Five for Finding: The Reinterpreted Needlepoint

In the world of my head, sampler refers to one thing alone: a box of chocolates with large enough a variety it justifies a diagram showing what’s what. I’m shameless. No standards. $75 for 29 pieces at Godiva or $14.99 for a 27-piece Russell Stover set at the drug store, I want them in me. A lot. Gimme that sheet so I can find the squishy ones.

College classes in American history ruined this for me. Apparently, professors use “sampler” to describe needlepoint that demonstrates different types of stitches on a single piece of cloth. Hand-sewn alphabets are a common example, something I’d previously connected only with a pre-jail Martha Stewart. My takeaway: academic lecturers either don’t indulge, or they’re racist against raspberry-filled truffles.

I can’t help but think needlework is irrelevant as a contemporary element, the domain of Indiana women who don’t know Jimmy Fallon is about to replace Jay Leno. I’m not entirely wrong: search Etsy for “embroidery,” and ask yourself whether the owners of some of the e-shops you find even know who Jimmy Fallon is. That said, I’m encouraged of late by a smart interpretation of the technique: white spring bags, hit head on with a full rainbow of thread embellishment–six colors all at once.

Though nodding to tradition, these pieces avoid country kitsch. On the flap of the Fendi bag in this week’s pics, individual stitches create a floral graphic much the same way individual pixels create images on a monitor. And there’s a similarity of inspiration to certain styles that don’t feature strict needlepoint. Woven leather strands lead to a lace-like crochet on the Free People tote below; colorful cross-hatching on the Jimmy Choo offsets (and possibly stands out more) than its crystals.

The common thread here is not actual thread but rather the idea that blank canvases are never truly blank. Much like the personality traits that make every human unique–those that reflect self-expression–some intricate details and emotional colors are more than just painted veneers. They’re sewn into the base from the beginning, not so easily unjoined, the core lesser if removed.

It’s a new year. Wear the intricacies and emotions of your own blank canvas proudly. But remember, we’re talking white bags; keep them away from my chocolate.

These are five reinterpreted needlepoint bags for finding:

1. KAYU, $80
1 - KAYU - 80
2 - Laurence Heller FINAL - 107
3 - En Shalla for Free People - 498
4. Jimmy Choo, $3250
4 - Jimmy Choo - 3250
5. Fendi, $3750
5 - Fendi - 3750



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