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 two 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
5. What are you working on right now?
I am stitching a series for 2007 and then I am going to start Christmas gifts!