Stylish Stitches

The homespun craft of needlepoint is getting awfully chic. According to the Craft Yarn Council of America, about 38 million women practice a yarn-based hobby, up from 34 million in 1998. Many of them these days are stylemakers who, instead of cross-stitching throw pillows, are creating fashion accessories such as belts, purses and bracelets, often decorated with their names or cutesy icons like ladybugs or mushrooms. Stitched pansy purses designed by needlepoint doyenne Erica Wilson were featured in designer Anna Sui's latest runway show, inspiring trendsetters to take up the needle. Sales of needlepoint purse kits are up in some craft...

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