My daughter-in-law was off to give a paper at a conference and I have been baby sitting for a few days. For me that means moving house over to the mainland. My grand daughter, Monique, who is 6 y.o. has asked me to teach her to embroider. Her nearly 5 y.o. sister Jasmine insists that she wants to learn as well. I have been waiting for this moment, which is very significant for me. I was taught by my grandmother and we started about the same age.
We have been working with a plastic needle and lacing cards up till now and I have put a lot of thought into how I will teach her. Now, I have taught lots of kids to embroider but when it comes to my own I want them to love what they are doing and that it become something special to her, like it is for me and was for my grand mother and her Grandmother.
I have so much at risk here if I don't get it right.
I have decided that I will start with a running stitch sampler. I have selected an 8 count Aida cloth, 22 tapestry needles and No 5 Perle thread in shades of her favourite colour, pink. . To this end I have a frame to put it in when it is finished and they will sign their name and the date.
But the best made plans are often not what actually happens.
I have drawn where to start and finish the stitching on the fabric. Then when we looked at the fabric, she and I, I became aware just how stiff the fabric was and that the hoop was too big. Because I had used a water soluble pen I removed this with water and this softened the fabric. I also reduced the size of the hoop which gave me a practice piece of fabric which I cut off to use as a book mark.
When I started to think this through, it became obvious that starting stitching is quiet complicated. The book mark has become the first project because it can be finished in a few sessions and it is something they will use. Both girls needed a project bag to put their work in so that had to be made as well.
Here is my ten step lesson plan and what actually happened.
- Step 1 Wash your hands
- Step 2 How to divide and store your threads. -
- I ended up having to do this myself, also, we had to learn about the length of the thread they would use and how you measure it.
- Step 3 How to cut a thread. -
- This is hard for little hands. They can easily cut the thread when they are finished but it is a bit difficult to begin with. I have cut all their threads to a length that they can handle so this is will be something we will work at.
- Step 4 How to thread a needle -
- This is going to take some time. Demonstration and trial and error with this one.
- Step 5 How to locate the centre of your work.-
- We got that straight off although I know this will vary from child to child.
Step 6 One way of starting the stitching.
- -. I decided to start with a knot. We will try other methods later.
Step 7 How to manipulate the needle to do running stitch.
- - I started with the smaller piece of fabric and an un-threaded needle. Just working out how to put the needle in and out of the holes took a whole session but when we came to stitch with thread it payed dividends
- Step 8 How to sew a row of running stitch and then repeat this in another row keeping the count even.
- - They did this almost with no help at all. Accompanied by the singing of happy songs. I think they like stitching!
- Step 9 How to finish your thread.
- - Just a back stitch.
- Step 10 How to store your work until you are ready to stitch again.
- Those project bags now hang on the handles of their bedroom doors.
So next week we will finish the book mark. They read books every night so this is something practical they can use. Then we will start the sampler.