This Florida Native Is Bringing Back Needlepoint In a Big Way

Jessica Chaney’s Palm Beach, Florida, shop bears her great-grandmother’s name, but her lighthearted canvases are designed with a new generation of stitchers in mind.

Wall filled with needlepoint designs
The designs are all hand-painted. . Photo: Capehart Photography

When Jessica Chaney first launched Lycette (@lycettedesigns) back in 2016, needlepoint was hardly the splashy Instagram fodder that it is today. Then, the pastime seemed reserved for a generation of women who stitched samplers and their grandchildren's Christmas stockings while the younger crowd looked on.

Chaney, who tackled her first needlepoint project at age 12 or 13, saw a void in the market. She designed a line of canvases (mesh that stitchers use as their guide), but rather than painting them with the saccharine phrases often associated with the craft, she leaned into irreverent humor and a dose of never-stuffy nostalgia. (Think pillows that say "I would prefer not to" and images of traditional Staffordshire dogs in punchy colors). Two years in, she took the plunge and opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Palm Beach. "I had been selling [my designs] wholesale at the time and was getting really lonely at home," recalls the Boca Raton native. "I had worked in a needlepoint store before and missed the community surrounding it, so I decided to open one. I signed a three-year lease and thought, 'If this doesn't work out, I'll be 30 and can just figure it out from there.'"

But she didn't have to figure it out. "The day I opened, there were people waiting outside the store," Chaney says. "I was very nervous, thinking, 'Maybe this needlepointing hype is all in my head or on social media and not going to translate in person.' But the fact that there were stitchers eager to come in was really cool. I felt like I was going to be okay."

needlepoint in progress
A cheeky project is in progress. Capehart Photography

Now, four years later, Chaney has become the needlepoint community's hip older sister and Lycette is a full-on destination. Stepping into her shop on South County Road in Palm Beach is like walking into a preppy solarium. Large windows bounce sunlight around walls that are the color of pink sand, and the warm brick flooring captures South Florida's easygoing spirit. A crystal chandelier floats overhead, and a French blue sofa piped in pink sits in a corner that's prime for people-watching. The needlepoint backgammon board on the coffee table looks as if the players have just stepped into the next room for a martini and will return to wrap up the game at any time.

Lycette is a spot for stitchers to buy their bits and bobs, but it's also a space to sit and stay a spell. "I wanted it to be a reflection of the area—this happy, bright place where you want to go and hang out that's beautifully designed and informed by the landscape around it," she says.

Inspiration is everywhere you turn in Palm Beach, but when it came to choosing a name for the store, Chaney looked to her own family history. "My maternal great-grandmother was called Lycette," she says. "She was a woman who valued community, hospitality, and cheerful aesthetics. She had pink velvet wallpaper in her house on Lake Coeur d'Alene [in Idaho] and was fully in her element when she was hosting a party. I wanted the shop to embody her values."

For Chaney, those values included creating a space and a community that were reminiscent of her own childhood surrounded by the craft. "So many women in my family have needlepointed; my brother even had a stint growing up," she says. "My mother would keep me out of school 'sick' to take road trips to stores we loved. Our homes were filled with pillows and doorstops we made, and my wardrobe was dotted with needlepoint belts and shoes."

Needlepoint slippers
Lycette sells all things for stitching—from canvases to slippers. Capehart Photography

Lycette sells everything—from her own designs to other lifestyle labels, including a collaboration with Stubbs & Wootton to offer bespoke options of their iconic mules and other shoes that makers can stitch themselves.

For the shop owner and those who flock to her store, needlepoint is not just a hobby; it's a lifestyle, and everyone is welcome. "There's no gatekeeping with the younger generation of needlepointers," says Chaney. "It's a spirit of 'Come one; come all!' and 'I love this hobby, want to share it with you, and hope you find joy and calm through it.'"

It's a very social experience, too, she says. "My mother would get together with her friends to stitch, but it would be just 5 to 10 people. Now, these young women and men are gathering in groups of 20. I've even heard of 40 to 50 stitching together! I think that's beautiful."

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