Not your grandmum’s embroidery


I can’t forget the fresh smell of the linen closet, and the joy of gazing on my  Grandmum’s beautiful embroidered pillow cases. While I love them, it’s not something that I ever expect to replicate in this life.

A long time ago I did some basic stitching to decorate a bag for storing treasures in. This term I decided that I wanted to begin a project for Christmas as the student lifestyle means being thrifty. I also think this is an excellent opportunity to keep Christmas small and think about the things that really matter.

With this gift I decided on the star motif. I selected a scrap of purple dupioni silk and mauve bamboo embroidery thread. I also added in some decorative silver thread to make it interesting. I outlined the design first on a piece of plain computer paper. Then I placed the design over a piece of chalk transfer paper that was sitting directly on top of the silk. When I removed the paper a light chalk design was left on top of the silk. I began sewing. The original design took approximately 4 hours to fill in with my silver and purple thread.

What happened next was really unexpected. I started to draw outside of the lines with my embroidery thread. I began to go over the shape and fill it out freehand. It was exilirating and I felt like I was taking quite a chance. Eventually I filled out the body and created a head. I then added legs and arms and even wings. Before I knew it I had free formed a dragon with dragonfly wings! I have never worked so freely with needle and thread-simply drawing a design.


The embroidery portion of the project went over a week and took approximately 12 hours. Later, I sewed the piece into another treasure bag. I’m really happy with the result. I’m far happier still knowing that I  had the chance to zone each time I worked on the project. I loved doing this for the same reason people are now turning on to adult colouring books. It allows me the space to concentrate on a rhythmic activity that calms my brain. An added bonus? A beautiful art project made with love for a friend.

I’m excited to experiment further with free-handing some needlepoint art. I found this great blog that details the making of mandalas with yarn, thread and fabric. This artist actually writes about the therapeutic quality of doodling with thread. Clearly, I’m not the first one to come across this.

I adore colour and design, and this is very exciting when I consider how I can use this as a great way to relax while I unwind. I love the idea of making myself a cup of tea and having a movie on while I produce something tangable. Who doesn’t love to have something to show for their time in addition to lowering feelings of anxiousness?


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