I have been painting my apartment over the past few weeks and today was dusting off the frames of the many needlepoints as I re-hang them and thought I would write a few words about their making. As luck would have it I also stumbled upon the traditional crosstich patterns of Jacob de Graaf this morning on his website Modern Folk Embroidery which were so inspiring. I have always had a passion for needlework of all kinds. It began with watching my Mother carefully embroidering a set of Deer from a kit which arrived with the images lightly printed in cyan blue and all the colors of floss included. I remember wanting to get my hands on those gorgeous skeins of cotton and do something creative with them even as a small child. I didn't begin doing my own embroidery however until years later when, inspired by an adorable Sailor Dog embroidered pillow in Marie Claire Idées that I did a needlepoint portrait pillow of my dog Toby. Another dog themed sampler in Marie Claire Idées tipped me over the edge forever. Inspired by that design, I began my first sampler which hangs to this day in my hall. (I borrowed heavily from that design as the kit was no longer available but I put in my dog Toby as well as some of my other favorite breeds). It was a visit to my Swedish friend Louise in Paris however that began my love of cross stitch. Her beautiful traditional Redwork samplers made me determined to learn that somewhat intimidating craft. My first efforts were a series of one color dog designs in a traditional folk style. I still love them for their simplicity but I upon close inspection one can find many beginners flaws! I continued designing patterns based on favorite themes such as vintage sewing, anthropomorphic kitchen utensils etc. and am currently finishing up a Christmas Dessert pattern based on the books of the Victorian homemaker Mrs. Beeton .