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Barbara Bergsten Needlepoint Designs

Needlepoint Shops


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My needlepoint career began while I worked in a needlepoint shop when I was in High School. This was during the needlepoint heyday of the mid ‘70’s. Needlepoint was the rage! I also painted small canvases from an original that were sold as kits, back in days when canvases were painted with oil paints and took days to dry. I preferred painting needlepoint canvases more than stitching. After high school I went away to college and gave up needlepoint. Two and half years ago I made some big changes in my life and was looking to do some kind of art I hadn’t done recently. I thought maybe I would needlepoint a belt for my daughter. I went to a craft shop and bought some canvas and paint pens. I designed the canvas and it felt great! Then I needed some yarn. I’d heard there was a wonderful needlepoint shop nearby and went in to buy yarn. I couldn’t believe the changes in the world of needlepoint from the mid 1970’s! The threads were amazing!! I was chatting with the owner of Wool & Willow Needlepoint Shop and Anne asked me who designed the belt. I said I did. She asked me if I would be interested in designing custom canvases for her shop. That was the beginning of my new line of needlepoint designs.
Color and design inspire me most. I’ll look at something and say that would make a great needlepoint canvas! Then I stop and say, what will it be when it is finished? Can it be easily stitched? How can it be embellished with alternative stitches? I usually pull threads and then paint with the threads in front of me. I want my designs to be colorful, fun, practical and whimsical. I like needlepoint to look like needlepoint, functional needlepoint for everyday use. Some design ideas just don’t convert well to needlepoint.
Uncomplicated, clear colors best describe my designs. I want the stitcher to know what color goes where. I have a graphic design style verses painterly style. This works well for my line of needlepoint canvases. I’m all over the place with themes. One day it’s flowers and Latin names next it’s Beach Girls. Whatever strikes my fancy! I aim for all stitching levels. Uncomplicated, clear colors are easy to stitch for the novice or creatively embellish for the veteran. A simple canvas can become a complicated finished piece by adding interesting stitches and threads.