With all the hoopla about today’s magnificent embroidery machines for the home the fine art of hand embroidery still alive and well in many homes around the world.
The technique of mastering a variety of different intricate stitches and knots is a wonderful way to stay alert and keep the fingers nimble. The added benefit is the ability to produce embroidery designs that many times cannot be duplicated by a machine.
Although sewing and craft stores are loaded with machine embroidery designs, finding a broad range of hand embroidery patterns is quite easy. Even a novice at hand embroidery will be able to find dozens if not hundreds of easy to follow hand embroidery patterns.
In addition to the hand embroidery patterns found in your local sewing and craft store, you can find a seemingly infinite number of hand embroidery patterns on the internet. There is a significant number of websites that offer hand embroidery patterns for sale.
Whether you are looking for hand embroidery patterns for home décor accents such as table cloths, table runners, dish towels and napkins, children’s clothes or toys or for embroidered accents for men’s or women’s clothing, the right hand embroidery pattern is available.
Iron on hand embroidery transfers can be found on amazon.com for less than $5. Other on line sources such as needlenthread offer hand embroidery patterns to its subscribers free of charge. The issue with that source, however, is that the patterns do not come with instructions. With this in mind, I do not recommend sources such as this for the person who is new to hand embroidery.
In fact, hand embroidery patterns that do not come with instructions are a challenge for some people who have been embroidering for quite a while, but do not have the confidence to use the patterns as a guide and rely on their own creativity to use the various stitch patterns and knots they have learned over time to produce one of a kind embroidery projects.
Hand embroidery patterns that include instructions often also include embroidery floss and detailed stitch and color charts that tell the user exactly which color and stitch to use in each section of the design.
Patterns of this type are ideal for people who are new to hand embroidery and those who are adept at the art, but consider themselves to be ‘intermediate’ because they are still learning various stitch patterns and techniques.
In my opinion, the best type of hand embroidery pattern for children and beginners is the traditional cross stitch type, which consists of series of stitches that resemble x’s arranged in different patterns to produce pictures of flowers or animals and borders.
As one’s hand embroidery skills improve, they can expand their options to include some of the many different stitches and knots used by proficient hand embroiders. In fact, I learned the art of cross stitch embroidery when I was about 10 years old.
At first, I used simple patterns with the little x’s pre-stamped on a piece of linen. All I had to do was stitch over the little blue x’s until the pattern was completed. This was the perfect introduction to embroidery for me at the time.
Gradually, I moved from pre-stamped x’s to the patterns with lots and lots of different stitches, knots that resulted in many gift items for family members such as linen table cloths with matching napkins, throw pillows, and hand embroidered collars and cuffs attached to jackets, blouses and dresses.
Over time, however, I succumbed to the lure of fast machine embroidery and relinquished the charm of hand embroidery for the speed of getting the job done quickly on a sewing machine.
There have been times, however, when I took the time to add that very special personal touch to a particular collar or cuff simply because there was no way to get the desired effect by creating the design on a machine.
The primary difference between embroidery designs created on sewing machines and those created by hand are the many different stitches that can be executed by hand that are simply not available to date in machine embroidery patterns. The obvious advantage of machine embroidery is speed.
A design that may take several hours or even days to execute by hand can be finished in minutes on a machine. Embroidery machines, however, cannot yet produce the intricate 3-D patterns, stitches and knots that one can execute by hand.
In addition, when executing embroidery patterns by hand, there is no limit to the stitch length or width. To the credit of embroidery machine manufacturers, newer embroidery machines are equipped with the ability to execute longer and wider stitch patterns.
People who are interested in creating those intriguing 3-D hand embroidery designs and patterns can learn various embroidery techniques by sitting down with one of the many embroidery instruction books and manuals available in craft stores, retail book outlets and on line, by sitting down to watch an instructional video on hand embroidery techniques, or to watching detailed instructions on the internet.
When it’s all said and done, machine embroidery is wonderful. The number of patterns is extensive and growing every single day. However, the art of hand embroidery is one that a machine simply cannot duplicate.
There is definitely a place in our world for hand embroidery and that place is reserved for the artisan who not only appreciates the delicate end results of a hand embroidery project, but also for anyone and everyone who is attracted to one of a kind clothing, accessories and accents for the home.
Items embroidered by hand have a unique character and a personality of their own that is reflected by the people who wear clothing that is accented with hand embroidered designs or display hand embroidered items in their home décor.
Holiday tables that are adorned with hand embroidered table cloths, runners or napkins stand apart from all others because of the time and tender loving care that goes into making them.
In the marketplace, items embroidered by hand demand a higher price, not only because of the fact that they are in most cases one of a kind, but also because of the amount of time and detailed attention that it takes to produce a single piece.