"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."
Khalil Gibran

Friday, August 5, 2011

Embroidery/Hand Stitching

When I used to think of embroidery, I thought of the things I had seen my Great-Grandmother make, like flowery handkerchiefs or pillow cases.  Although these had beautiful detail and undoubtedly took a lot of time to complete, I never really thought of embroidery as something I would be interested in.  That is until recently when I have seen some fun and beautiful designs that do match my style a little better.

Here is a design that was more like what my Great-Grandmother made.  This is a handkerchief with a floral pattern:

Even though that is beautiful, you can find all sorts of fun patterns for the younger generations.  Now this handkerchief isn't for everyone, but I have some family members who would think it was funny.  Just realize that there are options!

I decided just a few days ago, after seeing some cute embroidered projects, that I wanted to learn how to hand embroider myself.  To my delight, I found some really good sites with photos and instructions.

The first site that I found was:
(click the website name above to follow the link to the site)

This site has over 150 different stitches with photos and tutorials for each stitch!  I was on overload as I clicked through them.

Here is a preview of a stitch called the 'Pearl Knot' from Sarah's site....

This stitch is a very simple stitch, which does not incorporate knots as such, but can give a visual effect of having knots.  It is worked from right to left.
I will be working over a single stitch line.
pearl_knot_1 …. pearl_knot_2
Fig 1: Begin by bringing out the needle at the right end on the stitch line, at a point A. Then, take the needle through B, which lies on the stitch line and bring it out from C, a point right below B.
Fig 2: Now, before pulling the stitch A-B tight, take the needle under it as shown. Do not pluck the fabric underneath.
Fig 3: Pull the needle out completely to get the first knot. Then, again, take the needle in through D, which lies on the stitch line and bring it out through E, a point right below D. The shorter this stitch, the more ’round’ and ‘pearled’ the look.
Continue the procedure for the entire length of the stitch line.

Fig 4: A completed row of pearl stitch would look like this.

The second site that I found was:
(click the website name above to follow the link to the site)

This site has video tutorials.  There are not as many stitches available but there are some very good beginners videos which shows you how to use a hoop and how to thread your needle and tie it off, etc.

Here is an example video from the Stitching Cow site:

Before I end this post, I wanted to insert some photos I found online that gave me lots of ideas for future projects and gifts.  Perhaps you too will want to give hand embroidery a try?

This Bird and Flowers would be cute on a bag, pillowcase, or even a t-shirt.  I think it would be a great gift for a little girl.

Being a music lover myself, I loved this idea.  It could be put on a guitar strap, a bag for carrying sheet music, a wrist band, throw pillow, backpack, the possibilities are endless.

 I have seen a lot of this style of embroidery on dresses, shirts, jeans, and shoes lately and they always cost more than a similar clothing item without the embroidery.  Save money and do it yourself.  You could even personalize it with a favorite flower, animal, or initials...and use your favorite colors!

I don't know about you, but I love this idea of sprucing up a plain t-shirt with a fun design!  And as you can see in this photo, you don't have to embroider the whole thing...one simple flower makes a huge difference.

I confess that these pillows do not look like they are for beginners and look like they took hours and hours of work....but I wanted to add them just to show how beautiful this art form can be!

With all of these ideas I think the hard part for me will be choosing my first project!  I'll be sure to post photos when I make a decision and have a project finished!

I hope you have enjoyed this, if you like to embroider by hand I would love to hear what your favorite project was.  All ideas are welcome, and I would especially enjoy hearing some good (beginner) project ideas that would make a good gift for a baby gift!

Thanks for joining me in my crafting adventures! 


  1. You know, there have been many times when I have considered embroidering a favorite tshirt after I've discovered an unsightly stain on it! Salvage the tshirt by making it even better? Sounds good to me!

  2. Such a GREAT IDEA! I was also just thinking this morning of trying to embroider some jean pockets since that is very stylish (and expensive) right now. Although I don't have a daughter, I think you could have fun embroidering some flowers and swirly vines on the front side as well. I haven't done it yet but I imagine embroidering through jean material isn't the easiest...however I'm sure there is probably a special needle for that.


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