Women on Point – Betty Dankowski

I come from a long line of creative and talented needlepoint-savvy women!  My grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me.

Needlepoint has awakened me creatively and I find the endless possibilities inspiring.

When I first started needlepointing, I promised myself that before starting a new project I must finish the one I am working on… that lasted for about 6 months!

For me, it’s more than a creative outlet, it’s a way to clear my mind when the day becomes chaotic.

 It turns out that my needlepoint stash is forever growing like my collection of stripe shirts!

I am very excited to feature Betty Dankowski as a Woman on Point! Betty is as fabulous as her hometown of Montauk and loves needlepoint, stripes, scarves, and her pup Penny. Needless to say when we met at Lycette’s NYC trunk show this past June we had SO much to chat about.

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

I come from a long line of creative and talented needlepoint-savvy women!  My grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me.  I can recall looking on intently as my mom stitched away and making many visits with her to the local needlepoint shop.  After discovering Lycette online, I fell in love with all the canvases, and I had to have one! I (selfishly) purchased my mom the Staffordshire Dog canvas to stitch. It was great to see that canvas come together and I decided it was time to focus my creative energy on needlepointing too.  I purchased the Lycette Ginger Jar canvas and my mom patiently instructed me how. Fast forward a year … I’m hooked! For me, it’s more than a creative outlet, it’s a way to clear my mind when the day becomes chaotic.  The only problem: I don’t want to stop!

Who or what inspires you when it comes to needlepoint?

Seeing my completed work inspires me.  Needlepoint has awakened me creatively and I find the endless possibilities inspiring. What will this canvas become? A pillow, a chair cushion, a tray, or a clutch!?  Half the fun is finding the perfect fabric and trim to bring each canvas alive.

My sister has also has picked up needlepoint, so its been a great way for the three of us to bond. We love to see each other’s progress and finished work. I love when we’re together, getting lost in conversation and stitching. Penny is always close by too!

I find the needlepoint community on Instagram very inspiring as well. I love seeing how other people finish their canvases and which techniques they used. They’ve inspired me to learn new stitches, which add texture and dimension. Instagram has been a great source for me to connect with shops and other young needlepointers.

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

Unfortunately, our local needlepoint shop closed many years ago, but through the Instagram community and Google I found a few I love. Any time I’m in New York City I visit Annie and Company.  The staff is so knowledgeable and helpful.  The Picket Fence in Barrington, Rhode Island is another favorite. I recently took a class with the lovely ladies there and they’ve been wonderful about getting in canvases for me. I think needlepoint.com is the best online source for canvases and threads. The pieces I’ve sent them to be finished have come out beautifully! I also can’t wait to visit the Lycette shop in Palm Beach when it opens!

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

While I’m not-so-patiently awaiting the next season of The Crown, my “Needlepoint and Binge” sessions have included Billions on Showtime and almost anything on Bravo. I love a good documentary while I stitch and recently watched Love Means Zero, which is about tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and his students.

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

I think my personal style is reflected in my needlepoint projects for sure. My overall style is preppy and classic. My philosophies: it’s impossible to own too many stripes; a cashmere cable knit is always a good idea; and when in doubt add a scarf.  It turns out that my needlepoint stash is forever growing like my collection of stripe shirts! I like canvases with witty sayings, colorful florals, ginger jars, and Staffordshire Dogs. I love choosing colorful fabrics that coordinate with the canvases and I love me some trim!

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

What makes a good stitching get together is good food, great wine, and fantastic company! To drink I would serve rosé or a champagne cocktail. I then usually arrange a variety of cheeses to pair with my wine, a crudité plate, and – everyone’s favorite whether they admit it or not – pigs in a blanket.

What project are you currently working on? What has been your favorite project to date?

When I first started needlepointing, I promised myself that before starting a new project I must finish the one I am working on… that lasted for about 6 months! On average I work on two projects at a time. Those Christmas ornaments have deadlines to make!  I’m also working on Lycette’s Horse Bit canvas, which I plan on making into a clutch. While I adore all the pillows I’ve made, I really love the useful everyday pieces I’ve completed like my eyeglass case and scissor holder. I especially love the collar I needlepointed for my puppy Penny!  (She’s a big fan too!)

What is your favorite fiber to use?

My favorite fibers to use are pearl cotton, silk and ivory, and anything I have left over in my fiber bag.

What is your “dream” canvas?

I have so many “dream” canvases!  For starters, I would love to stitch a few custom pieces like a pillow with my puppy Penny on it, or a canvas with my monogram in a bamboo font or maritime signal letters. I’d love to do a brick cover with a pair of Staffordshire dogs or a ginger jar on it. I love the Hermes scarves I’ve collected over the years and think it would be great if they were somehow translated onto canvas! 

Thank you, Betty, for sharing your passion for needlepoint with Lycette! See you in Newport!

Women On Point- Katy Capo

On every vacation, the first thing I do is look up the LNS to meet locals and find unique canvases. 

Amidst all of the china, silverware, and brown furniture I found myself most drawn to my mother’s and grandmother’s needlework. To me, the pieces represented their time, their love, and their talents. 

I was inspired by a stunning safari themed backgammon board in a friend’s summer house. It was hand stitched by his grandmother and ended up as the centerpiece of after dinner cocktails, afternoons relaxing and competitive family fun. 

I am constantly inspired by new projects, unique stitches, fun finishes and the community of creative women (and a few really talented men) that instagram has helped to connect! 

I am thrilled to welcome one of my personal friends and stitching partner in crime, Katy Capo, as Lycette’s “Woman on Point.” Y’all probably know Katy from her Instagram, @asailorstitches, where she showcases her fabulous needlepoint projects and woven nantucket accessories.

Be sure to check out some of Katy’s work above and read our fun Q&A below.

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

I watched my mother and grandmother needlepointing when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until a cold, rainy summer trip to Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard that my mother taught me how. I didn’t keep up with it, but saved the projects my mother had bought – always planning to get back to it. After my mother passed away following a difficult battle with cancer, I found myself cleaning out my childhood home. Amidst all of the china, silverware, and brown furniture I found myself most drawn to my mother’s and grandmother’s needlework. To me, the pieces represented their time, their love, and their talents. It was a difficult time in my life, but I picked up those projects mom had bought me hoping to distract myself. Three years later, you’ll almost never find me sitting without a project on my lap – just like the lovely ladies who raised me. 

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

Instagram! I love the juxtaposition of modern technology and ancient art. I follow fabulous designers (Lycette was the first needlepointer I found on insta) and other stitchers and am constantly inspired by new projects, unique stitches, fun finishes and the community of creative women (and a few really talented men) that instagram has helped to connect! 

Where is your favorite place to get your needlepoint fix? In other words, which needlepoint shop is your favorite? 

Whichever is closest! On every vacation, the first thing I do is look up the LNS to meet locals and find unique canvases. That way, when I am back home with a new project – it keeps fun memories of a trip top of mind! 

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

This is a bit of a weird juxtaposition. I love ANYTHING Royals – right now it’s the Crown and Victoria (do I care about Victoria and Albert’s love life more than my own? Maybe!) But I am also down to binge any true crime investigation series – The Keepers, Making a Murderer, and all the OJ Simpson stories. I do a lot of stitching on my long commute, so I’m also partial to Needlepoint & Podcast and I can’t recommend Cover Up and My Favorite Murder enough for that! 

I adore that you needlepoint as an homage to your mother. What is your favorite needlepoint project that she made for you? 

Aww! Well, my very favorite project is one she made for my father, but gave to me when I joined my college’s sailing team. My father was an avid sailor, but passed away when I was young so I didn’t learn to sail until much later. When I took up his favorite hobby, she gave me a sign she had made for him. It reads “Happy Sailing” under an image of his boat – the Yankee Belle, an homage to his yankee heritage and southern belle home! 

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

I love a good stitch n b*tch and my favorite food for a warm summer get together is crab dip! It’s super easy, very festive and highly popular. Just keep it away from the canvases.

I also always serve dark chocolate squares for desert. If you put the chocolate in the fridge the morning before the get together, it won’t melt on your fingers and you can eat the chocolate while stitching away! 

Not only do you needlepoint, but you also basketweave gorgeous Nantucket bracelets and necklaces. When and how were you introduced to weaving? 

I always heard the stories of the incredible baskets made in Nantucket when I was growing up. But, I didn’t make it to Nantucket until I was 22. My first stop was the Craftwinds Guild and I was bowled over by the craftsmanship and detail of these traditional baskets. As a sailor and a history lover, I was enchanted by stories of mariners weaving baskets to pass the time while manning lightships off the coast of New England. I knew it was something I had to learn to do for myself! 

Why did you decide to turn your hobby into a business? 

I started my instagram account – A Sailor Stitches – as a way to share my favorite creative outlets: stitching and basket weaving. People started to ask me how to buy my bracelets. These first customers started my business for me, and I opened my etsy shop to keep up! 

Where can customers buy your darling bracelets? Will you work with a customer to create customs (example bridal party ect.)?

On my etsy shop – A Sailor Stitches www.etsy.com/your/shops/ASailorStitches, but the designs you see are just the tip of the iceberg. Nantucket Baskets have always been created to tell the story of the owner’s lives and passions and I love the opportunity to work with customers to design bracelets (or necklaces) that are all their own! Colors, weaving style, sizes and end caps can all be customized and the bracelets make an adorable addition to any event or group! 

What is your dream needlepoint canvas? 

This one is easy: a backgammon board! I was inspired by a stunning safari themed backgammon board in a friend’s summer house. It was hand stitched by his grandmother and ended up as the centerpiece of after dinner cocktails, afternoons relaxing and competitive family fun. Mine would (and hopefully will) represent my dual love of sailing and skiing and will be beautiful shades of blue. And of course monograms – there will definitely be monograms on it! 

Thank you, Katy, for sharing your passion for needlepoint with us! Katy is generously offering Lycette readers a 20% discount on her all her Sailor Stitches products with the code, LYCETTE20.