By Carleton Varney Special To The Palm Beach Daily News
There’s one thing about Palm Beach I’ve always loved: You never know what you’ll discover just around the corner.
A visit to Lycette , a charming and colorful boutique owned and operated by needlepoint aficionado Jessica Chaney, is a case in point. This is a place where needlepoint dreams become reality, and the shop is filled not only with supplies, patterns and samples but also with joy.
Jessica was educated down the road at Saint Andrew’s School and then headed off to college at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
She opened her boutique at 230 S. County Road, Suite A, about a year ago — and the shop, with its old-fashioned brick façade and carriage lanterns, looks as if it might be standing on a street in old Georgetown or maybe Beacon Hill in Boston.
Jessica operates the boutique with her mom, Marina Morbeck, a lifelong master needlepointer. The shop is decorated with candy-pink walls and an abundance of framed scrims (as I would call them, although they are today often referred to as canvases) and yarns. It’s open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
If you are not a needlepointer, you can even take a lesson or two from Jessica and her mother. Jessica tells me you can learn the art of needle, yarn and canvas in 10 minutes. I think I might just take up the art this season.
Asked why the shop is called Lycette, I was told that name honors Jessica’s great grandmother from Idaho, a woman who embraced the great values in life.
In the shop, the biggest seller might very well be the belt designs. There are also canvases with fun phrases, such as “I prefer not to,” “I am not for everyone” and “High maintenance, high return” — perfect for pillow covers and so popular with the Palm Beach crowd. You’ll also find pocketbook patterns as well as wall art and a rug that measures 5-by-7 feet.
Young Jessica at age 12 learned the art from her mom. Her first needlepoint project was a belt with a flamingo design. Very Florida, I’d say.
Way back when in the 1960s, the late Erica Wilson was the star name in the needlepoint world. How nice it is that this charming art form is still with us, and being promoted with such style in Palm Beach.
If you’re already thinking about holiday gifts or are interested in exploring a new hobby, think needlepoint, the Lycette way. Do stop by. You’re in for a treat.
My father sailed around the world for 3 years on the schooner yacht Pilgrim" in 1930-34 He did needlepoint then . I had a footstool with his canvas but it got misplaced with all my many moves sadly..
What a wonderful blog from Carelton Varney.I enjoy everything he writes and creates. - Viictoria
Hi Carlton, I have been needlepointing for 25 plus years and I highly recommend that you take a class and get a fun canvas to work on. These new young designers are a breath of fresh air in the Needlepoint world and if we want to see our shops thrive, the younger generation’s clever designs will help draw in new customers and keep our shops fresh and exciting. We cannot lose our privilege to have a local shop where one can take a class, choose from a variety of incredible threads in person( very hard to do online) and have a place to meet like minded people who so enjoy sharing their expertise. Thanks for the post about Lycette and I hope someday to get down to Palm Beach for a visit. I live in San Diego so if you are ever out this way, you must stop in to The Needlenook in La Jolla. Lots of great canvases and talented people as well! Xo Elizabeth Green