Their first attempts at embroidery.

Well, I have to say I’m very impressed with my girls. I decided to try to teach them basic embroidery skills, as I mentioned in this post

I decided that at 4.5 and 6 years old, I could either start them out with embroidery on cardboard, or I could go ahead and see what would happen if I gave them simple cotton fabric on an small (size 5) embroidery hoop. I figured, the worst that would happen is that they would have trouble manipulating it and we’d go back to the cardboard idea.

I also wasn’t sure how much of an attention span they would have doing it, knowing that embroidery takes patience, especially when working with needles. You would want your child to proceed slowly and not poke their fingers.

So with a simple pattern made with a permanent marker, I had each child sit on my lap while I explained what they needed to do. I cautioned them to keep the needle pointed away from them, and instructed them to put the needle in the fabric if they needed to take a break. We put a book on their laps because occasionally they tried to lay the hoop on their laps and I really didn’t want them to poke their legs.

My 6 year old went first, and she took my cautions and instruction well. The only problem was that my heart shape was not a very good one, so it wasn’t perfect because my design was bad. Other than that, she was very good at getting the needle on the dots. She did all the work, and the only thing I did was occasionally help when the thread tangled.

This is M’s second attempt, since the first attempt wasn’t as good since I made a mistake in making the heart. I decided to try again this time with a template of a shamrock, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This time she didn’t even need me for anything, except to finish knotting the thread when she was done.


And I followed the same instructions with my 4.5 year old, but this time I made a better heart shape, so her heart actually turned out better.

This is K’s first attempt:


What struck me as really amazing is that neither one needed me to guide their hands except for the first stitch. They were very good about selecting where they wanted to place the needle, and they turned the hoop over to be able to see the back side. They needed a little help making sure they came up on the same side they put the needle down on, but other than that, they were incredibly focused and patient with themselves.

My perfectionist 4.5 year old never once whined, “I can’t do it”. I’m so very pleased with how well this project went over.

I can’t believe how much my children amaze me on an almost daily basis.

Now that I know they can do it and seem to enjoy it, I think I will continue to do have them do embroidery work, maybe a project every week or so. Now I just have to come up with some relatively simple, but interesting designs.

Actually, now that I think about it, I might actually have them do a few more basic shapes and put them into a fabric book to help my youngest daughter learn her shapes.

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4 Responses to Their first attempts at embroidery.

  1. Cute! Putting dots on is a great idea.

  2. growinginpeace says:

    Thank you. Once they get really comfortable doing it this way, I think I will actually trace a pattern and have them learn how to do an outline stitch (now that I found a video tutorial for it). I just want them to get feel successful this way for a while (since it’s a little easier than doing an outline stitch). It made them feel really good to be able to do it. They got the chance to show their grandma today and they were so proud!

    I’m looking forward to learning more stitches too. Maybe it will be a hobby all of us can do together. It definitely is great for building eye-hand coordination and patience. I used to need a lot of both when I was loading vertical electrophoresis gels in the laboratory before the days of capillary electrophoresis, lol. Maybe if any of my girls follow in my footsteps, they will have great skills to take to the lab.

  3. Jenny F. Scientist says:

    I’d never thought of sewing as a lab prep skill, but it probably helps. The spouse sews up frogs regularly (after stealing their eggs, of course), for which it would definitely be useful!

  4. growinginpeace says:

    Ha! Yes, it would be could for that! I read somewhere about a woman surgeon having some difficulty trying to sew up a (rather large, I think) patient, and in deciding what technique to use, used some sort of embroidery stitch to make the stitch seamless (because evidently puckering is a problem when you stitch up a larger person). I can’t remember where I read this, and since I haven’t been reading fiction at all lately, I can’t fathom that it wasn’t a true story. Maybe she used a blanket stitch? I really don’t know. They never really said, but the male doctors who were observing her were really impressed.

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