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With a sweet, sweet road trip ahead, I ditched my usual car knitting for one of my most reliable standbys, a never-ending gobstopper of a project:

My Bloomsbury needlepoint.


Does anybody ever finish a needlepoint project? Serious question.

I took this Shell Cushion with me on a month of travel last summer. I worked on it steadily the whole time, then I ran out of some of the colors. (I am working it in basketweave, which takes more yarn than tent stitch, which was specified. Rookie error.) Running out of wool can send a project into timeout for years, but in this case, additional wool arrived from the big wall of Anchor Tapestry Wool at Craft South in Nashville.

Needlepoint is fun—it doesn’t require counting or keeping track of anything, so it’s totally car ready.

I feel like I’m cheating on knitting. But that’s OK. At the end of this car ride, I’ll run back into knitting’s arms and hug it around the neck, just like last year.


  • Hi Kay, you cracked me up with the question ” …does any one ever finish a needlepoint project?… I still have a work in progress that I started in 1999!

  • I was put on bedrest when I was pregnant with my first child. I worked on a needlepoint of Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”. There is a 3″ x 3″ square in the upper left hand corner that needs to be finished. There is no excuse. He will turn 35 next month.

  • In the early 90’s I started a cross stitch project for my dad to hang in the basement that had an early American theme, a Indian wearing a beautiful headdress. Still not done, the basement doesn’t have the early American theme anymore, they’ll probably be selling that house in a year, and now I question the correctness of the project….

  • I finished 2 when I first learned how over 30 years ago… now I have at least 4 that are not finished.

  • I have a friend who has been sorting her various reds into piles for about 2 or 3 years. One day she’ll get down to it, I’m sure.

  • I started a needlepoint project for my parents before I got married in 1976. Both of my parents are now gone and I still haven’t finished that needlepoint project!

  • I finished exactly two needlepoint projects nearly 30 years ago and never looked back. Until recently. Thankfully no longer doing the 60 minute+ train commute that facilitated the projects. But. Something very satisfying about needlepoint. Drat. Off to Google patterns.

  • Some have been finished–even rugs, which I then had to give away since the cats figured that all those loopy things on the floor were just asking to be snagged. But I would like to know about the pattern of your pillow. It reminds me of Bloomsbury. And of course, this all adds to the adage: too much wool, not enough time!

    • Thank you for the info–I know the book you mean and I think I know where to find it. I was thrilled to find the old Sanderson fabrics at the shop at the Charleston Farmhouse when I just checked the website. I cherish a lampshade I bought there; not the easiest item to carry home. Have you ever tried to work with any of the patterns by Maggie Lane? She’s deceased but her books are available on eBay and around (Needlepoint by Design). Oriental in flavour but some very good pillows.

  • I love this post, and you’re absolutely right on all points. I’ve found that running out of yarn isn’t even necessary to trigger a long pause. I do feel like I will be cheating on this sweater that I’d like to finish, but I think I’ll get out the Kilem pillow I haven’t seen since last summer. Now where did I put it?
    Thanks for this,

  • I’m a newbie. I fell in love with the Charlie Harper needlepoint kits from Purl Soho about, hmmm, maybe 5 years ago. The beautifully simple cardinal is about half done, and another one is tucked away. I don’t work on it often, but I still love it and I like knowing it’s there waiting for me. No hurry, I guess…

  • So true! I worked on one for Twenty Years. We have a new needlepoint store that will now block it and make a cushion. My husband raises eyebrows when I start a new one.

  • Hi. I have started working on the tapestry ” The Shell Cushion”. Can anyone tell me how to handle it as the canvas is very big and stiff ? Many thanks. Claire C.

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