#Needlepoint rescues

Rescuing old needlepoint from the bottom drawer

I recently came across SPUN the #Society of the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint and got very excited! I have previously written about possible projects for recycled needlepoints and this approach adds yet another interesting perspective. blue boy 2 resized

SPUN was started by Mary Smell in 2009. It all began with the gift of an unfinished embroidered tablecloth from her 96 year old grandmother. Mary was upset to learn that this tablecloth was, after 30 years, still making her grandmother feel guilty about not finishing it.

Mary was a graduate art student at this time and says she experienced the same guilt as her grandmother. This lead to her becoming increasing interested in the phenomenon and stories around  unfinished textiles. Mary focussed on needlepoint and in 2008 began buying old canvases on Ebay.

Interestingly Mary chose to use white wool to finish the projects. The result is eerie. In this way she honours the work of the original stitcher yet she adds another layer, her own “finishing” which results in a completed canvas which remind me of restored frescos.smull2009_10_hi

On the SPUN website the organisation is described humorously as  a textile “welfare” organisation. Its mission is to “eliminate the worlwide phenomenon of unfinished needlepoint.”LutePlayer_lores



“All needlepoint is entitled to be fully completed and must be protected from ending up in the purgatory of a perennially incomplete state”.

The SPUN mission:

  1. Creating a public archive-at unfinishedneedlepoint.org. Images of unfinished needlepoint are documented before and after “completion” with accompanying stories of the unfinished work.
  2. Providing a forum – SPUN members share unfinished projects with one another.
  3. Assuaging the guilt – which is so often associated with non-completion. SPUN is there to help!!
  4. Finishing unfinished projects – Members dues and sales of work fund the effort to stop the problem of unfinished needlepoint before it starts!Stillife

So, if you have a stash of unfinished needlepoints or needlework it may be time rethink how they could be finished and what to do with them, for example:

  • a still life which you were going to frame could instead be cut and made into a stunning pair of cushions
  • change the colour scheme so that your unfinished section is stitched in opposite colours or use black and white
  • patchwork your unfinished canvases and make a handbag, cushion or upholster a footstool.

Whatever you do, keep stitching, share and enjoy the relaxing craft of needlepoint.
Happy stitching, Barbara

Studio Stitches




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