Embroidery: as soothing as a mindfulness meditation, but not as good for your back as yoga

I can’t remember now how I got into hand embroidery, but I did quite a lot of it while I was writing my last essay. I found that doing a little bit of sewing each evening helped enormously to ease the tension which had built up over a day’s writing, so I could get a good night’s sleep instead of lying awake fretting. (My daily glass of red helped too.) This extra-curricular studying lark is becoming a bit stressful because I’m just about to embark on my final optional module and after that comes a heavily-weighted dissertation, so I’ve a feeling there’s a lot more sewing ahead.

The book I’ve been using is Michaela Learner’s Borders & Motifs. The designs you see below are printed in this book as transfers which you iron on to your material, and you don’t need more than a few basic stitches to complete them. The stitches I’ve used are stem stitch, blanket stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, straight stitch, long and short stitch and French knots (I’m not very good at the latter yet). Embroidery hoops are obtainable from Hobbycraft, as are DMC threads. The multi-coloured threads are brilliant: the colour changes gradually as you sew and it gives the design a bit of shading and depth and general oomph.

(I can’t say I fancy cross stitch though, to be honest. I know it’s very popular, but the images all look a bit like those crap 80s computers blocky graphics. No. It’s not for me. Rather a Mac than a ZX Spectrum.)

Click on the images to enlarge. 

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