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Blog

How to Hibernate: Needlepoint with Janet Gregg

A. K. Lister

Looking for a way to while away the Winter? A new hobby or habit to help you relax, turn off, pass the time? Or, as Resident Needlepoint Professor Janet Gregg admits, to keep you from feeling completely unproductive when you binge-watch Bloodline in the span of a weekend? (Guilty.)

Needlepoint doesn't have to mean predictable patterns and colorways, nowhere more evident than in the lush, layered interiors of Gregg's Smith Street apartment in downtown Charleston. She has mastered the art of incorporating her uniquely modern sense of pattern with her mother's well-earned skill. They have been collaborating since Janet's childhood in Virginia; needlepoint the answer to the family's natural tendency towards constant activity, and elaborate projects that fostered social connection.

Gregg moved through several creative careers between Charleston and NYC -- floral design, fine jewelry-making, painting, and working with Charlotte Moss. Her needlepoint work reflects her multi-media experience, ranging from bright, flowing Pucci-style prints to graphic geometric designs. In her spaces, she effortlessly combines her own pillows (often her initial design or lettering, filled in by her mother) with a host of other prints, and sleek modern furniture with antiques from her parents' estate. The eclectic sense of collection on display in her previous home, an 1800s carriage house on Stoll's Alley, featured in House Beautiful last Summer.

Comfortable as she is in her new space, where she entertains on a regular basis despite her aversion to cooking, Gregg admits that she still feels like "a starving craftsman" most of the time. And while she misses her mentors (like Moss) close by, she adores her peers, and counts among her muses and proteges the likes of Sally King Benedict.

Gregg believes the true antidote to feeling unproductive is to "seize every single solitary moment so it doesn't slip away." She adamantly suggests a first-timer visit Cabbage Rose, on Broad Street in Charleston, where you can find a large piece of canvas to practice on and plenty of needlepoint wool -- the best of which is Pattern Ann.

Once you have the hang of it, start with either a pillow or a needlepoint belt, like the one she made for her nephew upon his recent graduation from Woodberry, including his school colors, mascot, nickname, jersey number, initials and graduation date. Above all, be patient! Take your time, which usually means about a month to complete a project. Gregg herself finds inspiration in knowing that anything is possible, if you set your mind to it...and there's something worth watching on TV.

For more information on needlepoint commissions or private lessons, contact us!