Archive | Finishing

SPUN – The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint

I can hear you saying “The society for what???”. And as I browsed through the internet and stumbled across it, I too was initially tempted to chuckle and even gently scoff. But I have to tell you that I very quickly changed my mind – it is really rather cool!

Over on Facebook this week, I have been following with interest a discussion in the Needlepoint Nation group about unfinished projects. It has been so much fun to see how many of us have WIPs stashed in the cupboard – and all the different ways that we can justify them! And then in a moment of serendipity I stumbled across a reference to SPUN – The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint.

My initial reaction was to think that this was some kind of delightfully quirky joke. (I wonder if that is my irreverent Australian sense of humour taking over :)). But in fact SPUN is the brainchild of Mary Smull, an artist, writer, and curator living in Philadelphia, PA. This article from Needlepoint Now magazine gives an excellent overview of the project and Mary’s philosophy. Simply put, Mary and a group of volunteers collect unfinished needlepoint canvases and complete them usually only white thread. This has the effect of preserving the work of the original stitcher, whilst at the same time finishing the canvas. The result is a completely different kind of needlepoint which is simply lovely.

"Lute Player", Found unfinished needlepoint completed by Mary Smull using only white yarn, 20" x 21", 2011

“Lute Player”, Found unfinished needlepoint completed by Mary Smull using only white yarn, 20″ x 21″, 2011

This piece, “Lute Player”, is almost ethereal – and I love it. As an embroiderer, I know what it feels like to roam a canvas working small parts at a time. And here that process has been captured and preserved for all time. The original stitcher enjoyed working the solid black background, and perhaps enjoyed making a start on the beautiful gown. And then something (who knows what) interrupted the stitching progress. Maybe it turns out that those half-finished pieces tell just as much of a story as the fully completed ones….

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Another piece of finishing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about cleaning out my sewing room and then about the Year of Finishing I undertook some years ago. These two circumstances conspired to bring about another piece of finishing I thought I would share with you today.

Whilst cleaning and sorting out after Christmas I came across this little piece of cross-stitch that I worked (I am ashamed to say :)) over fifteen years ago.

Four patchwork designs worked in cross-stitch.

Four patchwork designs worked in cross-stitch.

It is a dear little piece of simple patchwork designs worked up into a series of pretty cross-stitch squares. Sadly, I no longer have the pattern so I can’t tell you the designer or where I bought it from. Suffice to say that I remember thoroughly enjoying working it, but that it was then carefully filed in my box of “finished embroidery waiting to be turned into something”.

Detailed view of one of the designs.

Detailed view of one of the designs.

I happened to mention this piece to my Mum on the phone the other day and she remembered it. “Why don’t you turn them into a series of pincushions and donate them to the Embroiderer’s Guild gift shop?”, she said. This struck me as such a good idea that I have gone ahead and finished them all today. They are very “country” which is not my usual style, but I am really happy with them – especially the cute little buttons to finish them off.

Four completed pincushions.

Four completed pincushions.

I plan to donate one to my Patchwork Group for a forthcoming fundraising event; two to the Embroiderer’s Guild Gift Shop; and I will keep one for myself, just to remind myself about another piece of finishing. My halo will choke me!

My favourite of the four pincushions - which I will keep for myself :)

My favourite of the four pincushions – which I will keep for myself 🙂

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