History of Needlepoint

1) Ancient Beginnings

The history of Needlepoint goes back over 2,000 years to the days of Ancient Egypt. Builders and architects would use small slanted stitches to tie up their housing tents. In addition to civilian usage, needlepoint-like designs on pieces of papyrus buried inside the tombs of various Egyptian Pharaohs.

Since then, stitches and embroidering were a staple of high society living across various continents. However, it wasn't until the early 17th century that needlework became an integral part of European culture.

2) European Renaissance

Upholstered furniture became fashionable prompting the use of more durable fibers made out of wool and thread.

At the time, needlework designs were drawn either by the amateur embroiderer, often from pattern books, or by professional embroiderers, who, until the 18th century, were hired by a wealthy family. Many royals, such as Mary, Queen of Scots, Marie Antoinette, were known to be avid stitchers.

Following the American independence, needlework in America gained popularity as a tool for young women to hone their sewing skills in preparation for making their own clothing.

3) The Industrial Revolution

It wasn't until 1869 when the word "needlepoint" was first seen in the Oxford Dictionary. At the time, it was defined as "a particular set of stitching techniques worked upon stiff openwork canvas".

Until the late 1800's, needlepoint canvases consisted of either single or double mesh canvas of linen or cotton. The number of stitches as well was generally limited in scale in comparison.

In the early 1900's, needlepoint started to gain even further popularity around the world. With the technological advances that took during the 1900's, increased resources combined with the improved workflows have made access to needlepoint even easier to the masses.

4) Modern Times

Nowadays, everything from needlepoint canvases, kits, needle minders, and fibers can all be found with just a few clicks of a button and shipped directly to your location.

With over 3,000 websites online related to needlepoint and growing each day, needlepoint is showing no signs of going away any time soon.