Q. I am interested in having a photo of my grandson printed on canvas for needlework. Is there someone who provides this service and the materials for doing it? I wrote to Judy Roberts, the lady you suggested, but received no reply.
A. After many false starts I have found the answer for you! Judy Roberts, Nancy Jacobsen, and McNeill Needleworking Crafts, I discovered, do not provide this service, although I was told they did.
The most accurate and detailed needlepoint possible from a photo is done on the computer, and you can send for a kit with the corret color and shade of Persian yarn, 12-by-12-inch canvas, instructions and guide to the stitches.
The trick is a TV camera connected to a computer. The camera scans the photograph and the computer produces a printout in the form of a coded graph pattern, so complete that each square includes a symbol indicating the precise yarn color to use.
ComputerPoint, Inc., creators of the portrait-in-a-kit idea, conducted a survey to determine the subjects people might be interested in making. Babies, naturally, ranked at the top of the list, with grandmothers and brides following close behind. Dogs and cats also scored high, which, the company said, is fortunate because the computer design achieves especially realistic effects with fur. Other favorite categories turned up in the survey: houses, boats, and children's artwork.
Full-Color kits are available but to do these you must be an advanced needlepointer. To my mind, by far the most attractive are those done in monochromatic colors because it gives the effect of an old photograph. You could work in shades of sepia; rose beige, chocolate, blue, green or black and white -- this might be particularly effective in cross stitch on fiddler's cloth -- that natural evenweave fabric with a pebble effect. For a portrait of this type you could work the head only, leaving the background open.
A standard needlepoint kit in shades of one color is $49, measures 12 by 12 inches and can be done from any photograph. It comes from Needlepoint Portraits, P.O. Box 9, Green Farms, Conn. 06436. This interesting technique makes your handwork into an heirloom, more permanent than the photograph alone. Judging by the large amount of mail, everyone is interested in this technique and I do hope this address will finally be helpful to you.
Q. Help! My daughter and I have completed hooked-rug wall hangings which are a great source of personal satisfaction to us. However, a problem now confronts us -- how to take care of them. The shop owner who framed the canvas advised me not to vacuum them because the threads might loosen up.
A. There is a great gadget on the market called a Dust Buster. It is a small, hand-held vacuum ideal for hard-to-reach corners, car interiors and any place where a large vacuum won't fit. Although your everyday vacuum cleaner might be too powerful for hooked rugs, the Dust Buster would be perfect since it is not as powerful and you wouldn't even have to take the wall hanging down while cleaning it. Besides having an ideal appliance to keep your hooked rugs looking lovely, you will find that your Dust Buster is so useful around the house that you won't know how you lived without one! Dust Busters can be purchased at your local hardware or housewares store, and retail for $39.95.