Embroidery has reentered my life after a temporary hiatus. It started by my recent trip to Minneapolis to visit my new baby nephew. While I was packing for my trip, I knew I wanted to pick up some handwork to do on the plane, so I chose Jenni Calo’s Floral Fiesta Embroidered Pouch Pattern Download, packed some fabric, my Dritz Soft Comfort Thimble, needles, and embroidery floss.
My creative 6 year-old Ella saw me embroidering and asked to try stitching over the design. Luckily I had an extra embroidery hoop and fabric, as well as a little down time (while my nephew was sleeping), so I figured it was a perfect opportunity to teach her. A quick lesson for my daughter turned into hours of stitching. ☺
My goal was to encourage her to have fun, rather than teach perfect techniques. I wish that I had had some burlap for her to practice on; I think that might have been an easier place to start because the loose weave makes it very desirable.
I always threaded her needle using a needle threader and made knots. We used just three strands of embroidery floss.
These are the steps that I taught Ella:
- Cut a piece of embroidery floss as long as your arm.
- Make your drawing on the fabric before you put it into an embroidery hoop.
- Always begin stitching at the back.
- The needle goes in on the same side it just came out.
- Pull the thread taut each time, but not too tight.
- Stop stitching well before you get to the very end of your thread.
There were many mistakes and I would help her fix them. We just laughed through most of them, and surprisingly, Ella didn’t get too frustrated at all–I was really proud of her attention span. There’s just something about handwork that allows you to focus even with the most impatient people, (like me sometimes!)
In my opinion, their uneven stitches and mistakes add to the embroidery’s charm.
In the future, I think I’ll provide some buttons and felt for Ella to play with. One tip I read on Pinterest is for kids to trace around fun-shaped cookie cutters for the primary “design.” That way you can have them practice tracing it onto the fabric with a wash-out transfer pen.
There are many schools of thought around the right way to embroider. I am in no way an expert. As in everything I do… I just find the way that works best for me. On guide that really helps me remember all the different stitches is the Hand Embroidery Booklet Stitches at a Glance.
For a few afternoons we worked, side by side, quietly stitching on my mother’s couch.
It was just so nice to relax and enjoy the time sitting with my daughter teaching a craft that has a long history. I really do equate embroidery with love. Best of all, Ella was quite proud of her little design.