Renee and Michele, the brilliant duo behind the New Jersey store Gone Stitching, have a strong interest in Judaic needlepoint. They have a huge collection (over 1400) of Judaic canvases available on their website. They have done several stunning multi-part classes on beautiful canvases, including the current one a magnificent Seven Days of Creation. Plus they have an inspiring Flickr photo stream of finished canvases with many Judaic themes.
There most recent adventure is a slim book, Holey Stitches!, that is a guide to Judaic-themed needlepoint canvases. I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow, but I had an opportunity to interview these ladies earlier this month.
There is a long tradition of Judaic needlework dating back to Biblical times. How does this relate to the needlepoint we do today?
Embroidery is referred to in the Book of Exodus. The act of beautifying something through needlework that is to be used in a religious ritual began in Biblical times and has not only survived into modern times, but has thrived and continues to grow. Today many ritual items including Talit Bags, Tefillan Bags, Atarot, Prayer Book covers, Challah Covers, Torah covers, Chuppahs, and may more are made in needlepoint.
Is Judaic needlepoint growing in popularity?
People still see value in making these items as beautiful as they can as they are incorporated into their daily life. At Gone Stitching, we specialize in Judaic Needlepoint. We have seen an explosion of new interest over the past 10 years. We speak with people all over the world and find new stitchers every day.
What would be a good project for a beginner who is interested in Judaic needlepoint?
Every day at least one new beginner comes into the shop. A first project doesn’t mean it has to be small , but we tell people they have to love it to work on it. We have a group of easy geometric tallit and tefillan canvases that are perfect for the beginner, We like to say that they are the “Rice Krispies” of Needlepoint. They look amazing when complete, but are actually very easy to stitch.
I love that so many of the ideas in the book can be used for so many canvases. Do you offer other resources or classes that stitchers that are not in the area can use?
We work with customers who are long distance through the phone and email. Since almost everyone carries a phone with them today, its really easy to take a picture and email it to us so we can help them. We also offer distance learning classes. Currently we are taking sign ups for the Seven Days of Creation. It is a fabulous canvas! The ad just came out in this month’s Needlepoint Now. The canvas, bars, threads, beads, embellishments are mailed out each month for 12 months. Our directions are very clear with color diagrams. Customers also get detailed emails and shop support. We are very excited about this new project! We also have our first book, Got Stitches, which has wonderful color diagrams with multi-layered stitches. This book is sold by us as well as many shops. It is also available on Amazon.
What’s next for you guys?
Next on our list is another book , Got Stitches 2: Size Matters!