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!