I get questions all the time in my mailbox asking me to identify a vintage piece of needlepoint.
Usually it’s because someone did the piece, loved it, and would like to do something similar. Quite often, I can identify the designer (I’ve been stitching for 50 years) but the work is no longer published or the designer is long gone.
The best an most consistent source I’ve found for older pieces is ebay and you can use their saved searches tool to narrow down your search to exactly what you want. And get email notices when something is there so you don’t waste time looking.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to ebay and then the crafts category
- Under crafts, pick needlecraft & yarn and click on it
- This goes to a huge listing (over1.7 million recently), you will no longer see a separate listing for needlepoint.
- Now it’s time to start and refine your search.
You want to do this here because many people list things in the wrong category, for example a needlepoint under weaving. Since many searchers will only look in the “right” category, you can get some good bargains this way
- Put “needlepoint” the designer or subject you want into the search box. Here are some tips for making this search better
- Click on advanced next to the search box and use the advanced functions.
- Use the designers last name only. We may always call her “Jane Doe,” but many people listing on eBay don’t know needlepoint, so “Doe” will find you more hits.
- If it’s a painted canvas designer, use the name painted on the canvas. If that is the company, use that.
- Advanced search has an option to find “any of the words.” You can use this option to find hits with two options for the company name, for example.
- Use the next box down, to remove things you don’t want. For example if you don’t want plastic canvas you might put plastic and PC here to exclude them.
- There are more options in the advanced search, but I always ask for 200 items to be displayed on the page (it’s in a drop-down menu near the bottom of the page). When looking for needlepoint, sometimes there are this many hits, so everything gets displayed on one page.
You’re done. The search can be found in My eBay under saved searches listed in alphabetical order.
The first email you get will have the results of the search you just did. After that if an item is listed that meets your search you’ll get an email. First, it tells you how many items (nice to know so you know how many you got). Then it lists all or some (depending on how many) of the items, with name, price at the time of the email, how many bids, and a link to the listing. For needlepoint things I rarely get more than ten and usually only one or two.
I look at the item description and if it looks good, I click on the listing to see a picture. I have several canvases that are no longer produced that I look for consistently. I’ve found many of them on eBay by using this technique.
I like it because it keeps me from wasting time and spending too much money buying random things on eBay.