Children love embroidery. They are fascinated by the textures of the fabric and thread and the change in these textures that the finished stitches can create. They often have very strong opinions about the colours used, and even about the look of the stitches.
However, they also get bored quickly as they feel no personal investment in the stitching, and your snatched stitching time can be cut short.
Why not get your children invested and interested in what you do?
Children are prolific artists, and what better way to record their artwork than embroidering it?
There are two ways you could approach this. You could take existing drawings and trace them onto your fabric to stitch.
Or get them to do a completely original piece for you. Kids love to be consulted, so tell them what you want to use the stitching for (eg. Table cloth, picture, etc) and discuss with them what you would like to see, and even what colours could go into it. You could even suggest a theme. Open your mind and look at your stitching through the eyes of a child – you will be surprised at what you can find.
Give your child a piece of calico and let them draw directly onto that, or if you want to do a counted piece, a piece of graph paper.
If you are going to let them create on fabric, use water colours or coloured pencils as both will then wash out when you have finished stitching.
The best thing about involving children is that if you explain to them what you are going to do, why you are choosing the stitches you use, they will gain an interest and want to learn themselves.
Believe me when I say that this is a stitching project that your children will not get bored with! They will want to closely follow the progress and be involved in every step. Don’t be surprised by requests to re-stitch if they think that what you have produced doesn’t match their vision; embrace this and encourage your children to have a go themselves.
There are lots of ways that you can display this work. The simplest is by turning them into framed pictures – but this is boring!
Why not make a tablecloth? Embroidered tablecloths always look fantastic, and if you choose a theme (e.g. Halloween, Christmas, Birthday), then the cloth can be used for those “special” occasions.
Why not go a step further – if you are holding a birthday party for your child, create a special keepsake of that birthday and let the children present all write their names on the cloth, which you then embroider over.
This idea doesn’t need to stay for a birthday! A Bar or Bat Mitzvah, graduation, First Communion, 21st, sweet 16 or any occasion where you have guests opens you up to ideas to make a special keepsake.
You could also get them to create smaller pictures which you could then stitch together to make a quilt.
By personalising what you are making, your child will become involved and want to learn how to do it. You may even find your child bringing you your stitching and demanding that you get on with it!
And remember – this is their piece like yours! Make sure that somewhere on the embroidery you proudly put both your names.
Embroidery (Kids Can Do It)
Kids' Embroidery: Projects for Kids of All Ages
Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners
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© 2013 Megan McConnell