A little thread. A little time. A little something. It need not be practical, simply making for the sake of making. I think a reason embroidery has endured the test of time is in part due to it’s rhythmic and flexible nature. It can be as simple or as grand as you desire.
Embroidery is a humble craft, a needle and some thread is all you really need to begin. An old shirt, tea-towel, pillowcase ~ any fabric surface would be delighted to be decorated by your clever self. A hoop is recommended, to keep the fabric taught, however it is not completely necessary. Many of my personal hoops have been thrifted from the dusty corner of my favourite op shops.
In my personal research of my family history, I found Irish roots. Discovering this quote from author, broadcaster and scholar, Frank Delaney brings such a smile to my face as I nod along to his words.
”We Irish prefer embroideries to plain cloth. To us Irish, memory is a canvas – stretched and primed, and ready for painting on. We love the ‘story’ part of ‘history’, and we love it trimmed out with colour and drama, ribbons and bows. Listen to our tunes, observe a Celtic scroll: we always decorate our essence.”Frank Delaney
Embroidery was always meant to find me. And it is a joy to share it with you. If you have found yourself here, wondering how to bring a little thread into your days, here is a gentle start. As a self taught embroidery artist, it was freely shared information that helped me learn the basics. Add a little time and practice and you’ll be creating your very own art! Below is my stitch guide to my always used four basic stitches. If you’d like to learn more you can find my entire Abstract Embroidery PDF Guide linked below for you to download & enjoy! If you need any help, or have made something inspired by what you’ve learnt here, I’d love for you to share over on Instagram with me @kaciewiththread
The lazy daisy is a loop of thread held in pace by a little notch at the top of the oval loop. Begin by bringing your needle up from underneath, and then putting it back as close as you can to your entry spot and pull the thread down through, leaving just enough as a small petal shaped loop on top of your fabric. Now you’re going to stitch a small notch over the top of the loop to hold it in place. So bring your needle ( that is still on the underside of your hoop) up through the top inside of the loop you just made, pull the loop tightish so the loop is sitting flush to the fabric and then stitch a small stitch over this to hold it in place. Tie a knot at this spot to finish, or continue stitching more to create petals.
This is great stitch style to fill small areas with solid colour. It’s rows of thread filling a space. Starting at one end of the space you’re filling, you work over and under, coming back up to the top each time, and bringing your needle up through as close as you can to the last stitch.
The french knot takes a little practice, slow and steady, you’ll get it. Knot your end and come up from underneath, holding your needle horizontal in one hand, take the thread in the other and wrap it around the needle twice. Holding this thread taut, push your needle back down, as close to the entry spot as you can. Keep tension on the thread as you pull the needle back down through, easing off the tension as the knot comes together. You’ll create a little knot sitting on top of the fabric. Clustered together, groups of french knots create a great textured effect.
This stitch is your very basic stitches. Over and under. Your knot is at the end of your thread, pick a spot, come under the fabric and poke up through. Move along a little bit, and then poke your needle back down under the hoop. Now move along a few millimeters and poke your needle back up, flowing over and under to create a path with thread as you go along. This stitch is good for outlines or text if you keep the space between each thread short.