Wilson is responsible for taking needlework, a traditional form of art, to an international audience. She trained at the Royal School of Needlework in London. Wilson was invited to travel to Millbrook, NY by someone interested in establishing a school of needlework. She taught at the Cooper Union and held workshops in her apartment, eventually teaching thousands of students. This led to her writing books, columns and hosting a television program. Wilson is considered the mother of the rebirth of needlework in the United States. She was married to furniture designer, Vladimir Kagan.