Wednesday, August 11, 2010

put together a beginner embroidery kit

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. 


dachsynut said...

I have that needle case fabric! (But mine is still just fabric.) Love the picture of Gage, love the dachsies in the book, & love the post! Did you put the dachsies in for me or Sherry?

Larissa Holland said...

Robyn, A. just LOVES her craft kit. I'm a bit chagrined to admit how much she's is thrilled to have some of her own grown-up craft supplies. I'm a lapsed craft mentor, so I'm glad you put that together for her. She loves everything in the case and everything having its own little holder. Of course, I love everything in it too (esp. Mr. Owl) to the point that she says she will be hiding her kit so Mommy can't steal any of her stuff.
She made a formal request tonight that I would help her to embroider a dog project tomorrow and I told her it's a date. Then L. chimed in and requested to do one also so it is looking like a craft day.
I really think I NEEEEED to steal some of those buttons. I told her I'd only use them to make HER something and she still said no.
No grumbles necessary about the duplicate book, as now I'm off the hook about sharing my copy (which I admit, to my great embarrassment, that I have not shown to my own daughter yet).
And I laughed out loud about the 'plight thee my troth'. I wish. That photo of him embroidering away is so great.

Mama Pea said...

That is just awesome. Such thoughtful attention to detail, and the little suitcase is just perfect. Thanks for the ideas!

Anna said...

this is such a great gift idea!!

Unknown said...

You did such a good job on gathering that all up for the little crafter in training! Such a good gift! I might have to borrow that idea for my own kids.

Sherry said...

Very, very cute! Makes me wish I was eight again! Happy Birthday A.!
Hope you enjoy embroidering as much as I did when I was your age! I keep dreaming that someday I will spend more time stitching! Doll, the dachsies are definitely for me....Robyn, Robyn, you never cease to amaze me! I am so glad that you have taught Gage how to stitch. Both my boys enjoyed sewing when they were younger. One even took home ec/sewing and cooking in jr high. Keep inspiring me!

Kaye Prince said...

Eek, such a great gift Robyn!

And OMG on the AMH owl pattern! I had the same idea early last year and made a small-size one and then enlarged the pattern to make one that was more softie-sized. Here's a pic of the two together if you'd like to see:

Robyn said...

Hey, thanks, ladies!

Denise and Sherry, the dogs are cute, right? Maybe you need this book yourself! I see grandchildren (and grandchildren yet to come) projects in your future...

Larry, I am so, so happy that Abby likes her kit. I can't wait to hear how the craft day went! Then we draw up the plans for our agreement regarding the children.

Jessica, be my guest! I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with the idea. You've got my blessing. ;)

Kaye, really cute softie. That's a great idea - may have to steal that one myself!

amy said...

I came over from mmmcrafts to see the gift- I put together a similar gift for my dd last Christmas- same book and all! I love what you did with the owl! I had the girls in my sewing class make our own version of AMH's owl ornament as a softie this summer!

Stephanie Cameron said...

Too cute!!! I adore that pin cushion!

Anne said...

I started sewing with my 8 year old step-daughter this summer. I ran across a tutorial on introducing embroidery to young children and they recommended using paper instead of cloth for the first few times. It has worked great. No fuss about the fabric sliding around and becoming loose. Also, she could draw the lines that she wanted to follow. Though you can not do all of the embroidery stitches, it still left many she could do.

Robyn said...

Stephanie - Thanks! That was the most fun part to work on.

Amy - hey, thanks for coming over to visit. That's too funny that you chose the same book. Just goes to show that Helen Dardik knew what she was doing, right? Embroidery and marketing genius!

Anne - paper is a great idea. I have also heard of using that spongy, plastic, open weave shelf liner to teach kids embroidery. Another simple tip is to knot both ends of the thread together instead leaving one loose. That way you're not constantly having to rethread for them!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I really don't want this to sound mean and of course you can delete it. But I just found your blog and I have to comment that your "introduction" - while really very lovely - makes it sound like Jesus Christ lives, makes, and homeschools just outside New Orleans. I had to read it through three times before I worked out that wasn't what you meant. You may want to reword it - "I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I live, make, and homeschool . . ." I hope this doesn't offend you.

Unknown said...

The basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.

Custom Embroidery Digitizing

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