I originally wrote this post in 2012 but my old blog is long gone and I decided to preserve some of my earlier posts in this space.
Many years ago Amanda Blake Soule’s book The Creative Family inspired me to try a variety of different crafts with my children. We did a simple embroidery project when my two oldest children were 3 and 1 and this is how it went.
I had never tried embroidery myself and thought it was a good idea to get started right along with my children.
So one day I took my son to the local craft shop and bought
- a few embroidery hoops
- a knitting (or darning) needle
- embroidery floss and
- a meter of burlap (rough fabric which is used for sacks and bags)
Preparing our materials
First we cut out a piece of burlap slightly bigger than the hoop.
Then I figured out how to secure the burlap between the two rings so the fabric is nice and taut.
Next I cut a piece of embroidery floss about twice as long as my daughter’s arm and threaded it through a knitting needle (they are big and quite blunt – perfect to get started). Of course my daughter chose her favourite colour black because she is a bit of a Goth. Haha.
We tied a knot at the end of the yarn and were ready for our first embroidery project.
Instruct your child to start from behind the hoop and pull the needle up, then back down. Then from the bottom again. Again and again, they will soon find a rhythm, and perhaps just need gentle reminders once in a while that if the “floss is on the top, then you put the needle in through the top” and vice versa to avoid getting tangled.” ~ Amanda B. Soule
I thought my son was still too young (21 months) for this and I only gave him a hoop and some floss to play with. But he protested and wanted to do the same as his sister.
I was surprised how well he managed the stitching. His attention span wasn’t as long as my daughter’s but with just a tiny bit of help he managed to stitch up the whole piece of floss I threaded onto his needle.
Once you and your children get used to making stitches in the burlap you can try using a piece of regular cotton fabric. Or you could let your children draw a picture onto the fabric (using a pencil or washable marker) and try stitching over the drawing. Here are some examples of embroidered place mats we made a bit later.
I asked everyone in the family to draw a design and then I embroidered it onto the fabric before sewing up the place mats.
It’s really not difficult and the results can be quite nice.