After living in Europe for ten years, Jane Whitmire decided that the only way to bring home the beautiful art works she had seen was to translate them to needlepoint. And being an artist herself, she recognized that the impression, the feeling of those art works sometimes required changing the colors and interpreting the designs rather than duplicating them precisely. So she designed needlepoint kits ranging from Coptic cupids to contemporary abstractions, produced them on fine canvas, often handpainted, with the best wools, silks and sometimes beads and gold cording. Her catalog shows nearly fifty designs, but doesn't reproduce the rich colors and intricate shadings which are the most special quality of her kits. Thus, if you are interested in seeing their full glory before you buy, see the exhibit at Millicent Chatel Gallery, which continues until the end of this month. There will be about a hundred of Jane Withmire's textile designs - needlepoint pillows and pictures to buy as kits - and fabric collages that are her one-of-a-kind creations. Jane Whitmire needlepoint and wall hangings. On exhibit, Mlllicent Chatel Gallery, 225 Pennsylvaia Ave. SE. Through September Free Catalog of kits, $1, at exhibit or by mail: Jane Whitmire, 2353 S. Meade St., Arlington, Va. 22202. 684-8036