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“ Snowflakes”
by Valerie Austin
originally published in
A Needle Pulling Thread® Magazine
Volume 3 Issue 1 (Festive 2007)
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in the
Valerie Austin
Great Village, Nova Scotia
he year is 1970. Picture a young girl, around eightyears-old, doing her first needlepoint. It’s a simple design of a poodle.
Fast forward a few years and the same girl is now 12 opening a Christmas present. She had always admired her mother’s McCall’s Needlework Treasury, and the gift is the canvas
and wool to do the featured needlepoint design–two Siamese cats curled up together.
Fast forward a few more years and the young woman now
spends her free time doing latch hooking, knitting, needlepoint, and she has discovered counted cross-stitch.
A few years later, a school teacher by profession, she buys
a cross stitch pattern from a favourite shop to do for her
mother as a gift. The design reminds her of one of the quilts
her mother made. She often visits the shop where she found
the pattern and wishes she could run her own store.
Her parents buy a bed and breakfast and her mother asks
her to design markers for the bedrooms of the inn. They are
primitive in design, but it’s a first attempt and fit the bill.
A few more years go by and the woman is now married
with a child of her own. One day she happens to see an
advertisement offering a cross-stitch design business for sale.
Her grandmother left her some money and it goes towards
buying that business, which was AppleCross Designs, the
same one that had produced the cross-stitch quilt pattern.
Somehow it all seemed very right.
I was that girl. My mother always had handwork around the
house. She knit clothing for her children, Barbie doll clothes,
or afghans. There were often quilts in the frames or on the
bed. The quilt design that graces the cover of our catalogue
was the first one she ever made when she was a teenager;
it’s a Sunburst quilt. I had always wanted to reproduce that
quilt design as a piece of needlework. Needlepoint designs
also hung on the wall. Once I began counted cross-stitch,
she also took up the craft.
For intricate designs, like samplers, I must admit I prefer the
look of linen, otherwise I tend to use 14-count Aida fabric.
It really depends on the design and the desired outcome.
My kits all use 14-count Aida cloth, but all the patterns in
AppleCross Designs are available as kits or charts, so the
needleworker can do whatever size and use whatever type
of fabric or thread preferred.
My designing experience so far has been twofold. I enjoy
the symmetry of quilt designs, some from familiar quilt designs, and some variations. Reproducing the old patterns,
can be like a tribute to the past. The “Snowflakes” design in
this magazine also incorporates several simple flakes, similar
in size and structure. Using a similar symmetry to that of
Read more in our Festive 2007 issue!
A Needle Pulling Thread
“I enjoy the
symmetry of quilt
designs, some
from familiar
quilt designs, and
some variations.
Reproducing the
old patterns, can
be like a tribute
to the past.”