The Blair Stitch Project


The first day of fall corresponded with the first Christmas pitch to hit my inbox. It was from the direct-to-consumer needlepoint accessory purveyor Tucker Blair. Their soft-sell advertisement announced that custom monogramed items need to be order by Tuesday, September 30th, for guaranteed holiday delivery.

For those who like to see how things are made, the company has info as well as a video on this page. — CS

38 Comments on "The Blair Stitch Project"

  1. No self respecting adult male over 22 should be carrying a wallet that looks like this.

  2. Yes, I’d like one of those. Could you put “ugly” on one side and “wallet” on the other?

  3. I’d agree that a green wallet with white letters on it isn’t quite optimal, but my main issue with needlepoint wallets is one of durability. I expect wallets to last a couple of decades (I’m on my third wallet now and may never need to get another one), and I’m not sure that a needlepoint wallet would be able to do that.

    Needlepoint belts are another story. You can never have too many of those. Even though my family has been hard-core WASPs for many generations, my wife and I moved to California when my sons were fairly young. Young enough so that they really just know California, so that they missed both the good and bad points of growing up in the New England WASP culture. (They didn’t even go to prep schools!) But when my younger son brought three needlepoint belts to Scout camp one year, I realized that they might actually have absorbed a bit of it from me.

  4. Goodness, that heading gave me a terrible shudder. For one horrible moment I thought Tony Blair was up to something on our escape from the raucous realities of this whacky world, otherwise known as Ivy Style.
    See Christian, i still dig your site, even if I do occasionally find some of the commenters (not to mention their corroborators) particularly unreasonable.
    It’s my thoroughly outdated English sense of fair play; a shocking burden in today’s world, as a perceptive chap comme toi may imagine.
    So thank god for modern jazz…..and soft shoulders, of course.

  5. We seem to be running out of material.
    I guess we can expect some posts on jazz or football next.

  6. Jazz = running out of material? Jazz gave birth to this site’s entire existence, via my Miles goes to Andover story for RL Mag in 2008.

  7. Jazz ran out of material in about 1970.

  8. Ha! Nice quip.

  9. Not to belabor anything here, but Jazz (along with Hollywood) was instrumental in getting the natural shoulder look out of the Northeast and allowing regular guys like myself here some 60 years later, to be able to wear the style I so love without any WASP baggage. Not that I don’t have respect for that aspect of the heritage of the clothes also. But there’s nothing like putting on that Verve or Blue Note record and then getting lost for the next 30 minutes in the sounds in the grooves and the clothes on the album sleeve.

  10. @ Worried Man.

    Miles ran out of material in about 1970, but rock/fusion wasn’t for everyone. There’s as much jazz material around today as there ever was, particularly in Europe.

  11. @Bags’ Grove
    I was being a bit facetious. But for my taste in jazz, the joke isn’t too far from truth. But I’m always into getting turned onto new stuff. That Timo Lassy stuff is right up my street.

  12. Sorry…. Bags’ GrOOve.

  13. And “on to” not “onto”. Dang IPhone.

  14. @ Worried Man.

    But “new stuff” has to offer something innovative and original, not something tried and tested. Jazz should stretch you. ECM have it in abundance.

  15. I can’t say I agree with that. All I’ll say is, if I like it I like it. I haven’t been exposed to much ECM stuff that really grabbed me.

  16. I find Trad style so appealing that even the jazz and the frat connections aren’t enough to turn me off to it.

  17. ironchefsakai | September 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm |

    Perfect punning, Christian.

  18. Not another post-1970 Miles argument….

  19. @ Worried Man.

    Isn’t Keith Jarrett supposed to grab everyone? Now I’m being facetious.

  20. ^
    Well, he’s an undeniably stellar pianist. Perhaps Christian is a fan? He has been known to break out some really funky dance moves on stage too, which are pretty entertaining.

  21. @ Worried Man.

    Funky dance moves? Christian? Uh-uh! Wreaks absolute havoc with the armpits of his sack jackets.
    As for Jarrett’s stellar status, there are two or three pianists I’d now place above him for inventiveness and innovation; all European.

  22. ^
    No, Jarret breaks out the funky dance moves at the piano when on stage. Maybe not any more, but back in the 70s – 80s he would stand up from the bench and just start getting down while he was playing. I have it on good authority that Christian will also sometimes succumb to the groove and just knock over the bench a la Jerry Lee Lewis and start pounding on the ivories with reckless abandon while howling lyrics about blog spammers.

    But inventiveness and innovation don’t always add up to good music in my book. This is where a lot of fusion and contemporary jazz falls short in my opinion.

  23. That’s sorta true. About 15 years ago I tried to play Lewis-style rock and roll. It’s certainly fun to “hammer on the keys,” even though, as Marlene Dietrich coos, “a little pianissimo is always bound to please.”

  24. Yeah, sometimes you’ve just gotta “tickle it out”.

    I’ve had the urge to do a total Keith Moon number on my drums, like using the ride cymbal to chop the floor tom in half, but then I’d probably just break down into tears. I take more pride in my drums than I do my car. Unlike my car, they’re actually appreciating in value as they get older.

  25. There’s a bassist in my town who is really into free jazz a la Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and the like. The cats around here will pay five figures for a double bass that’s considered “middle level.”

    I don’t know exactly how much this guy paid for his bass but he gets so into his music (well, some would call it music) when he’s trying to create new sounds and such, he’s utterly destroying it. Once, he was playing arco (with the bow) and making a percussive sound by hitting the bow on the side of the bass. After the music ended, he realized he chipped four or five square inches of wood off the instrument, almost boring a hole entirely through it.

    Due to unrelated circumstances, he’s no longer in the music school.

  26. Perhaps we can end this needlepoint post by repeating the very first and accurate comment on the subject.

    AEV’s: “No self respecting adult male over 22 should be carrying a wallet that looks like this.”

    Even if they like Jazz..

  27. @ Worried Man.

    I saw KJ’s “funky moves” and worse, his “sing” along, once in concert; totally altered my perception of him. Bill Evans was always my benchmark.

  28. Averill Archer | September 29, 2014 at 8:07 am |

    As much as I appreciate that Worried Man and Bags Grove have found one another, might I respectfully suggest that they carry on this tedious conversation by email as it has zero to do with Ivy and precious little to do with music.

    I believe that there is a dedicated site for this kind of inanity. Moreover, it affords the inane who post there the option of adding comical selfies taken in locked washrooms, or against garden fences.

    I am informed that Worried Man is well aware of this.

  29. @ Averill Archer
    What’s the harm in posting a few comments on a post that otherwise is getting zero traction and has essentially nothing to do with “ivy” in and of itself? Seems Christian should also be warned against adding further input as well, since he also entered the conversation. It would serve some of you well to lighten up a bit.

  30. Averill Archer | September 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm |

    @ Worried Man

    Don’t make me laugh.

    This post was hijacked. And an opportunity was lost.

    Instead of having an interesting discussion on what indeed makes a wallet an Ivy wallet, and where such an accessory ought to be properly stowed, without causing producing unnecessary and perhaps harmful fabric straining, and possibly embarrassing ‘bulges’, we had to endure an interminable exchange, which clearly did not engage the majority, even though out of politeness our host and a couple of others played along.

  31. I prefer a thin bifold leather wallet. Nothing too bulky. I’m currently carrying a Harris Tweed wallet that has been surprisingly durable after about a year of use and I get compliments on it almost every time I break it open to shell out money.

  32. @ Worried Man.

    I’ll second that, adding the following, purely for Averill’s edification, lifted from “The Ivy Look”:
    “Ivy clothes were addictive. I got hooked the first time I saw them being worn by the pilgrims of modern jazz who inhabited the London based art department of Marvel Comics where I first worked back in the early 1960s. It was an insiders world of narrow lapelled sharp Ivy suits, narrow knitted ties and narrow haircuts. The soundtrack to this cool, detached world was the music of Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and Jimmy Smith. This was a world I wanted into and like a sponge proceeded to soak up all it had to offer”.
    (Thanks for such a wonderfully evocative opening passage, Graham)

  33. @ Averill Archer.

    “An interesting discussion on what indeed makes a wallet an Ivy wallet, blah, blah….stowed….straining….bulges”??? Oh Averill, you can’t be serious!!!
    I’m the one who’s laughing…like crazy. You’ve made my day, man!

  34. Regarding Averill’s point, I will say that keeping a slim silhouette is integral to the particular look that I like. So having a bulging wallet keeping your hook vent from closing can incumber this desired end. I really can’t stand to keep anything in my pockets. I employ my jacket pockets for my cell phone and keys, but in the hot summer months when I forgo the jacket any degree of bulk in my trouser pockets is irksome. Usually I’ll remove my phone and keys as soon as I get to work or home. I would love to only use a small money clip, but it doesn’t seem the most secure way to keep your folding cash and cards.

  35. @ Worried Man.

    Careful, you’ll upset Averill even more. You should by now realise that it is only Ivy wallets (quarter inch swelled edge of distinction, without any padding, three sections used as two) that are up for interesting discussion, not your common or garden variety. Perish the thought.
    But your bulging wallet causing your hook vent from closing is a cause of great concern for all Ivy devotees. The stuff of nightmares.
    Good lord, I don’t think it’s you and I who’ve found each other, more you and Averill, and your wacky wallets!
    Unless, of course, it was all done tongue-in-cheek. Yes, you old kidder…..

  36. Hahaha. You seem to know me too well Mr. Groove, whoever you are, as it seems you called me right out. But aside from that slight sally, I was being forthright.

  37. @ Worried Man.

    i think Averill has retired hurt, and just when he’d/she’d got you to finally open up that famously bulging wallet of yours. Do you think it may have had something to do with our lack of interest in needlepoint? I hope not. We must remember to slip the odd word about needlepoint and/or Ivy wallets into future discussions, by way of reparation. Meantime i truly hope this little imbroglio hasn’t left you even more of a worried man; one tends to worry about such things.

  38. I do approve of a needlepoint belt for a man as it is a hallmark accessory in the prep wardrobe, however, a needlepoint wallet is fine during the prep school years, but its appearance should end there.

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