Updated Juy 16.2021.
Carolyn Hedge Baird is a talented teacher and designer from Houston where you can find her at Chaparral Needlepoint. She has written stitch guides for Melissa Shirley (Halloween Houses and Noah’s Ark) and has several general books on needlepoint which are brim-full of creative ideas for stitching your canvas. She’s the subject of our designer interview.
1. How do you develop your ideas for stitch guides?
First of all, I always pick a canvas that I really like. If I am teaching the piece for a class, I try to use different stitches than I used on other teaching pieces. I love trying stitches with different parts so I can use several colors and or types of threads in the stitch. I like to make each canvas as a sampler so the student can look on that canvas and see what stitches would look good on her own canvas. I always have a lot of texture and lots of metallic threads on each canvas.
2. How much does your teaching inform your ideas about stitching?
I learn so much from my students! I learn new stitches and techniques from them often. I always want students to have FUN when stitching a canvas and not concentrate so much on perfection as on enjoying and relaxing while stitching. Like life, needlepoint is a process, not an event!
3. What people have been most influential in developing your ideas about needlework?
I had a wonderful needlepoint teacher when I was in college in Virginia. She was the wife of a dean at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. She was a wonderful person and an outstanding teacher. I have learned so much from each boss I have worked for and from my colleagues as well as from my grandmothers. My former mother-in-law inspired me, too!
4. What things inspire you?
Everything inspires me! I am always looking for new patterns and ideas in everyday things and in nature. Sherlee Lantz and Maggie Lane’s book, A Pageant of Pattern, inspired me to look at patterns on floors, walls, architecture-I even developed a stitch from a customer’s woven purse!