We first crossed paths with needlepoint artist Pam Nichols when she left her “WOW!!! JUST WOW!” Google review about her experience with CraftOptics. We were, naturally, thrilled to learn what a positive experience Pam had with our product. And very excited to see her work and hear all about why she loves needlework—and CraftOptics too!Keep on reading to find out Pam’s history with needlework, why she so enjoys the process and her willingness to rip things out and start over if something just isn’t quite right (Can you relate? And guess what, CraftOptics can really help with that!).
What do you love best about creating?
It channels your energies. It makes you think. It makes you relax. It’s just a very good overall experience. You have to do some math, you have to think about which threads are going to work with which stitch. It’s just a whole puzzle piece that you put together and, ultimately, come out with something that you’re very happy with and very proud to display.
Tell us a little about your history in creating
I first started way back in high school. I didn’t do it a lot when my kids were little—I was busy sewing their clothes instead! My youngest daughter kicked me back into needlepoint. She was getting married, and she said she’d like to have some needlepoint stockings for her fireplace—I had some that my mother-in-law had made for me years ago. I was on a mission to get those made for my daughter and that’s what got me back into it. I have four kids. I’ll get around to everyone eventually.
Please share a favorite project—or something you’re working on now
It’s hard to pick a favorite because they’re all a little bit different—it’s kind of like picking your favorite child. You do kind of bond with them as you’re working on a project because this is not a fast artform and even a tiny one takes weeks.
I’d have to say my all-time favorite is my Texas flag pillow. I bought it several years ago, worked on it for a bit and put it away because I got frustrated with it. When I picked it up about a year later, the thread colors had bled, and it was a mess. I took the whole thing and ripped it out and started over; I’m not afraid to do that. I’ve come to look at ripping something out as progress, just one step toward ultimately getting where you want to go. And CraftOptics is extremely helpful with that, which is very important in needlework. If you cut your mesh, your project is ruined.
It took me several months to finish that pillow, but I think it’s gorgeous. I made a leather pillow out of it—I make a lot of my work into pillows because I don’t have a lot of wall space. This one has some fringe and some Texas stars accenting the leather.
I also have a Zuni bear with feathers on its back that I really like. And a project where I got to use some leather my dad gave me more than 30 years ago, a thunderbird. That one came together really nicely and it’s special because of that link to my father. Most of my projects have something to do with the Southwest or Texas—though I’ll do the occasional Christmas ornament or stocking.
When did you start using CraftOptics glasses?
I’d gotten to a point where I was finding it more difficult to see. I typically work with pretty fine mesh and I couldn’t see the holes anymore. I bought a big magnifying glass with a light and that worked—but only when I was at my “station.” It wasn’t portable. That point was really brought home to me when two of my granddaughters wanted to learn how to needlepoint. I realized I didn’t have a place to sit where the three of us could work together and I was able to see.
Fortunately, I was involved with a stitches club through Ellen Johnson, who has a needlepoint company, Serendipity Needleworks. She’d talked about CraftOptics and they seemed really helpful so I investigated. Based on her recommendation and the great policy CraftOptics offers—you can try them for 45 days and return them if you don’t like them—I figured I couldn’t go wrong.
Tell us why you love CraftOptics.
They are just absolute gamechangers. I can literally put them on and do my needlework anywhere I want. To my kids’ houses, to the pool, in the car (as the passenger!). I bring them to bed and needlepoint while I’m watching TV. They’ve opened up a whole new world for me.
I got them with the DreamBeam light of course; that’s invaluable. It eliminates the shadows, which is so helpful. And I even bought an extra battery pack because I knew I’d use these a lot—and I do!
Anything else you’d like to add?
It sounds like a cliché, but get these—you absolutely won’t regret it. Yes, they’re pricey, but they’re worth every penny.
And you’ll probably find yourself using your CraftOptics for other things too. Between the magnification and the bright light, they really open up your world and give you another tool in your toolbox. I have four dogs and they’re great for looking into their ears. And they’re perfect for things like removing splinters. I think you’ll find that there are so many things you never even thought of that are much easier to do thanks to CraftOptics.