Embroidery Exercise

Hi, all. I found a little embroidery exercise in an embroidery book I picked up at a flea market. I thought it was worth sharing, and maybe some of you might like to try it. First though, I have to say that to allow yourself to do this, you have to turn off your inner critic. This isn’t about making a fabulous project, or making any thing at all. It’s just to practice stitches. Let your needle and your fingers work together without so much steering from your brain.

Gather up all the different white threads, yarns, and flosses you can find, thick and thin.

Here is my collection that I used. If your wondering where to get all these fibers, my advice is to try flea markets. I picked up many there. Even if you have a limited selection of threads, don’t let that stop you from the exercise, you can use what you have. Feel free to compliment your threads with buttons and beads as you like.

Next, pick out a piece of a looser brown or tan woven fabric. A linen or sack cloth type of fabric is perfect. What you will do is make stitches, bunches of stitches of all kinds to cover your cloth. Feel free to use a stitch book to help you try new stitches. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect, that isn’t the point. Combine the threads in different ways, use several at once on your needle. As you make your stitches, don’t make them regular, vary the size and shapes and angles, make them overlap, switch between stitches, however you feel as your work the stitches. Don’t tell yourself it’s not good enough because that is not the point with the exercise. I just bet at the end you will see some interesting textures and structures emerge.

Here is my result:

I most certainly did battle with my inner critic, but I didn’t let it win. I continued until I felt satisfied with the amount of stitches. And I can say that I definitely found a few interesting effects in there.

The books suggests that this exercise is a “must” if you want to do free-style embroidery. I can definitely understand the author’s reasoning. If you like this, you can try it again, or you can try it with some idea of making an actual composition. I myself have never really tried free style embroidery – too much of a pattern person, but never say never! Perhaps it just might show up in stitch school someday, but until then, I got to go practice a bit more. 😉

5 Comments

  1. I like this idea very much and will give it a go.

    I would like to know, what's the make of the hoop pictured? (it looks like a brand I'm collecting)

  2. What a great exercise Emily and yours looks wonderful.

  3. I think the end result is beautiful! It's very wintery and snowy looking.

  4. Hi, I use hoops I buy from Sew and So in the UK. They are good quality and not at all expensive.

    The book is a Swedish book called Broderiboken (The Embroidery Book) by Eva Köhlmark, published 1981.

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