairs every morning so she can use it at breakfast.

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I am putting together a compilation of projects like this and others with more detailed instructions and charts, so stay tuned!



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Louche London

ModCloth is one of my new favorite clothing retailers. Imagine my delight when I spotted these charming needlepoint cushions on their site. About the cushions, ModCloth writes, “This UK-based brand creates pieces that use playful details and a retro-meets-modern aesthetic to celebrate the quirky, independent spirit of women who are not afraid to be themselves. This accent’s vibrant, velvety backing is contrasted by a charmingly needlepointed face with a pretty kitty that sports a bright blue bow, lush lashes, and, of course, some fabulous cat-eye frames! Envision this petite cushion upon your sharp vintage sofa or low-slung side chair, and you’ll see why its chic style is such a spectacle. Quirky and cute, this cat pillow is quite a sight to behold!”

Louche is the brand responsible for these fresh and quirky needlepoint lovlies. Hop on over to ModCloth to pick yours up before they are gone. The kitty is already sold out.

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Helena from POMPOM Design was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about their contemporary needlepoint company. Founded in 2011, POMPOM Design, is a London  based partnership comprised of Helena, an award winning artist and  Dan, a textile designer and educator. Together they have created a company that not only offers wonderful modern designs to the novice and the experienced needlepointers but also supplies finishing and stitching services. They are eco minded and design savvy and I think you’ll really enjoy reading Helena’s thoughtful responses to my questions!

Jenny: When were you first introduced to needlepoint / tapestry?

Helena: As a very small child I had a tapestry kit box in my room with Penelope written on it. I have clear memories of looking at the box, the picture of the kit and trying to pronounce Penelope as I was going off to sleep! Also when I was a bit older I was given some small kits as gifts, and remember both my mother and grandmother stitching kits – so thinking about it needlepoint/tapestry has been part of my life since very early on, which I really hadn’t realised until you asked.

After quite a gap of 20 years I started making needlepoint/tapestries of my paintings (as I am an artist too) and from there moved to setting up POMPOM Design.


Jenny: What was your career before founding POMPOM Design in 2011 and how did that lead up to you starting your own needlepoint design company?

Helena: Before starting POMPOM Design, my career was as an artist and academic. I studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL in London, and my studio practice has always involved pattern, surface, texture, space and a love of shapes and forms.  I started designing and making my own needlepoint projects about 12 years ago, mainly making needlepoint versions of my paintings.

I was Course Leader for an undergraduate Fine Art Programme for 6 years, which involved me commuting up and down the country every few days. In 2010 I had a child, and although I loved my university job and teaching, in 2012 I decided to leave academia for a while to concentrate on my creative life and being with my daughter by working from my studio and home.

In the last few years I realised that I really wanted to stitch needlepoint projects which were also exceptional as textile designs: beautiful, contemporary, chic,  highest quality, enjoyable to make, and that would just look great on my sofa. I also realised that if I wanted to stitch kits like this, and to have beautiful hand-crafted items in my home, there was a really good chance there were lots of people like me, and that we could share our ideas and passions for textiles and interiors through making our kits more widely available.

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Jenny: Do you plan to sell to the trade or attend wholesale trade shows or are you just going straight to the consumer? Are needlepoint / tapestry shops prevalent in London or hard to come by?

Helena: I am quite flexible about how we sell our kits – direct, retail etc. However the majority of our kits are posted by us direct to our customers which is really great. It is so rewarding for us to be able to communicate directly with our customers and to know that people all over the world are buying and enjoying our kits.

Mini Kit: MiniTempo No1

Jenny: Do you do all the design work or does your partner Dan design as well. Do you both stitch?

Helena: Dan is primarily the designer. He trained as a textile designer and is a design expert. He has an amazing natural feel for balance, rhythm, repeat, composition and surface pattern. I am much better as the ‘critical voice’!

I am interested in research, trends, colours, the wider design context and modern and contemporary interiors. I set briefs, offer ideas and reference points. I also like to suggest tweaks, colourways and generally interfere. As a method of co-designing it works pretty well!

As I love stitching I am the main stitcher along with some other professional needleworkers I co-opt in now and again.

Mini Kit: MiniTempo No1

Jenny: How has British culture / history influenced your kits?

Helena: We are committed to making our kits as British as possible in their production. Britain has a significant textile manufacturing history, from cottage industries to major producers. We believe that by supporting UK based companies to print and source our yarn and canvases we can continue and build on this tradition. Also by using UK companies we can also ensure we only use highest quality materials for our kits.

From a design perspective I would say we are influenced by European design aesthetics, and Modernism, but with a British flavour.

Mini Kit: MiniCanyon No2

Jenny: I see that your canvases are printed. Do you do this yourself? It seems a popular process, to print or hand silk screen canvases in the UK. I hand paint mine, we call it stitch painted, but am extremely intrigued by the silk screen process. Can you tell me a little bit more about it?

Helena: We have our kits printed by a small independent printer based in the UK. Although Dan is an accomplished screen printer, and a print workshop would be possible for us to set up, we have a lovely printer who uses digital printing processes. Through this we are able to ensure 100% accuracy of the print from our original and also to use eco-friendly water-based inks for the prints.


Jenny: What are your companies goals, hopes, dreams?

Helena: Ooh we have lots…

We both love being part of POMPOM Design and its potential. Our aim is to offer the highest quality kits;

a really engaging creative experience for the stitcher;

and a timeless, exceptionally hard wearing and long lasting design for the home.

Our goals are to support British companies and industry;

further develop our eco credentials wherever possible;

We hope to continually offer new and exciting designs;

develop our bespoke services;

and to be open to new opportunities and partnerships.

We are inspired by all the designers and makers who contribute to and have changed the way we live in our homes. The home surrounds us, we fill it with things we use, look at and enjoy every day. Bringing new designs into the fabric of people’s homes is a real privilege. Offering a fulfilling creative experience with innovative design is our goal. Where we can take this further is the dream…

Thanks for the delightful chat Helena. What a fantastic company you have created! For those outside the UK you can purchase their fabulous designs here.

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Modern Needleworks

turquoise butterfly modern needlepoint pattern - diy

Heather Gray creates needlepoint patterns and kits that are fresh and modern. The price points are affordable and the packaging adorable. All can be found here on her etsy shop.

This week I had the delight of corresponding with the designer behind Modern Needleworks and learning a little bit about the origins of her needlework passion as well as her inspirations. Heather tells me that she learned to cross stitch when she was very young and then transitioned to needlepoint in her early twenties.  She attributes much of her inspiration to her grandmother who was and is an avid crafter. In our correspondence Heather  writes, “I have always been inspired by my grandmother. She could do/ make anything . . . sewing, quilting, crochet, applique . . .you name it and she never used a pattern, or if she did use a pattern it was one she developed or made. She was an artist long before what she was doing was considered art. She is now 95 and is still making things! I live across the street from her now. She is the #1 guiding force in my life.”

Unable to find needlework designs that fit her personal style she designed  her own. After completing a few projects friends and family raved and Modern Needleworks was born. Her stylish designs  would make great projects for the young and hip to try their hand at the craft. Be sure to check out her shop and stay on the look out for some new products developing with the “modern DIYer” in mind. Can’t wait Heather and thanks for the chat!

suzani modern needlepoint pattern - diy

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Conversation with Emily Peacock

I have had the extreme privilege of conversing with Emily Peacock a British based needlepoint and cross stitch designer. Her beautiful contemporary designs are changing the way people think about the needle arts. It is through the talent and vision of people like Emily that the tides are beginning to turn in the needle art ocean.  She of course is not alone in her journey. There are a handful of voyagers that are willing to risk going against the current to see something  new come on the scene. They believe in something that to them is really wonderful and even if you don’t know it now you will soon, because whether or not you believe it too this is the face of the future. I hope you enjoy our conversation and when you have finished please take time to comment. We really do want to know what you think.
 Jenny : Emily, In your interview with Cross Stitcher Magazine in 2008 you said, “the way forward is to produce fresh exciting designs that are a departure from the tradition.” Can you tell me a little bit more about this journey since then and why it is so important to you?

Emily: I have always had a huge passion for needlework of all kinds, but the designs available have been, for the most part, disappointing for me. I saw a big disconnect from what was available in the world of needlepoint and what was available in interiors magazines and on the high street. Needlepoint is just another medium to work in, so I never understood why the majority of the designs available were childish, overly nostalgic and twee… it kind of predisposes that people who do needlework are twee and we’re not! So many themes have been covered and recovered and so the way to bring needlepoint into the spot light is to explore new avenues and see what’s possible, whilst still staying relevant and coherent.

Jenny: Your modern edge and great design sensibilities have successfully been able to attract many to the crafts of cross stitch and needlepoint (aka tapestry). This is a mission that is close to my heart as well. How do you think that we and the other designers that are coming forward with a similar mission can work together toward this goal?
Emily: It’s definitely hard being a small business, dealing with orders, designing, coping with stock and still managing to promote needlepoint. I think the designs are the primary attraction and then the question arises “is this something I can do”. I am always running into beginners: I take part in exhibitions, run drop in workshops as well as day workshops. I have also been teaching on cruise ships where I have had a captive audience! Building a good relationship with your customer base is always good and my business is small enough so that I can remain easily contactable. If anybody has a problem getting started I am always at hand to help. I know that many people who have learned through my kits have gone on to show family and friends who have then ordered from me. Of course I am partly in business to make money, but the big thrill for me is when I hear from customers (and this happens almost daily) who have become addicted and are so delighted with their work.
Jenny: How do you deal with being knocked off?

Emily: Not well! I don’t understand it. Any artist worthy of the name knows that the goal is true self-expression. My style comes from bringing together the passions and stories of my life – my personal tastes, my passion for typography from years of working in graphic design, my sense of colour, my fondness for exploring new territory.  Having a new take on something requires an investment of time, money and energy as well as a degree of bravery. It feels horrible when somebody knocks you off – it’s a very personal theft. I am very vocal about it when it happens to me. There are too many artists getting ripped off and we are often told it’s flattery and there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can do is air our grievances publicly and disassociate ourselves from these people, regardless of whether they are in the same industry and claim to be promoting the craft.

Jenny: In your interview with The Making Spot earlier this year you talked about exploring the boundaries between art and craft. LOVE your intellectual approach to design! There is more to needlework than hearts and teddy bears. Not that there is anything wrong with hearts and teddy bears . . .What are some ways you go about doing this?

Emily: I think that art and craft has been reduced in so much of the popular press to ‘crafting’. To me, there’s a huge difference. Crafting has it’s place and certainly acts as an introduction to craft skills, but crafting seems to have so much more popular media focus on it than art and craft (probably because it is more easily accessible and requires a low time and skill input). I am a great believer in form follows function and so I like to design pillows and wall hangings that will hopefully be enjoyed and displayed for years to come. I do get a little discouraged with the amount of small craft projects that really have no real function, are the sort of thing that we did at primary school and will most likely be thrown out. I like to keep my designs original. I don’t look at what’s in every shop and replicate it in a needlework design – it’s good to be relevant but not duplicate what everyone has seen before.

And now, it is my turn to answer some questions.

Emily: The US has such a long, rich tradition of needlework. Do you feel that it is harder to break the traditional mold in your country? I am also thinking of the size of your country. Britain tends to be fast-moving because it is small and densely populated and so I wonder if it is easier and faster here for new ideas to be grasped.

Jenny: I think that the rich tradition provides a firm ground to plant new ideas on. The market is thirsty for change but not quite sure how to bring it about. When I would attend the needlework trade shows I would hear of how desperately the shops wanted to attract the next generation to the craft or it would sadly die out. And what I hear from the next generation is that they want to learn the craft but not on the designs that the shops are currently carrying. So you see everybody really wants change they are just not sure what it looks like.

Emily: What would you say was the largest emerging style in non-traditional needlepoint in the US?

Jenny: Jonathan Adler’s non-traditional  kitschy line of needlepoint accessories  has breathed new life into the trade. His fresh take on needlepoint has lightened the mood and put a stylish spin on the cliché pillow. The problem is they are all already stitched up, so his fun patterns can’t be stitched up by us. Not yet anyway.

Emily: As a designer, do you feel you have changed direction since you began. If yes, how?

Jenny: Oh yes! I have been designing needlepoint for 15 years. The first five were for a big needlepoint company in San Francisco. This was where I learned everything that I know technique wise about needlepoint, an experience that I am profoundly grateful for but it has taken me years to fall into my own personal style. 10 years ago I started my own needlepoint design company, Jenny Henry Designs.  The work I was creating in the beginning was still based on what I knew would sell and what people were asking me to create. 6 years ago, after the birth of my first child, things changed. I guess I felt that if I was going to be taking the time to work, time spent away from my baby, well then it better really mean something. So I finally let myself create the designs that I was meant to make. Work that I am really proud of.

Emily: Bearing in mind the size and do-ability of your products, do you find that you are attracting beginners to the craft?
Jenny: I hope so. For the past couple of years I have completely switched gears. I am passionate about creating things for the beginner. Products that are good quality and accessible. To me, that means affordable, not too complex, practical and stylish. I started working with plastic canvas to create a fun alternative to the pricey hand painted needlepoint canvases that I design and sell. I will still always prefer the hand painted designs but these other kits are to get people started on the craft. The coaster kits are the first of this line but I am working on a bunch of others as well.
Thank you Emily for taking the time to converse with me. It has been a lot of fun! To see more of Emily’s work you can see it on her site,  www.emilypeacock.com


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Mod Dogs

What a fun new series by Susan Battle Needlepoint! Look here to purchase, http://tpoia.storenvy.com/ .

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