Updated June 4, 2021.
Printer’s ornaments (those little graphics you sometimes find at the end of chapters) are a superb source of ideas for needlepoint. They work great as the basis for needlepoint because they generally have simple lines and large areas which look good in stitches.
The little piece above is a great example. It’s a classic hand-drawn motif of two ginkgo leaves. I made it for a friend who is from Korea and loves this tree. In the Fall ginkgos have brilliant yellow leaves, which I will reflect in yellow threa for the leaves. The background will be a simple T Stitch.
But enough about this piece — how can you do something like it yourself?
First, find an ornament. Dover Books’ Pictorial Archive series has tons of books with small designs which will work. You can also search on clipart.com and then buy and download single images. Use a photocopier to enlarge the design to the size you like for your project.
Place your needlepoint canvas over the copy and trace only the outline of the design. Use a permanent non-Xylene or dye-based marker to trace. Some good possibilities include:
- Pigma Micron markers (find them in quilt shops)
- SCA-UF (find them in art supply stores)
- FabricMate Dye Pens (Michael’s)
Once you have traced the outline, pick the threads and stitches for your piece. Since the design is simple, pick some overdyed and hand-dyed threads. Choose stitches that have lots of texture to enhance the design. On the ginkgo leaves, I use Criss-cross Hungarian, Offset Mosaic, and Diagonal Cashmere.
Pick a background that is subtle. I like to use T Stitch making the design look like hand-made paper.
Stitch the background to make the design fit into a ready-made frame and you have a quick and unique gift. I love using this as an easy way to make orignal designs easily and inexpensively.
Now I’m off to make another one.