We live during a particularly lucky moment in time where all things handmade are becoming more and more valued over anything mass manufactured. Hand embroidery has risen in popularity as a means for delivering this handmade goodness. No longer just for tea towels or pillows, hand embroidery has been used to perk up anything from sneakers and button-down shirts, to cell phone covers and jewelry. Because it’s very easy on the pocket, it’s great for threading a handmade touch into what we wear, carry and decorate our homes with. But before we get started, we need inspiration!
Here are 5 ways to tap into the inspiration all around you to bring beautiful hand embroidery to life!
1. Hit the books to learn a new stitch.
Rekindle your stitching fire by trying out a new stitch to keep yourself interested and inspired. Your local library, used book sales and online shopping can help you find the innovative techniques you need to keep your stitching fresh. I recently found a book all about Mexican Embroidery at the local library, and learned a stitch I wasn’t familiar with: the False Satin Stitch. After a couple tries, I figured it out and now I’m incorporating it everywhere!
2. Explore yard sales and thrift stores for patterned items and vintage textiles.
When it comes to embroidery, everyone has something different that tugs at their heartstrings. Personally, I take a lot away from antique textiles and vintage pieces. I feel that I can take a traditional technique and update it a bit for a more contemporary use. I found a vintage tablecloth for $6.00 at a local thrift store, and I keep it draped over the table in my workspace to encourage my embroidery work. You can also refer to different patterns on fabrics, clothes and home decor to light a new spark in your next embroidery design.
3. Let illustrations and art kickstart your imagination.
Flip through children’s books, whether they’re your favorites from when you were young or just something you find at a used book sale. Or explore art websites like Craftsy, Society6 and Etsy to see the works of brilliant illustrators and artists. The very wonderful Megan of Studio MME encourages everyone who visits her blog and shop to “Rekindle their Wonder,” by allowing their embroidery skills to run free. Her Coming Home pattern, turns her original pen and ink illustration of Imogene into a work of art, featuring a girl with antlers that is enough to spark wonder and imagination in each stitch.
The best part about the creative process is that we allow our minds to wander organically, dreaming up the next project we want to complete. This is an excellent practice in taking ideas to finished artistic pieces. If you can dream it, you can make it!
4. Explore others’ projects online and collect what you love.
Jump online and instantly access inspiration through Craftsy’s projects section, pattern shop or embroidery blogs, and keep track of what you love! I have found that the adage about collecting antiques, “Surround yourself with the things you love most in life,” applies not only to home decor, but to embroidery, as well. Take a little time to organize the ideas that inspire you the most and run with them. Use bookmarking sites like Pinterest and Delicious, or your own Tumblr to store of all the beautiful inspiration you find so that you can revisit it when you’re ready to begin your next work of art.
5. Discover new techniques with convenient online classes.
If you can dream it, it can be done- you just need the skills! Learn how to hand embroider over 25 types of stitches with decorative flair when you join Jessica Marquez’s Design It, Stitch It Hand Embroidery class. Get all the tips and tricks you need to begin stitching away!