by Little V
I don't really remember how I first got involved in making needlepoint belts- but I do know that my best friends from the barn and I used to spend our sleepovers needlepointing...when we were 12.
When I was learning how to needlepoint, I started with handpainted canvases. I don't have this belt with me right now, but I made a pirate belt.
Canvases are expensive though, and some of the more simple needlepoint patterns are very simple and easy to do!
Such as this argyle one, or the nautical flags, and the one with the cute little sailboats. I have also made a lot of rowing ones for my boyfriend, which are very simple in school colors.
Making them from scratch is a lot cheaper- the actual canvas is 18 pt, and will cost ~$5-10 at a needlepoint store. The canvas should be at least 5 inches tall, and 40 inches wide. You will only need to needlepoint your waist size minus 4 inches in width, and I usually fill 24 squares in height (1.25 inches). So, for example, if you have a size 30 waist, then you only need to do 26 inches.
This is one I did in Georgetown colors and with Georgetown oars
Most recently, I've been working on a belt for Jack with coats of arms. The detail on the shields is quite complicated. Jack wrote a book on heraldry and simplified the illustrations for the coats of arms in paint, so I want to make sure to do them justice. The shields are for all the different schools he has attended- BB&N, Georgetown, Oxford, and his college at Oxford, Brasenose.
Here it is, in progress:
Canvases cost around $100, and some will include the actual wool as well. My favorite part is picking out the colors!
If you take it to your local needlepoint store they will send it away and charge you $150. I found a leather man in Kentucky (he makes leather halters for fancy thoroughbred race horses) who does a beautiful job for $50. I havn't sent him a belt in a year or two but I think he is still reachable. He has also done dozens of keychains for me, which are a lot quicker and quite cute.