On Point- Carol Jankowsky

I’m thrilled to feature stitcher extraordinaire Carol Jankowsky and her impressive projects in this week’s “On Point” series. Carol is a regular at Lycette and I always enjoy talking shop with her. As a stylish hostess in Palm Beach and Washington, D.C., Carol knows a thing or two about good taste. Read on to learn about Carol’s passion for needlepoint and how she is passing it on to younger generations.

Carol Jankowsky: Women on Point Lycette Designs

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

I learned needlepointing from my Mom during my early teens. I always enjoyed seeing my mom stitch either needlepoint or cross stitching—she made so many beautiful things. I would look forward to returning from school and hoping her bridge or mahjong game was still going on, because all her friends would also needlepoint when sitting out and I would join in when I had the time. My mother-in-law was also an avid needle pointer.
I always enjoyed seeing my mom stitch—she made so many beautiful things.
Carol Jankowsky: Women on Point Lycette Designs

Where is your favorite needlepoint shop? What do you love about it?

My favorite needlepoint shop when in Palm Beach is, of course, your beautiful Lycette. It is such a lovely and very inviting place to hang out and also get some sweet attention from your darling dog! In DC, I love The Point of It All. When in London, I adore Lady Palumbo’s Tappesserie! My poor husband recalls sitting and waiting many hours while I enjoyed picking out my latest project…all of my pretty evening bags are from there and Anya Hindmarch would do the lovely finishing. Lunch at Scalini on Walton St was worth his wait!
Carol Jankowsky: Women on Point Lycette Designs

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

I love watching many Netflix series while needlepointing.  I can’t wait for The Crown and Big Little Lies to return.

What is your personal style, and how do you needlepoint projects reflect it?

I love lots of color and texture mixed with beautiful accessories around the house, I adore mixing and matching. Chintz will never go out of style in my opinion! I suppose I would describe my ‘style’ as classic with a touch of contemporary. This combination makes me very happy!
I adore mixing and matching.

If you were to host a stitching get together, what would you serve?

My menu for a stitching lunch group would be either my shrimp salad, with a cheese soufflé, tomato aspic with a yummy herb mayo sauce, or a cold chicken curry salad with a soup to start along with salad, cheese, and the works. I have a delicious frozen lemon icebox tart recipe from a dear friend from Hawkinsville , Ga that I serve often! For a dinner menu, I would serve anything from my favorite, Alex Hitz. I love his Salmon with Gribisch sauce or his Lime Pork Tenderloin recipe. Anything he does is wonderful in my opinion. For dessert, something chocolate and runny!

What project are you currently working on?

Presently, I am working on a darling eyeglass case from Lycette! It is very bright and cheery….it will be easy to find in my bag!

Have you passed needlepoint onto your daughters? 

The good news is that my two daughters are also big needle pointers. They began as teens and really churn out fabulous work. We laugh at the shop when I bring in my daughter, Jill—she turns out canvases very quickly, the nicest work that I have ever seen! It is perfection and I love having my girls join me. We are now teaching my darling 9-year-old granddaughter. We’re now three generations having fun stitching together!

We’re now three generations having fun stitching together!

Well-Appointed Rooms

When selecting a needlepoint project, we often have visions of where we’ll place our finished handiwork before we’ve even picked out the fibers. Will it become a pillow and grace the living room sofa or find its way into our best friend’s kitchen in the form of a doorstop?

Luckily for us, inspiration abounds in the world of interiors where needlepoint has held a coveted space in some of the most revered rooms. Great stitchers before us including Mario Buatta incorporated charming canvases into their spaces while modern mavens such as interior designer Mallory Mathison continue to carve out a niche for beloved needlework pieces. Lending an inviting and collected sensibility, these conversation starters can be spotted in many a sophisticated setting.

Elsie de Wolfe’s private sitting room at Villa Trianon. Image via 1st Dibs.

Back in the early 1900s, needlepoint held court in none other than France’s famed Versailles courtesy of decorator Elsie de Wolfe. Guests of the grande dame of interiors were treated to tented dance floors, flowing champagne, and Villa Trianon’s rooms peppered with personality. De Wolfe’s private sitting room was bedecked with pillows emblazoned with her favorite sayings—”I believe in optimism and plenty of white paint!” and “Never explain, never complain.” 

This canvas was reproduced by the Windsor Conservation and covers the original one from 1928. When touring Castle Hill, one can see it in person. Image by David Kasabian via Architectural Digest.

Across the pond, needlepoint was also making a personalized statement at the grandest of homes in America. At Castle Hill, the Massachusetts estate of Chicago business magnate Mr. Richard T. Crane and his wife Florence, no detail was spared in creating a sumptuous manor tailored to the couple. A stitched vanity stool featuring Florence’s monogram and distinguished crane silhouettes (an ode to Mrs. Crane’s last name, of course!) sits pretty in her bathroom.

Bunny Mellon’s Oak Spring Farm Estate. Can you spy the “bunny” pillow? Image via Sotheby’s.
Here’s a close up!

Celebrated philanthropist, art patron, and gardener Bunny Mellon also had homes brimming with needlepoint. Stitched keepsakes, all created by the renaissance woman herself, lived harmoniously with her collection of modern art and antique heirlooms. As seen in Mellon’s Upperville, Virginia living room, a “You’re Nobunny Till Somebunny Loves You” pillow was a standout at the highly anticipated 2014 Sotheby’s auction of her estate.

C.Z. Guest’s cheeky needlepoint fits right in at House of Bedlam, the home of John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage.

It’s often in times of regret over not nabbing a have-to-have auction lot that we wonder who the lucky bidder was that took home the prize. In the case of socialite C.Z. Guest’s needlepoint collection, we can quit guessing and delight in the well-appointed approach the gents of Madcap Cottage have taken in displaying her pillows. “Living well is the best revenge” reads one—and that sentiment is especially true if acquiring a charming needlepoint jackpot is involved! 

Tory Burch’s desk looks out onto needlepoint pillows at the offices of her eponymous brand. Photo by William Waldron via 1st Dibs.

In the case of Tory Burch, her stitched collection enjoys prominent placement in her office designed by Daniel Romualdez. A richly lacquered wall and elaborately trimmed sofa make the perfect backdrop for a mix of eclectic canvases to pop. Perhaps, in true Tory Burch fashion (cue the sizable double “T” toting lady army!), her interiors will inspire a legion to take needle to canvas too.

Mallory Mathison’s Showhouse space featuring Lycette Designs works. Image via Traditional Home.

Most recently, Mallory Mathison’s ladies’ drawing room from the 2018 Southern Style Now Showhouse in Charleston took a dazzling turn as cover girl for the latest issue of Traditional Home. Lycette Designs was oh-so-thrilled to have created a “Chardonnay & Shih Tzus” design featured as a pillow in this spectacular space along with the ever-popular “I would prefer not to” mantra. Cheerful hues and an assemblage of time-honored decorating details are the perfect setting for needlepoint treasures! 

Hopefully, these lovely and considered spaces have provided plenty of inspiration for how you’ll showcase your finished projects. As always, we adore seeing how you’re living with your Lycette so please do tag us on Instagram—can’t wait to take a peek!

First image: A Mario Buatta Kips Bay Showhouse space featuring a needlepoint pillow. Image via The Glam Pad.