October 17, 2009

Asking about embroidery

A little while ago, I asked about people's relationship with embroidery in the Flickr group. I asked how people got started with embroidery, what it means to them and why they keep doing it. I am going to do a post that relates to each of those 3 questions, this is the first one (obviously!)

What made you start embroidering?

The replies to this is quite interesting. If you read about 'Modern Crafting' in books or online it sounds like everyone is pretty much rediscovering everything and that crafting has sort of skipped a generation because all the mothers were working and crafting was seen as oldfashioned. However, a lot of the replies to this question suggest that atleast half were taught as a child by their mother, grandma or other female relative. Like Fiorinda:
I started cross stitching when I was about 6 yrs old. I am guessing it was because my mother wanted us to leave her alone so she could do her crafts. My mother was always sewing when I was a child, and I learned to love going to the fabric store and feeling all the textures and picking out the perfect color threads.
And cathairlady:
I started when I was 7 when the teacher told us to do a basic sampler on aida. I went home and Mum showed me her Encyclopaedia of Needlework and I was hooked!
So maybe this 'lost generation' is a myth?

Others have learnt from a friend or sibling when they were grown-up. Another big group (in this very large sample total of 20 replies or so!) have taken a class or taught themselves from books or online resources.

aubribanana says:
My experience isn't so traditional I suppose. I was going out of town for a job interview. We were already moving to the city whether I got the job or not and I was going to be alone for four days. I went to Michael's to find something to do and picked up "The New Crewel" some embroider thread and some needles to keep myself busy. I loved it and have gotten some more books to teach myself.
Amanda Panda Pants:
I started embroidery because of my younger sister. She is the artistic one in the family. She paints, knits, draws etc. etc. I was looking for a cool gift for her two Christmases ago, and came upon Sublime Stitching. The designs were perfect and right up my sister's ally. On a whim, I decided to get one for myself. That was all it took. I became obessesd with embroidery.
Personally, I learnt cross stitch from my grandmother when I was very young, but I never took to it for real. Not until a few years ago when I got a couple of books from the library and taught myself more stitches.

Please join the discussion in the Flickr group or add your comments here. I'd love to hear how/why others have started embroidering.


  1. What made me embroider ... MOTHER! & I failed!

    Have a lovely weekend. TTFN ~Marydon

  2. I've been crafting since I was a kid thanks to my mom, but when I wanted to relearn how to embroider a few years back I found internet tutorials more helpful than my dear old mother (especially when it came to french knots!). Technology is amazing!

  3. My mom taught me all sorts of crafts. I learned to cross stitch when I was about 9, I think. I finished my project to enter in the county fair but I never touched it again until my senior year of college. I've loved it ever since!

  4. I came across Jenny Hart's stitch-it-kit at a TJMaxx a few years ago and thought it was so cute. It totally made me want to try it. I was very pregant with our first and very tired at night and it seemed like a fun way to rest and pass the time simultaneously. I loved it. It's great that even beginners can make something lovely the first time they try.

  5. My Nanny taught me to cross stitch when I was about 7 or 8 yrs old. I have always enjoyed it! Any other craft was self taught, through books. I am just beginning to embroider and find the options incredible :)

  6. My mum taught me as a young girl but it wasn't until in my early 20's that I really got into it after my GP said I needed to find something to help reduce stress from work...20yrs later and with 3 kids under 5 it defintely helps me relax on a night!!

  7. I stated cross-stitching back in school. I was quite a busy kid going to every possible afternoon class. I even won in completion taking the first prise!

    Since then I am passionate about needlework especially cross-stitching. I love sharing it through my blog at http://plushkacraft.blogspot.com/

    I am always trying to find new stitching techniques and make something different. However, cross-stitching for me is something I will never give up.
    It has a great therapeutical effect and leaves me inspired and renewed.

  8. My grandmother taught me how to embroider when I was 7 or so - I dropped it for a while, but picked it back up when I graduated from college. It didn't hurt that Sublime Stitching had a lot of great, non-bunny-related patterns at the time :) I'm still picking up new stitches (like Kate, I think internet tutorials are amazing for this!). Stitching makes me so happy.

  9. When I married 40 years ago there were many pretty things that weren't affordable. So the creative part of me learned how from books, magazines,and now the net. Primrose design has been the biggest help on new to me stitches. Creating gifts for family and friends is so satisfying.

  10. I was looking at home decor blogs and fell in love with this simple embroidery that read "I really like being alive. A lot." It was beautiful turquoise thread on a vintage floral patten. And it was $30.

    My inner Cheaperella kicked in and I thought that I could make it for less. I never got around to a similiar piece, but using the the internets, I plunged into the world of contemporary and at times scandalous embroidery.

  11. I used to think that embroidery was the crafting equivalent of "Paint By Number" kits--not creative, not artistic. With the help of this blog, though, I have learned an art form that is more satisfying than many of the forms of expression I grew up practicing--partly because it's so portable, partly because I now know that I can tell any story I want through my stitching!

  12. Interesting answers:)
    Good ol' Mum!
    I'm no exception, my mum taught me as I was ill with polio (born in the late 50's) that's why I learnt to draw and stitch, too ill to run around and play.
    I have grown up kids now and I've passed the batton on to them, even my son!
    Well he CAN do it, that's not to say he actually does :)

  13. My mother was a crocheter (a thread gal) before I was born, by the time I came around the only craft was the occasional outfit she would quickly sew up. Never did she push me towards any craft. I didn't get into any crafts till I was 22...I'm 23 now. I have just started embroidering and what started me was seeing these wonderful throw pillows!! I look and look and never see throws I like. Then I realized all my favorite shirts are plain shirts with a little machine embroidered bit by the shoulder, so I went to the internet and ended up on sublime stitching, I stared in wonder and next thing I knew I ordered a kit and have begun!!