From Small Beginnings Come Great Things

Resolutions are all very well and good, but to truly be worthwhile you have to follow through with them and actually accomplish that which you have set out to achieve. Without action all you have is a list of ideas and not much else. So with this in mind, yesterday evening I sat down and attempted some embroidery.

It was accompanied by the usual rigmarole which inflicts me whenever I begin a new project. Namely a total and utter crisis of faith. What if what I produced wasn’t good enough? I hadn’t embroidered anything since I was a child, what if I couldn’t do it? Wass it even worth starting? If I did start what should I sew? A picture? A quote?

Indecision beset me to the point of inertia. I very nearly gave up on the whole idea and reached for my trusty crochet hook because it’s so much easier falling back on something I already know how to do and then I remembered that there was once a time that I didn’t know how to crochet. It was only after endless nights of failing and frogging and quite a lot of swearing that I finally got to the point where I could do the motions in my sleep. From small beginnings come great things and my journey into embroidery would have to begin with the first stitch.

Vintage embroidered linen found at a thrift stall

Vintage embroidered linen found at a thrift stall


For a bit of inspiration I laid out some embroidered linen that I had bought from a thrift stall at a vintage fair. I bought them thinking that perhaps I would use them in some kind of patchwork project, perhaps turning them into a curtain for my bedroom. As I laid them out on the rug it became clear that I would need a lot more panels before I have enough to do anything with them and this was the perfect opportunity for me to add my own stitching into the mix.

I cut off a square of plain fabric from one of the hankies, placed it into a hoop that I had got for a song at a charity shop. I got a dressmakers pencil and wrote a quote in the centre of my canvas and retrieved a book on embroidering with wool (another bargain second hand find). I flicked to the section where the stitches were explained, picked some floss, threaded my needle and away I went.

My first attempt at embroidery since childhood

My first attempt at embroidery since childhood


There were mistakes along the way, I had to unpick some stitches, there is definitely room for improvement, but I really enjoyed the process. I had started without much of a design in mind so I just contented myself with trying out some different types of stitches. The quote was done in back stitch, the flowers in Algerian eye and lazy daisy, with a bit of fern stitch and French knotting thrown in for good measure. Next time I think I would trace out the pattern using some dressmaker’s carbon paper first, just to make it look more professional but as a first attempt it isn’t bad.

I might not have a career as an embroiderer ahead of me but who knows? After all, from small beginnings come great things…



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