I have had so much fun over the past week putting together this beginner embroidery kit for a very special little girl celebrating her 8th birthday. It was a bit of a risk - what if she's not interested? - but I decided to take the chance. I mean, she's in the direct line of craft greatness, so she's got to be interested, right? If not now, then someday. And when she feels that pull, she'll be prepared.
It all started with this book by artist Helen Dardik, which was the first I came across when looking for a simple, easy and engaging instructional book for the beginner embroiderer. Quite serendipitous, I thought, considering this little girl's mother is already a big Dardik fan.
[I now interrupt this post to slap myself in the forehead really hard.
I just headed on over to mmmcrafts for a link to where I know I've seen her mention Helen Dardik more than once, when I find this. That's right. She has the book. ARRGGG. I guess now you don't have to share your copy with the girls, Larissa. And in case you've already created and posted about an embroidery kit for them and I've just forgotten that as well, please don't remind me.
grumble grumble grumble...]
Okay, so, the first step in creating a beginner embroidery kit is to find a good book with clear instructions, detailed pictures, and inspiring projects. Preferable one that the giftee does not currently own or have ready access to by walking down the hall. This Dardik book is a good one. (Jenny Hart can also be relied upon for modern embroidery patterns that range from sweet to subversive. Her book Sublime Stitching is great, too.) Check out a couple of these cute projects from Embroidery for Little Miss Crafty:
Next, I included the basics: a 4" embroidery hoop, embroidery scissors, a few fat quarters (a couple of fun prints and a basic white) and a selection of embroidery thread in bright, girly colors.
Now for the fun part. A simple sheath for her scissors (made from fabric purchased here during a recent trip to Austin that I hope to post about soon.):
A needle case stocked with nice, new sharps and a few of my favorite vintage buttons:
And a pin cushion:
I knew I wanted to include a felt pin cushion, and that it should be something youthful and whimsical. I was inspired by the owl fabric and remembered AMH's owl ornament, so I started there with her pattern, but ended up resizing the body, then scrapping her wings and eyes and redesigning my own, and adding the breast piece. If you want to recreate this pincushion, I'd direct you to her pattern, then suggest that you tweak to your tastes like I did and stuff it a good bit fuller than you would for an ornament.
I placed all of these goodies in a perfectly sized, apple green suitcase (similar to these) from Kate's Paperie in NYC. I had tucked it away since my trip there last year, knowing that it would find its ideal purpose eventually.
And, finally, Gage wanted in on the sewing and gifting action, so he sat down and knocked this out for his little friend:
I tried to convince him to stitch "Hereto I plight thee my troth" but that was a no-go. In the end, he went with a simple monogram. Probably the better choice.