After four and a half months of forced quarantine, the watercolours that I had started doing pre-lockdown started to get tiring. They were no longer a creative escape, painting beautiful flowery landscapes that I wasn’t able to visit was becoming depressing. So after one of those long days of scrolling through Etsy, I caved, I bought my first embroidery kit.
Embroidery has gained popularity in the past few years among art school kids and adult women with too much free time on their hands, and turns out I am both. It seems like with the lockdown, embroidery it’s starting to become mainstream. There are embroideries of literally everything, the Simpsons, endangered species, feminist icons… Anything you can think of, someone has an embroidery of that on their wall.
So In July, I bought a Christmas-themed embroidery kit. I didn’t know how long it’d take me to finish it, so I thought maybe by the time I was done, the jolly reindeer would be relevant.
First date: Embroidery kits
I’ve only tested one embroidery kit that came with the design printed on the fabric. I bought my first-ever embroidery from Cinnamon Stitching on Etsy. The kit comes with the hoop, fabric, needle and threads. Most kits also come with a stitching guide on how to create the design.
I liked using a kit, it comes with everything you need, and it’s easier and faster than doing your own design, but the whole process feels less creative because you’re just stitching over a pre-drawn design and using specific colours someone has chosen for you.
After finishing the Christmas embroidery I decided to create my own designs, thinking I was ready for the challenge, but I was wrong. So wrong.
Failed date: Antonio, the ugly cat
The following week, I drew a picture of my cat, based on a design I’d seen on Pinterest. Ignoring the fact that I was too new to embroidery, I decided to make this complicated design my next project, and it ended badly. Embroidery seems easy until you realise that it takes a certain level of experience to create volume and shapes effortlessly.
Love at first sight: Embroidery box subscriptions
Once the marketing gods realised I was interested in embroidery and arts and crafts, I started getting ads for every craft and DIY subscription box delivering to the UK. I decided to try Craftpod because it was the most embroidery-focused box.
Craftpod is a seasonal subscription, delivering 4 boxes every year, each one of them with one embroidery design and one sewing project. I started with their Summer 2020 box. It comes with everything you need to complete an embroidery design and to sew a pouch. Which I decided to instead use the fabric of the bag to create a face mask. We’re still living through a pandemic after all.
I’ve joined their yearly subscription because I’m in my mid-twenties and if there’s something millennials like is subscription boxes.
Happily ever after
I soon discovered that doing embroidery is like a drug, once you start, you can’t stop. It becomes a personality trait, every piece of clothing you own suddenly becomes a blank canvas that needs to be embroidered.
I’ve gained some new confidence after the failed cat experience, and I’m doing my own designs again. I’m also embroidering all my t-shirts, jeans and towels. I will soon become embroidery.