Prior to designing her own needlepoint canvas line, Jessica Tongel was a shop painter. She lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and two daughters – Charlotte (18 who just left for college) and Eleanor 15. Along with her canvas designs, she also designs kneelers for some churches.
Jessica has been needlepointing for over 25 years and comes from a long line of women who do needlework. Her grandmother was an amazing bargello stitcher, and Jessica loved watching her create pillows they had all over their beach house. Jessica's mother is an avid knitter. She also has a talented aunt gifted in embroidery and crocheting. Jessica hopes one day her girls will decide to pick up the needles to continue the family tradition.
We sat down with Jessica and asked her 20 questions.
Favorite needlepoint project. I have done SO many but I think one of my favorite ever was the kneeler that I painted for our church. It was one of 66 in this particular chapel. I has a hive and four bees on it representing my hive. Bees were on my wedding dress so it’s extremely special.
On your needlepoint wishlist. Gosh…what ISN’T on my wish list….I love all the Labors of Love birds that have the feather tails. I have about 7 in my stash and hope to have the whole collection one day. I also love the Stitch-Its angels!
Dream stitching spot. Anywhere in a chair on the beach
13 or 18 Mesh Canvas. 18 for smaller 13 for larger. I love both
Last book you read and liked. The last book I read I liked was “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict. It’s fiction but it’s about J P Morgan’s personal librarian and she is Black and has to hide her true identity and pass as white to carry out a lasting legacy that enriched out nation
Favorite flower. Peony!
Guilty pleasure. Food: soft serve ice cream cone with the hard chocolate topping; Personal: paraffin wax treatment when getting a pedicure and manicure
On your nightstand. My light for stitching in bed, my ort jar from Monticello, my beloved lab Sadie’s picture and collar, perfume, and mentholaum, iykyk!
Currently listening to. The Big Little Lies soundtraack
Currently watching. Gossip Girl reboot since I’ve seen everything
If there were more hours in the day. I would finish all my half stitched projects! Especially a backgammon board that I have almost completed.
Can’t leave the house without. Red lipstick, my iphone, and a small project bag in the purse
Coffee or tea. TEA!
Favorite holiday to celebrate. Thanksgiving
Wardrobe staples. Lululemon leggings and shorts, rainbow flip flops, clear pony tail holders, white jeans
Favorite places to shop. J.Crew, Roller Rabbit, KC Needlepoint, my local LNS The Stitching Studio, eBay, and any vintage or antique shop - you never know what you can find!
Creative inspiration. Everywhere! I find it from things I grew up with, places I’ve been or lived, it comes from all over.
Best piece of advice. Don’t sweat the small stuff, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter!
Life mantra. Treat everyone the same, no matter their station in life. Kindness always wins.