Looking at Embroidery in a New Light

I wrote a few weeks ago about coming out of the quilting closet. This week, my topic is embroidery, because I feel like it comes with a different set of preconceived notions than quilting. Here’s what got me thinking…

I need to get names embroidered on seven holiday stocking cuffs. (Don’t be impressed that I’m working ahead…I’ll probably still be finishing these up on December 23!) The source I used last time is no longer available, so I started calling around town, trying to find someone else to do it for me. I called one shop, and this was the reply: ”Oh honey, we don’t do embroidery for you…we sell the machines and teach you how to do it yourself.”

My initial (and current) reaction was that I’m not interested in learning to use an embroidery machine—I just need seven names stitched. I dabble in the decorative stitches on my sewing machine, but that’s as close as I’m planning to get to actual embroidery. Real embroidery is for, well, grandma quilters.

Then I started thinking more about it. Is my attitude about embroidery any different than others’ attitudes about quilting? I’d always looked at embroidery as something I had no interest in, something for a certain kind of person, but not me. I think of embroidery as what’s on t-shirts you buy on vacation, or on grandmas’ sweatshirts. While both of those examples are true, there’s also gorgeous embroidery embellishing quilts, on clothing (including a favorite dress of mine!), and personalizing things like quilts, towels, and stockings.

I’m not saying I’m going to become an embroiderer tomorrow, but, I do think I’m achieving a new sense of perspective and becoming more open to the possibilities this art form offers. And, in the meantime, I’m still looking for someone to embroider the names on the stockings I’m making!

Lisa Swenson Ruble

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