Needlepoint has come a long way, mostly due to the introduction of more creative fibers and modern patterns. As one of the younger stitchers in any needlepoint class or shop, I’ve become interested in pushing the boundaries of this endangered craft. Encouraged by the knitting revival, I decided to develop hip and quick needlepoint projects to appeal to a more contemporary audience. If I have my way, needlepoint will be the new knitting.
These bracelets are easy, quick, and very chic. While stitchable in a weekend, they look much more complicated. Both pieces combine silk with metallic threads to create a look that goes with jeans as well as a black cocktail dress. Once they are stitched, take the bracelets to a needlepoint shop to finish for about $20 (or do it yourself).
Step #1: Assemble stretcher bars.Next
- First, assemble your stretcher bars into a square frame and tack your canvas to it. You can cover the edges of the canvas with masking tape so the thread won’t get caught and snag.
Step #2: Stitch the cuff.Next
- Once the canvas is framed, you’ll start to stitch with 3-ply of the silk, using a length of about 18" in your needle. Beginning a third of the way up the canvas and about 1" in from the left, stitch the entire cuff in Giant Rice Stitch.
- Use your laying tool to keep the stitches smooth and flat as you drop the needle in a hole, and work the bracelet in rows from left to right.
- Stitch each cross over 3 diagonal holes and make your rows long enough for the bracelet to go around your wrist in a cuff fashion.
- Your bracelet should have 7 rows of crosses.
- After completing the silk crosses, work the metallic green thread in diagonal stitches over the top of the silk, with each diagonal stitch crossing over 1 canvas hole. No need to use the laying tool with this thread, just make sure it isn’t twisted when you drop the needle in a canvas hole.
Step #3: Finish the stitch.Next
- Once you finish the Rice Stitches, backstitch vertically over 2 canvas threads at each end of the cuff to create a vibrant red line on both edges. Use 3-ply of the DMC metallic for this step.
- Then, after taking the piece off the frame, fold the canvas back at each red end and whipstitch over a few canvas threads at the edges with 3-ply of the DMC to make the red thicker and to finish those edges.
- Whipstitch across each end of the cuff as many times as it takes for the red to cover the canvas underneath.
Step #4: Finish the bracelet.
- Now that the piece is stitched, you still have to make it into a bracelet. I recommend taking it to a needlepoint shop, where they can finish it for you by folding back the raw ends on the length of the bracelet and covering the back with a piece of ultrasuede.
- If you want to finish it yourself, I suggest following the instructions found at the DIY Network website (craftzine.com/go/ cuff).
- When it’s finished, find a can of tomato paste (or something of a similar diameter), wrap your cuff around the can, and put a rubber band around it to hold it in place for about a day. This will give the cuff shape so it doesn’t fall off your wrist.
- Now it’s finished!