Updated February 21, 2023.
My friend Michelle who owned a needlepoint shop near me, had another great article in her weekly newsletter several years ago. With her permission, it’s our guest post today.
We all find ourselves in situations where we need to come up with a gift in a hurry. Be it a forgotten birthday, an unexpected hostess gift, or any other surprise event, we need to find something under a very short deadline. Here are my five tricks to create that special gift when I am pressed for time.
Stitch a Design I’ve already Done
Stitching a familiar canvas is my Plan A. We all have our favorites in our pattern library or our canvas stash. An “old standby” just might prove to be the answer to your dilemma. You already know the pattern, so it won’t have any surprises. That third shade of red won’t “come out of nowhere” when it’s 10:00, and you were planning to get the finished piece to the framers in the morning.
Choose Something Small
You’d be surprised how often a customer needs something in two weeks, and is bound and determined to complete a large canvas that will be perfect. This is where I encourage the buyer to “see the trees, rather than the forest.” Is there a detail you can zero in on now, and save the larger design for later?
Keep the Pattern and Palette Simple
A small canvas of a letter with a floral background is much easier than a dragonfly flying through the star-spangled night sky. Of course, since the purse I was asked to complete in ten days was a gift for a friend from Japan, a monogram wasn’t even an option. As it was, I had to choose a different dragonfly. My first choice canvas was out of stock at the distributor. You also need to be flexible when watching the clock.
Keep the Stitch Selection to a Minimum
If you consider yourself anything other than a beginner, you have a sizeable stitch repertoire, of which you have certain favorites. Sticking with those when you’re stitching in a hurry is always a smart move. This is not the time to try that new stitch you’ve had your eye on. You don’t have the luxury of frogging if it doesn’t work!
Check Your WIPs
Here’s the perfect opportunity to think on your feet. You need it now, so what can you do with what you already have? Is there something from your UFO stash that would be perfect if given a little TLC? If you have something in the works that will serve your purpose, see how you can tweak it to fit a readymade item.
If you can finish the item yourself, that’s a bonus!
This is what I love about the self-finishable Lee leather goods. There is an assortment of items for the 3” rounds that can be easily put together without involving a professional finisher.