Itching to stitch

Did you know that July 30 is World Embroidery Day? I stumbled across it on Instagram, and with a little digging, learned a bit more. The first World Embroidery Day was in Sweden in 2011, started by the Swedish Embroidery Guild. In my research process, I discovered the manifesto for World Embroidery Day. While only a single page, I think it really sums up why I’ve been drawn to embroidery. There’s a sense of calm when I work on a project, a way time passes so quickly, and also a camaraderie, since I started it alongside friends and my grandma.

This seems like the perfect day for a post about getting started with embroidery. Showcasing my projects on Instagram and Twitter has garnered some attention and I wanted to more widely share how I got started, people I look up to, and resources if you want to give it a try!

My first embroidery project, a little more than halfway finished, June 2019.

My first embroidery project, a little more than halfway finished, June 2019.

Getting a kit is a great place to start, if you’re interested in trying out embroidery. What’s great about a kit is that it will give you the necessary supplies (fabric/pattern, floss, a hoop, and a needle) along with an instruction book that will introduce to you the basic stitches. Etsy and Instagram are great places to discover kits. I’m partial to Cozy Blue, since she provided my first pattern. What I loved about the Be Still pattern is that when I opened the kit, it felt achievable and I felt welcomed to the craft.

As I got started, I relied on YouTube videos to learn some of the more complicated stitches. I’m a visual person, so it helped to have a video to watch how the needle moved. Not everyone might need the videos, so there are plenty of great blogs out there with images on stitches.

Now you might be thinking, how on earth do you not lose your needle? That’s where the infamous needleminder comes in. A needleminder is simply a magnet that you can put on your fabric and it keeps your needle close. Etsy has so many shops that sell needleminders; I found a cute little bike from Flamingo Toes that I adore. While this probably isn’t a necessity to getting started with embroidery, it is a handy tool to have.

My first four embroidery projects, July 2019.

My first four embroidery projects, July 2019.

Once you get started and have your first project under your belt, many possibilities exist for next steps. Many shops sell either PDFs or printed patterns that you can purchase; DMC has a robust selection of free patterns, just waiting to be stitched on something. Floss can be purchased at a craft store like Michaels or through DMC directly. Instagram has kept me and my gals very inspired; we have high hopes for future tote bags and denim skirts filled with satin stitches and other floral arrangements. For me, I loved Cozy Blue so much, I signed up for her monthly stitch club. At the start of each month, I get a new pattern and a set of floss. So far, it has been nice to have a pattern coming each month, and gives me a goal to work towards. There’s also a nice little community on Instagram, so it’s fun to see how other people interpret the pattern and what stitches they choose!

Finally, every good project needs a way to be displayed. I’ve relied on books like Hoop Dreams to help guide some of that post-project work. I also recently purchased some beautiful frames from Stitch Life Studio, which have been a lovely addition to my apartment wall.

My new wall, filled with my embroidery projects.

My new wall, filled with my embroidery projects.

Even though I started this hobby a few months ago, I feel like I’m stitching for the long haul. If you stitch or get started with embroidery, let me know. I really love to see what others create in this community.

Hyperlink Roundup -- July 31st

A long overdue post which essentially is a collection of the many tabs I had open in Safari. I decided to take a break from paper writing to clean things up a bit. Volia! Hyperlink roundup.

To begin...a video! Introducing Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library parody to "Shake It Off." Also, see how many Taylor Swift references you can catch. 

  • An article talking about a scholarship I received through the department and one I'm very grateful for. 
  • I blog for YALSA and was directed the other day to the YALSA Hub and found an article on YA feminist literature. I haven't been reading a ton of YA books lately, but these sounds interesting and might have to move to the top of my list! 
  • An interesting commentary by Naomi Wolf from The Guardian on vocal fry. I had been hearing about it more recently since one of my favorite podcasters, Anne Friedman, has been criticized for it. When I think about how I talk, I think about my voice in two ways -- the way I use it in a workplace and how I use it with friends. I picture giving a tour for Admissions a year ago and how that voice is distinct from the voice I use when I'm hanging out. It's almost like flipping a switch, the voice becomes more poised, confident, articulate, and steady.  
  • A little behind the eight ball on this article but found it as I was attempting to clean up the numbers of tabs I have open. It's from the Slate on why arts should be included in STEM curriculum (making it STEAM). The author, Stephanie E. Vasko, talks about how we often group crafting into a "low tech" category and 3D printing in "high tech." This not only creates a divide that shouldn't be there, but it also reinforces the implication that white males use 3D printers and everyone else can just craft. Not. True.  
  • I've been listening to some STAND OUT podcasts recently. First up, Anna Sale on Death, Sex, and Money. Her most recent podcast with Joy Williams (from the Civil Wars) is quite moving. Also, I couldn't get over how fantastic her live podcast/performance was at BAM in Brooklyn. I was especially in awe of Tracey K. Smith. She read some beautiful poetry and her story resonated so much with me, I immediately checked out her memoir (reading now). 
  • Again, this Tiny Desk Concert happened at the beginning of June, but I can't get Genevieve's song "Colors" out of my head. This video recording is awesome, especially Genevieve's outfit. Not something I could pull off but she does it so well. 

Then, a video to end. This is a pretty hilarious video, especially since they really play up all the librarian stereotypes we have heard over the years. Enjoy (and hope you chuckle as much as I did)

Life photos

Summer is #FLYING by. Is it really July?!?! There never seems to be enough time to read all the books on the bookshelf, read all the articles that have been printed, and spend time in the sun by the pool. Here's a quick peak at my summer so far, from whatever photos I have taken on my phone. Enjoy!