Experiments in Embroidery

experiment embroidery

One question I ask my interview guests on the Hands of Embroidery series is which piece of advice they would give to their younger self that they wish they had known before.  There was one answer that really struck a chord with me. It was written by the inspiring senior embroiderer Bruna Jones:

I enjoyed learning and exploring the many stitches and working them in different threads. Had many doodle cloths. I wish I had been more serious and spent time designing and producing finished pieces of embroidery instead of just playing with the stitches.

When I read this, it felt like she was addressing me.

I love to explore stitches, techniques and stuff like this. But this comes at the cost of making finished projects and stretching my creative muscles.

Fear of Failure

I have so many plans and ideas for new projects and tutorials! The thing is, for some of those tutorial ideas I don’t have enough personal experience to give you great advice. Yes, I can totally research the heck out of it and gather information. Yes, I could do a tutorial out of that. But you know what? I want to. Why? Because there is so much copy and paste advice out there. So many opinions on things that nobody ever cared about trying out to see if it actually is the best or easiest way to do things. A perfect example are those Pinterest pictures that promise you the perfect DIY or trick/tip and if you are lucky half of them actually work.

There are so many fields in embroidery I would love to write tutorials about, but to be honest: I don’t have much experience in those fields. Like mending clothes, embellishing clothes and accessories with embroidery, embroidery on paper, needle painting, using different dyeing techniques to create unique fabrics for embroidery, ribbon embroidery, how to make a pet portrait with stitches, the list goes on and on.

I love writing about the basics like embroidery stitches, flower embroidery, and tools & materials. But this is something you can read all over the internet. Besides all the beginner questions (I answered those quite often – if you are a beginner look here) many of you are interested in those other topics that not many embroidery websites write about. Especially when it comes to using embroidery for practical things, there is a lot more to know than just which stitches to use.

experiment embroidery

Room for experiments

Lately, I feel like I have written about everything I know about embroidery. It’s not true, but it feels like it was. In the past months, I mostly held my needle to make tutorials. No room for experimentation. No room for testing and tweaking, for learning things I did not try before. No room for failure, because nobody has time for failed experiments. Everything has to be perfect at the first try.

It is not that I ran out of ideas. I just never took up my needle and brought these ideas into reality.

And this is something I want to change. Beginning today, I will dedicate 3 hours of my day to experimentation for 3 weeks. It doesn’t have to be embroidery. It can be anything creative like drawing, dyeing, knitting, sewing – anything that makes me curious and is not a grind. So using this time to knit some generic socks for winter is a nono because it’s a grind. Using the time to knit some socks in a technique I never tried before is ok.

I will try my best to document everything and even show you the failed experiments. I will show you everything on a daily basis on my Instagram. I don’t know if there will be enough to show every day for a blog post, so I will do a summary of my doings each week on the blog – maybe more often.


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  1. I used black mess screen over fabric and embroidered a big fat freehand pink clover on it once. The screen not only looked cool it served as spacers.

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