Week 22 – Embroidery skills

Hello and welcome to this week’s Giving Tuesday activity!

Wow, it’s September 1st already – how did that happen?! Once again the summer has whizzed past, and the date of ‘Back To School’ is looming large.
Good luck to all of you who are heading back in the next week or so, whether you’re teaching or learning.

And, if you’re one of the ones doing the dropping off and facing some empty days, maybe now is a great time to try out a new skill or hobby. September always makes us feel like trying out something new, and what better way to start than by finding out about what makes other people feed good?

We have a whole series of “skill swap” sessions coming up over the next few weeks. Jam making, baking, music, languages – you name it, we’ve got it!

Embroidery is back!

This week, for our Giving Tuesday activity, we’re looking at embroidery.

Embroidery (the art of decorating clothes with thread) has been around since around 30,000BC, and in Europe it became most popular during the 11th and 12th Centuries. Immense tapestries were commissioned and created (partly as a status symbol and partly to keep those chilly stone castles warm during the winters).

By the 16th Century, embroidery had moved from wall hangings to clothes: the Tudor monarchs used elaborate embroidery to proclaim their royal status, and Elizabeth I was a master (or should that be a mistress?) of using hidden messages in her clothing choices. You can read more about this right here.

Elizabeth I c.1585-90 Image source: A History of English Embroidery

During the 1800s, the industrial revolution and subsequent changes in society meant that more and more people could access the items needed for embroidery; it was no longer the province of the upper classes. It was also used as a way to spruce up old clothes to make them last longer, cleverly hiding patches, or mismatched scraps of fabric with beautiful stitches.

Embroidery as a hobby has many good qualities. It’s good for mental and physical health (ever tried threading a needle while on a moving train? It’s excellent hand-eye coordination practice) and doing something creative really helps with stress. Read here about how cross-stitch helps with mental health.

It’s a favourite hobby for lots of different people, like the lovely Carolyn, who has kindly agreed to talk about her passion for embroidery with us. Check out her video here:

Fancy giving it a go?

You can find lots of embroidery lessons on YouTube and kits on eBay. There are even patterns available for free online, depending on your ability. The Spruce Crafts website is a good place to start:

Here’s a helpful infographic on basic beginner embroidery stitches you can practice to get you started:

See the source image
Image source: www.sewing.com

Why not try embroidering some simple designs and use them as Birthday, Thank You or even Christmas gifts?

If you do decide to give it a go, let us know how you get on! We’d love to see your wonderful creations, so please share your pictures with us across our social media channels. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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