It is now Feb. 1 in Austin, Texas - but I cheated and peeked last night at Sharon B's blog, as it was already that date in Australia. I had resolved this month not to do needlepoint again, but after taking a break this morning to "cruise" pictures and posts and comments - I have decided to do this thing with the "evolution" and growth of my own work and experience with needlepoint design and teaching in the last 40 years - after all, that is a lifetime for some people (including my third child). I am amazed to see people asking questions such as "what is needlepoint canvas" etc. I will say that for me it is much more versatile than a fabric, which can be a bit fragile for pillows - and would never do for a rug or chair seat. Granted, the background has to be filled in, but that is part of the relaxation and enjoyment of the craft. Way back in the late 60's, when I first became aware of needlepoint and the painted canvas, we had nothing more for stitching than wool or cotton floss - and the term "Needlepoint" meant tent stitch, either diagonal (basketweave) or continental (suitable only on Penelope canvas) We did use decorative stitches for emphasis and interest, but sparingly, as most designs, such as my Oriental porcelain collection, (and my current Talavera designs) were too "busy" to further confuse with more texture. To make a long story short - I can remember waaaaay back when: we stitched only with wool and basketweave. We have so many more possibilities now with wonderful fibers, the exposure to zillions of new stitches,etc., but at times it is a bit overdone in my opinion. In my recent work in the last year, as I have been exposed to the Art Crazy Quilt via Allison Aller and Sharon B., I have given myself the freedom to do what I call canvas "embroidery" enhancement - because in needlepoint, that's what it is. A whole new world opened for me in design!! True needlepoint, as it was done as "Berlin work" in Victorian times, was only worked as tent stitch - usually continental stitch on a background with preworked center motif. Now we have incorporated embroidery into our work, and it can be lovely and interesting. I have been resurrecting things I was doing in the 70's, as I think they are timely - and this is what has brought me to the decision to once again do needlepoint for my February TIF - 40 years of evolution and back to the beginning with modern improvements. I had already dug out this JULIA pillow - hoping to finish for my little Julia, who just had her 9th birthday. I didn't - but will soon. I started it when she was four years old, and could just recognize her name. Shame on me. Anyway - the version of Gingham checks is one of the first things I did in about 1972, as I had painted the old Quilt applique design, Sunbonnet Sue, on canvas, and wanted to make it a bit more interesting with a gingham checked border and dress. Love those Scotch stitches, as they go faster! This is another use of the charted designs I chose to resurrect about four years ago - the "Lace" replicas in needlepoint, and am wondering if they could also be done on linen or other x-stitch fabric. Again, with so many gorgeous shiny, glittery, sparkling fibers available - we can do all kinds of things with lace that couldn't be done with wool or cotton to be effective. More later - this has me going now! Time to get to work.