Learning how to embroider to make your own stitchery is a wonderful way to add a personal touch to your primitive home decor. As one of the oldest crafts, embroidery continues to stay popular in many forms including cross-stitch, primitive stitchery, and machine embroidery. Embroidery as a hobby is very enjoyable because you are able to create many different styles and designs that become treasures for years to come. And designs don’t have to take weeks or months to make; you can find embroidery patterns that take just a few hours to make.
The art of embroidery dates back to 5th-3rd Century B.C. China. Sewing using different stitches to mend clothing developed into a way to embellish clothing, religious objects, and home decor. It’s interesting to find out that many of the stitches used today in embroidery, cross-stitch, and primitive stitchery are the same stitches used for centuries. One popular style of embroidery for primitive home decor is samplers. These samplers date back to the 16th century. The earliest English sampler was crafted in 1598 and is kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum as shown to the left
Choosing a Pattern
Today, primitive stitchery is also popular. You can find a wonderful range of free patterns and patterns for sale. One of my favorite sources for primitive patterns is Primitive Stitches. They have 100’s of patterns to choose from. I recently found a wonderful Etsy shop with many sampler patterns to add to my needful list called Heartstring Samplers. You can also search the web for free patterns as some artists give them out as freebies to their store visitors. Look for a simple design that requires a limited amount of stitches to learn.
Picking Your Cloth
Now that you have a pattern, you need to choose the cloth. For primitive stitchery, I often use a quality muslin that I’ve tea-stained. Kona Cotton fabric works well, especially if you want a colored background. I also like to do stitchery on wool as candle mats, ornaments, or pin keeps. For samplers a nice Aida cloth makes keeping the stitches even is a good choice or a weaved cloth works as well. You can usually find different cloth and fabrics at a local fabric store like JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. Your cloth quality varies depending on if you are making an inexpensive gift or an heirloom quality item.
Learning the Stitches
When you begin learning different stitches it helps to practice on another piece of cloth. Take your time and keep all your supplies close by including small sharp scissors, the embroidery or cross-stitch needles, and something to keep your pins from getting lost. I highly recommend going to Big B’s blog to learn embroidery stitches. It’s my go-to place because of the wonderful tutorials on every stitch. She’s gone through Coats & Clarks’s 100 Embroidery Stitches step by step with lots of photos to make learning each stitch easier to learn. For primitive stitchery, the most used stitches are back-stitch, blanket stitch, lazy daisy, outline stitch, french knots, and cross-stitch. Take your time; if you get frustrated, take a little break before starting again. It helps to take breaks to prevent eye and muscle strain.