I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

Sharing a common thread with those who love the art of hand embroidery

Monday, December 1, 2014

Did you know that J C Penny once sold embroidery kits?

  I found this out when I purchased this beautiful stitched piece at a junk store. It was lying underneath a few things on a table and I just happened to see a corner of it, when I pulled it up.
 Someone had written on the back that it was purchased at the downtown J C Penny store in 1978.
The entire piece  is so beautifully stitched 
 and at first I thought that is was an already stitched picture that was purchased from the store. 
 However, I researched and found that it was actually a stamped kit that looks like this.The company that supplied J C  Penny these kits was 

Paragon Needle Craft
Paragon made 127 kits from 1937-1982 and are still making kits today.
Little is known about Paragon Needlecraft except that it was in business for 60+ years selling quilt kits and different kinds of needlecraft kits thru stores such as: J.C. Penny, Sears, Macy’s, etc and catalogs, especially thru Lee Wards. The following is taken from an online site about National Media Corporation which is headquartered in Encino, CA.
 National Paragon Corporation was engaged in the needlecraft business for more than 60 years. In 1984 it formed National Syndication, Inc., a subsidiary that managed a variety of specialty catalogs and mail-order businesses. In October 1985 National Paragon filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Reform Act. A year later it emerged from Chapter 11 and in November 1986 acquired Media Arts International as part of its approved reorganization plan


The one who stitched this piece so beautifully did not sign her name to it..........these are things I always look for in stitched pieces. 
For years I have been looking for the right picture to hang in our dining room above the doorway . This stitched piece looks perfect for that spot.
How about you? Did you know that J C Penny once sold these kits?
Did you ever purchase and stitch one yourself? 
I would love to hear!

16 comments:

wenhkc said...

How wonderful to be able to rescue a stitched piece, and find just the right place for it.

lil red hen said...

First, this is beautifully stitched! Second, I wasn't aware the kits were sold in these stores; however, I have purchased crewel embroidery kits from either Lee Wards or Herschniers (sp) catalogs.

The picture has found a perfect home!

Prairie Patch Quilts said...

You found a treasure in the cross stitch picture. And you found the perfect spot to hang it. Very nicely stitched. Happy for you. I did not know about J C Penny selling stitching kits.

Sherri Farley said...

The perfect location indeed. I didn't know J C Penney sold kits, but I ordered a couple kits from catalogs ages ago. Can't remember who sold them. I used to really enjoy embroidery but haven't done much for a long time. The quilt shop in Branson has an entire section of embroidery patterns. Reminds me of the 5 & dime store. Recently I purchased an iron on Sunbonnet Sue Sunday, Monday etc. pattern, flour sack tea towels & a box of color sticks. They look like crayons, you fill in the spaces, iron the color in place, then embroider the edges. When I was young we did basically the same thing with crayons. This is supposed to be much better. Did you ever do that? Hopefully I can get some done this winter. You inspire me.

Jane S. said...

I remember when our local JC Penney store discontinued their embroidery kits. I bought one, a crewel kit of some wildflowers in a glass jar, and I still have it. It remains unworked but I really will get around to it one day. Really! It's only been 30 years, what's the rush? ;)

Linda said...

I did not know that J C Penney once sold embroidery kits, but if I am not mistaken, I think F W Woolworth used to. Gorgeous embroidery, I love it!

Preeti said...

It's a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing the information!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

What a find. You have given it the perfect home. I have shopped at Penny's forever and I never did see a stitch kit there, but then it's hard to remember EVERYTHING ~lol~

Gina E. said...

Oh Kathleen, that is so beautiful. It just tears me apart when I find something like that in a thrift shop. Like you, I can't help rescuing them and bringing them home to hang on a wall. It's crazy I know, but I hope that the mystery stitchers who worked the masterpieces I now own, will somehow know that they are much loved and in a good home...

Debra said...

You picked the perfect place to hang it-and it is so beautiful. I have never tried cross-stitch, but of course, my grandma made lots of pieces. I never would have guessed Penny's sold the kits-that's amazing.

Betty Lou said...

The original maker would be so pleased to know that her piece is hanging in a place of honor in your home. It tears me up when I see beautiful stitchery abandoned in an antique store. I didn't know Penny's sold embroidery kits but I do remember they sold yard goods and of course their Advance patterns. In the 50's they issued a free apron pattern called the Cinderella Apron, they are quite pricey on Ebay now.

Cindy Kissick said...

I love the picture and what a great job they did! Perfect place to hang it too. I have an old 1948 Aldens catalog and I know you were able to order fabric, notions, machines, but not kits. Interesting...

KathyB. said...

I remember kits being sold in all those stores, and stitched a few from them myself. I did not know much about the history of Paragon though. It is indeed a beautiful piece and I think you really did find just the right thing to hang above the door-way !

ina said...

It's indeed a lovely piece.

Marie said...

I didn't know about these stitched kits or where they were sold. How sad they filed for bankruptcy...a statement about women's lack of interest in such things as time changed. Now I think there is a resurgence in interest, at least among SOME women. Sadly the company isn't still there.

Oh, Kathleen, how behind I am with you and everyone else! I saw your very sweet comments on my recent post and I don't think you've seen my piece-fulness blog post about all the needlework and sewing I have been doing in the last few months. I was in a whirlwind of activity and then when we delivered the stuff to the Children's Home I sort've shut down. I was so exhausted I have just been taking one day at a time...haven't even decorated for Christmas and just finished my cards! But, I feel happy right now, and really good about those projects and hope to do more. Hope all is well with you! Hope you have a beautiful and very blessed Christmas!

Jeannette Winters said...

I embroidered this exact same home sweet home kit about 35 years ago. I love it and it hangs in my kitchen above the windows that I look out on behind my kitchen sink. Unfortunately, I did not sign and date it. But, I still love it after all these years.