Women on Point- Rachel Donley

I am thrilled to feature Lycette’s latest “Woman on Point,” Rachel Donley! I first met Rachel at the Destination Dallas tradeshow in the fall of 2016, and was immediately charmed. She is preppy, funny, and extremely talented at designing needlepoint! Of course I picked up one of her canvases- her Nantucket basket lightship purse.

Fast forward 9 months, and I had the pleasure of having a booth next to Rachel at the TNNA Columbus summer 2017 show. Along with my friend Meredith we had a blast! Rachel even hosted me for a night as I made my way up to Vermont for the summer.

Rachel is easily one of the warmest and most genuine designers in the needlepoint world. I am honored to be able to give you a glimpse into Rachel’s world of needlepoint.

Q: When did you first begin to needlepoint, and who taught you how to needlepoint?

A: When I was dating my husband, I was drawn to needlepoint that my soon to be mother in law and sister in law were always stitching, and they shared their passion with me. My first project was a belt which spelled my husbands name in nautical flags. I gave him the belt for his birthday- which also happened to be the day he proposed- so I guess he liked it!

Rachel needlepointing at her booth at the TNNA Summer 2017 tradeshow.
Rachel needlepointing at her booth at the TNNA Summer 2017 tradeshow.

Q: Who or what inspires you most when it comes to needlepoint?

A: Things that make me happy in everyday life: my garden, anything pink, silly sayings, celebratory sips & sweets

Rachel’s darling garden- who wouldn’t be inspired?
Rachel’s darling garden- who wouldn’t be inspired?

Q: When did you begin to design needlepoint?

A: Several years ago. I wanted to stitch a clutch- something fun and conversational- but couldn’t find a canvas. I designed the lime wedge, added my monogram in pink, and was delighted by both the process and the outcome. My local needlepoint shop, Beehive Needlearts, was delighted too- they wanted to stitch it, then their customers did too. Which led to more purse designs, then bracelets, and then a collection grew with their encouragement and support.

Rachel’s first design, perfect for summer…
Rachel’s first design, perfect for summer…

Q: What do you like to watch during a Netflix & Needlepoint binge session?

A: Downtown Abbey and Jane Austen films/series- I love when the characters are stitching in a scene along with me! Some of their quotes would make great needlepoint pillows too!

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Q: Your needlepoint line consists of wearables like bracelets and handbags. What is your most treasured needlepoint wearable?

A: I don’t think I’ve stitched it yet- it’s actually an idea you proposed that I’m just charmed by- a handbag version of my garden. All the things I love- picket fence, pink flowers, bunnies, bees- and I love that the idea was shared by a friend and fellow designer.

All things Rachel loves- her garden, pink, and I even spy a little bunny!
All things Rachel loves- her garden, pink, and I even spy a little bunny!

Q: Be honest, how many canvases are in your “needlepoint stash?” Which one are you going to stitch next?

A: More than I thought now that you made me count- close to 30! My summer project is a darling coral bracelet and necklace set by Kate Dickerson- I just kitted it with shimmery silks and pearl beads- perfect for vacation.

Kate Dickerson’s gorgeous coral necklace (https://www.katedickerson.com/). Now I want to do one as well!
Kate Dickerson’s gorgeous coral necklace. Now I want to do one as well!

Q: If you were to host a needlepoint get together, what would you serve?

A: Sips & Sweets! My signature watermelon margaritas. Maybe mini key lime pies, coconut cupcakes, strawberry shortcakes. You can see what influences my designs!

How perfect? Rachel’s watermelon canvas with a watermelon margarita, of course! Get Rachel’s signature recipe here (http://www.racheldonleyneedlepointdesigns.com/inspirations.html)
How perfect? Rachel’s watermelon canvas with a watermelon margarita, of course! Get Rachel’s signature recipe here.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a needlepoint designer?

A: I love seeing finished projects! It’s so fun to see how each needlepointer makes a design their own with fiber choices, stitch selections, and names or monograms.

A finished model of Rachel’s Nantucket Lightship Basket canvas, my favorite of her line. I just finished stitching mine!
A finished model of Rachel’s Nantucket Lightship Basket canvas, my favorite of her line. I just finished stitching mine!
Working on my own Rachel Donley Canvas in Quechee, VT.
Working on my own Rachel Donley Canvas in Quechee, VT.

Q: What advice would you give to needlepoint designers hoping to start their own line?

A: Utilize social media! It’s a wonderful way to market your ideas, receive feedback, meet friends in the industry, and get inspired!

Check out Rachel’s social media for sneak peeks of new designs, like her topiary alphabet line.
Check out Rachel’s social media for sneak peeks of new designs, like her topiary alphabet line.

Rachel’s Facebook

Rachel’s Instagram

Rachel’s Website

Q: Where is your dream stitching destination this summer?

A: I would love to get back to Nantucket and to visit needlepoint shops and friends along the Cape.

Rachel and I are having a joint trunk show at Erica Wilson on Nantucket this July! Stop by for 20% off our designs
Rachel and I are having a joint trunk show at Erica Wilson on Nantucket this July! 

Thank you, Rachel, for giving us a glimpse into your world of needlepoint!

Rachel and I at the TNNA Columbus tradeshow
Rachel and I at the TNNA Columbus tradeshow
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