Hooked on Needles

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Embroidery Class for Children

We have a beautiful new children's room at our local library where I take my own children at least once a week for storytime or just to play and pick out new books to bring home. They always have fabulous programs for the children with music and magic and all kinds of fun things for all ages.

I spoke with one of the librarians a few months ago to see if they might be interested in offering some kind of needlework class for some of the 'older' children. I suggested knitting, crocheting or embroidery, and she picked embroidery.

So this week I have been working up my sample embroidered journal cover which the children in the class will do over four one-hour sessions later this summer.

I purchased seven square spiral-bound journals at my local Michael's store for $1.00 each. That will be enough for each student and one for my sample. I decided to start out with a maximum of 6 children, ages 10 to 12, in this class.

I wanted the fabric to be heavy enough so that the thread and the cute design already on the journal front would not show through, so I chose this blue denim and purchased 1 1/2 yards. I laid out the journal on my cutting mat to determine the dimensions necessary to make an old fashioned brown-paper-bag-type of book cover. I figured out that I would need to cut the fabric two inches larger on the top and on the bottom and four inches larger on each end.

Then I set to work drawing up a design. I thought children of this age group would enjoy something cheerful, and I'm also not a very good artist, so the design had to be simple! So this rainbow/clouds/sun/rain design is what I landed on. I drew it on white paper and poked holes in it at appropriate places so that I could transfer my design to the fabric with a fine point Sharpie by making dots on the fabric through the holes. It worked out great!

This is what the cover looked like pinned in place on the notebook with the design transfered with blue Sharpie for the lines and black Sharpie for the dots.

I chose DMC Perle cotton in bright rainbow colors for the rainbow, white for the clouds, light blue for the raindrops, and the sun will be done in the same yellow as in the rainbow. I thought the Perle cotton would be good to start out with so the children won't have to worry about separating their floss.

I unpinned the fabric from the journal and hooped it with an 8-inch spring hoop, big enough so that the whole design fits inside. Each of the children will get a hoop to use for the class project and keep afterwards. For the rainbow design, I chose a fun and funky zig-zag stitch which will be easy for beginners and show instantaneous results. I stitched small straight stitches at evenly spaced intervals in red on the first two lines of the rainbow design.

Then from the front of the fabric, I stitched through each of the straight stitches, alternating between top and bottom row, to form a zig-zag.

With the orange thread, I stitched the third row of straight stitches. Then from the front of the fabric I stitched through the straight stitches, alternating between the orange and the lower row of red to form the orange stripe of the rainbow.

I continued this same technique with the yellow...

and the green...

and finally the blue and purple. I know rainbows end with indigo and violet, but for my purposes, I thought purple was sufficient!

I hope to finish up the sample this weekend so I can share it with you and bring it to the library to be displayed. Hopefully I'll have a full house for my little basic embroidery class for children and the art of embroidery can continue on with the next generation!

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  • Hi MGM! I looked at this project and wished my kids were old enough to go to your class! I like that rainbow you made.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 3, 2008 at 1:22 PM  

  • Thanks RD! Perhaps in a few years we'll do it again and they WILL be old enough! You can always get them started early using those little sewing cards with shoe laces, or tie a length of yarn on a large plastic needle and let them string pony beads. My little ones love both!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At October 3, 2008 at 1:36 PM  

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