Up, down, up, down.

Pat Rogers sits at a needlepoint frame in Davenport, drawing a threaded needle through a canvas to create a floral design that will end up in Blair House in Washington, D.C.

The circa-1824 government building across from the White House is known as "the president's guest house" because it is where heads of state stay during visits to our country.

Among the home's extensive furnishings is a wingback chair with needlepoint upholstery that originally was made by Teddy Roosevelt's daughter-in-law. In time, the threads faded and became worn by use, and house conservators approached the American Needlepoint Guild in August 2010 about recreating the upholstery.

That's where Rogers comes in.

Rogers is the national president of the American Needlepoint Guild, and her 8,500-member organization embraced the chance to help.

An individual member painstakingly recreated the wingback chair's pattern and painted it on canvas, patrons across the country raised more than $3,000 for materials and now some 40-plus members are taking turns stitching various sections, including the front, seat, wings and band around the bottom.

When the sections are finished, Blair House conservators will put them together and recover the chair, Rogers explained.

Volunteer stitchers were selected by a guild committee based on evaluations of sample work.

Rogers received her piece in the mail, insured for $5,000.

She estimates that her 77-square-inch portion of the panel will take her 70 hours since it usually requires about one hour to do a one-inch square.

On a recent day, she sat at her work, the frame supported by TV tables on either side. At her feet were plastic storage bags containing 15 different colors of thread: dark brown, red, three blues, two greens, a cream and several golds.

Her only other tools were scissors for cutting, a light and 40 years of experience.

According to the Blair House website, the furnishings, objects and artwork in the house's rooms are, in many cases, as significant as the rooms themselves. They include paintings by American masters Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Moran and John Singer Sargent; 18th- and 19th-century English and Chinese export porcelain; American glass and silver; and more than 50 early lighting fixtures.

The house was purchased by the government in 1942 and receives government funds for its maintenance; a private fund underwrites care for the décor, arts collection and gardens.

The fund's work "ensures that America's hospitality ... reflects the finest that our country can offer."

And that finest will include work by Pat Rogers.

Angry
0
Sad
0
Funny
0
Wow
0
Love
0