Sometimes there is a sort of harmonic convergence to blogging. One thing leads to the next and your realize the time is now. I am going to Las Vegas on Friday and I have been mentally counting the days, if not scratching them into the wall of my cell. Then a reader asked yesterday about the Bunny Williams room and I pulled it out to look at it again and thought, “I must take my stitching on the plane.” It has languished in the bag too long. Then I remembered an email Jennifer had sent me almost a year ago.

Fine Cell Work is a not-for-profit organization in England that provides prisoners with an opportunity to do needlework to pass time and make money. (And they have a boxer on their home page. Rosie sits under one of our leather chairs like this sometimes.)

If you have ever needlepointed you know that it is a time-intensive process. I have stitched monogram pillows for many of my friends’ daughters (and there was a bit of a run on them for a while.) One of my friends, upon receiving her third such pillow remarked, “You should not give these to people who have never stitched; they won’t get it.”
Generally, I don’t buy needlepoint because it is usually so inexpensive. It makes me squirm a bit to know some woman has created a piece for pennies. (Which, by the way, does not occur to me when I am buying t-shirts by the truckload at Target. Apparently, I’m subjectively free trade.)

But these pillows, excuse me, “cushions,” are lovely. If you can’t have a Walton Ford on your wall, you could have one of these on your sofa.

Not all needlepoint, the inmates create pieces with quilting, embroidery and cross-stitch as well. The one above would bring a little Gee’s Bend to the boys’ rooms.

Of course, they’ve done celebrity deals as well. Allegra Hicks designed the pillow above.

Nina Campbell, in three colors, with embroidery.

Kits are also available if you are a DIYer, as I am. Sometimes things that seem like they don’t go together work out just fine. Prisoners and needlepoint. Needlepoint and Las Vegas. Las Vegas and me. Mrs. Blandings in Sin City has a bit of a ring to it, don’t you think?
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7 thoughts on “Countdown

  1. Oh, I am so jealous, it makes me want to dust off the box with yarns and canvas that I bought when I was single and any left-over money was for wants and not needs. I could forgo a dinner or two for some yarn. I love to create my own and see them come to life.
    It is some form of cult to me, the art of yarn and canvas. Lock me up and throw away the key,
    slip a tray with some snacks. Who needs food when you have needlepoint. Oh you hit my soul with this post. This inspires me to finish the backgammon set.

  2. Could you name the source of the last pillow shown? Is it available in a kit? Loved the post. Have you ever attempted designs by Maggi Lane? House Beautiful had a great article on her in the 70’s. She actually paid for her daughters’ college with her designs and books (two of which I own). Her designs were oriental and quite beautiful.
    Marion from Kentucky

  3. Both of my grandmothers and my mom did needlework — one grandmother had some of my childhood drawings made into needlepoint canvases. And I admire how Jonathan Adler brought it “back.” I like both the traditional and more modern pieces.

  4. These are wonderful. I did needlework years ago, am now painting again. Perhaps I will start a little project for a pillow. By the way, I ordered Walton Ford Calendar on Amazon! At least I can gaze at some of his amazing images.

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