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