Stitch Lab Project: Toile Embriodery

I taught a week summer camp at the Stitch Lab. It was a popular offering and ten kids signed up! Whoo! There are six machines in the room and ten girls signed up, so you can do the math on that. There was still going to be down time, so I came up with a great strategy. It worked so well that I have to share.

My plan was to offer a second project away from the machines. I was inspired by artist Richard Saja and his crazy fun embroidery work. The project had enough open endedness that it was perfectly suited to kids. I bought ten embroidery hoops, two packages of needles, a jumbo assortment of floss and 1.5 yards of toile. Before the class began, I prepped the fabric. With a quilting square and a rotary cutter, I “fussy cut” out 10″ x 10″ squares with pastoral scenes in the middle and then zig-zagged the edges. It is upholstery fabric, so it is already a great weight for embroidery.

When we started the class, I talked about embroidery and explained the project. I defined toile and I talked about what Mr. Saja had done already. On purpose, I did not show them any pictures. I was afraid if I did they would hold one of his projects in their mind and try to do something they had seen rather than something they imagined themselves.
Here is what the girls did:
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Although I talked about splitting the threads up and using less than the full 6 strands of floss at once, some of the girls dove right in and used the hole floss. That is their artistic choice.
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Some of the girls were so pleased that they took them home, and worked on them at night. The project was such a success that I had to withhold the embroidery until they had finished specific steps in their machine sewing project.
The results exceeded my expectations.
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They are clever and individual, I love things about each of them.
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It was a super non-threatening way to learn some sewing skills. The class was quieter and more relaxed when they had their projects. Like all good crafts, this was an opportunity to find the pace and the peace of working with their hands.


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10 years ago by in Crafting with Kids , Crafts , Embroidery , Needlecraft | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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