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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Supplies Rolling In & Preliminaries for Kids’ Classes

 

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When preparing for kids’ classes in hand embroidery, there’s a whole checklist of things to go through before the classes are ready.

Setting goals, planning projects, stitching models, ordering supplies, constructing lessons, printing materials, kitting supplies, working out schedules, squaring away the space, getting in adequate lighting, seating, and work surfaces… there’s a lot to do behind the scenes when self-hosting embroidery classes!

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries

Even though I’m starting out with a snapshot of supplies here, this isn’t where it all begins.

Any kind of class that you might want to host locally – whether for kids or adults, whether at your home or a public venue – begins with nailing down a venue. Why? Because if you don’t have a place to meet, you’re going to have a hard time hosting a class!

Once I had the venue squared away, I considered the “audience” – in this case, the age groups I want to reach. At this point, I haven’t started thinking about projects, supplies, or anything else yet.

The first thing in any teaching endeavor is to consider your students. Who are they? What are their abilities? What do I want them to know by the time the class is over?

Once I have a grasp on those things, then I can consider the tools and methods that will achieve the goals for the class.

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries

In my case, the summer classes I’ll be hosting for kids are focused essentially on three age levels: 9 & 10, 11 & 12, and 13-15.

They’re split into three levels because there is a vast difference between a 9 year old and a 12 year old, and a 12 year old and a 15 year old.

Even though they’re all at the beginner level despite the differences in ages, when working with kids, age is often a good indicator of developed motor and cognitive skills. A 9 year old is not likely to be as deft with a needle and thread as a 14 year old. And a 9 or 10 year old is not necessarily going to comprehend instructions as quickly or retain information the same way. Of course, this can (and will!) vary with individuals, but when planning to work with a group of unknowns, it’s helpful to consider the developmental levels typical of age groups. Refining and fine-tuning can come when the classes are underway.

General Goals for Kids’ Embroidery Classes

Once the audience is nailed down, then it’s time to consider the goals for the class. What do I want them to know and to be able to do when the class is over?

With embroidery, it’s pretty obvious!

I want them to know some basics about embroidery in general, to be able to put those basics to work on any self-directed project outside the class, to have a decent repertoire of stitches to begin with, and to have confidence to pursue embroidery away from the classroom. I also want them to experience successfully finishing a project. And, through it all, I want them to have fun!

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries

Once general goals are in place, the specific goals for each class can be narrowed down.

Then, I have to consider the materials and the methods of reaching the goals for the class. And that’s where sample stitching comes in.

Now, I lean towards the type of teacher who believes that children are much more capable than we tend to give them credit for. I learned this when teaching embroidery to young children (7 and older) years ago. Make it too simple, and they fly through without bothering to really pay attention or exercise any care or precision. Make it a little more challenging, and they slow down, which helps them learn better.

Children can learn to thread (real) needles with embroidery floss just as easily as they can learn to thread a plastic needle with pearl cotton or thick wool. A child can learn to stitch on linen or cotton with as much facility as learning to stitch on plastic canvas or felt. It just depends on the approach and on overcoming fear of the unknown. Make it fun, make it satisfying, and the materials can be more advanced than you’d think. Children love a challenge, as long as they have the wherewithal to meet the challenges and the help they need to overcome fear of the unknown.

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries

However, one thing I’ve found that can really hamper a child’s ability to get into needlework is presenting too many choices.

Limiting Choices & Why It’s a Good Thing

While it sounds nice to say, “What do you want to stitch? You can stitch whatever you want!” or “Pick your favorite colors,” and to leave everything to the creative ingenuity of the child, the fact is, too much choice can be a catalyst for anxiety. It can put the brakes on actually doing and learning. And it is certainly a hindrance to moving the class along.

Giving a child too much choice in this kind of situation is a lot like telling a 10-year-old “Write a composition about whatever you want to write about. Due tomorrow!” For most children at that age, that’s a recipe for failure.

So we’re preparing two levels of projects for the children’s classes.

The 13-15 year olds will have slightly more advanced projects than the 9-12 year olds. Right now, I’m stitching up the sample for the older group.

To keep supplies affordable, the projects are fairly basic: we’re doing a monogram finished in a wooden hoop and a flour sack towel, accompanied by a stitch sampler or doodle cloth as they learn new techniques. This way, the have two finished items to show for their work.

They’ll be working with regular stranded cotton in a decent array of colors, since this is the thread that, outside the classroom, they are most likely to find easily, should they explore embroidery further on their own. They’re also working with real needles (size 5 and 7 crewel, size 22 tapestry).

As far as hoops go, the most economical 6″ hoops that I could find that do the job well enough are Susan Bates plastic hoops. And yes, they’ll even have real embroidery scissors, small and sharp enough. When working with kids, I’ve found that it’s best that all supplies are supplied. Otherwise, the disparity of what they arrive with makes it difficult to keep things coherent.

Embroidery Classes for Kids - Supplies & Preliminaries

When it comes to stitching up class samples like the one above, I use the same supplies they will use, to make sure that I’m aware of everything they will encounter.

Once the model stitching is finished, we’ll work up specific lessons, then kit up supplies for each participant, and then we’ll be good to go!

Any questions, comments, or suggestions? You’re most welcome to chime in below!

 
 

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(92) Comments

  1. Yes, indeed! In fact, preteen and teen children are often *better* at stuff like threading needles and seeing tiny stitches, etc. I sometimes envy those young eyes and young fingers! 🙂

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  2. I learned to do a run stitch and an invisible hem when I was about 7. I guess it was one of those days that the kids (me and my brother) declared “I am bored” and mom decided to entertain us with sewing rags. Nobody got hurt, no eyes were poked out and I still do my invisible hems that way.

    Kids in the US are treated like invalids – getting their food cut up for them way later than needed and unable to fry an egg until they leave for college. The newer generations in Brazil are suffering from the same problem with the caveat that they don’t leave for college. So they stay home well until adulthood and never discover that laundry doesn’t get done by magic and appear folded in the drawers. (End Rant)

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  3. I want to take your class! I know I am not in the right age groups, and I am way too far away, but it sounds like such fun, and I love the photos of the sample you are working on. Best of luck with your class.

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    1. I’ll be offering some online classes down the road a bit, Zoie. In person adult classes for beginners might happen, but it will be a little while yet!

  4. I want to tell you I admire what you are doing. It seems to me you are being very thorough and thoughtful about your students and what they can accomplish and
    feel good about. I thoroughly enjoy your website and have purchased some of your projects. Your videos are excellent and again you make it easier to learn by being so thorough. I recommend your website every chance I get. I am encouraging my granddaughters to use your site to learn hand embroidery. I wish you the best in your upcoming classes. I always look forward to reading about your journey in embroidery as I love to embroidery as well
    Dianne Glover

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  5. For a long time I’ve wanted to teach children to embroider. You’ve got such a fabulous way of laying it all out. My situation though is different. I actually work at a school and am the IT for a site and I have a computer lab. During recess or lunch I offer various activities, which is when I considered offering embroidery. The problems are though the time is quite limited and the space isn’t ideal. I also find that some students don’t finish projects and that would be a real problem with embroidery. It takes more commitment than my current situation offers. My attention must be split because I am monitoring all students and their varied activities during this time. Any suggestions? Maybe it’s just not the right time to offer embroidery. 🙁
    Thank you in advance and I just love your blog. 🙂

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    1. Maybe a stitch a week challenge, and during that week, demo variations and let them stitch totally free form. Do that for a while, filling up a kind of random sampler in a hoop, and then once they’re more familiar with stitching, instruction time will be shorter, and you could do some kind of project?

  6. Oh, Mary! How I wish I could have taken a class from you when I was a kid! I think it’s just great that you are offering this chance for them to be creative. I would have jumped at the chance to learn from you.

    As a retired teacher, I think the difference between a new teacher and a seasoned one is how large their “bag of tricks” might be. In other words, what do you do when the unexpected happens? What do you do when your lesson plan falls flat and doesn’t work for two or three of the kids in the class?

    I do have stories. Lots of them! One that comes to mind is the time that the reptile was getting out of the box where he was supposed to be staying in. And this box was right next to me. My response was quite cool and collected, considering the way I feel about snakes of all kinds. The rest of the lesson I was teaching at the time sort of evaporated, as I recall.

    So have fun with the kidlets, Mary. They will love you and never forget what you have taught them.

    Best,
    Karen from Minnesota

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  7. Lucky kids! I guess we would all like to live next door to Mary. Next best thing … EGA and ANG. Both of these organizations offer learning opportunities. And, both have experienced stitchers who can help with what ever you are struggling with.

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  8. I helped teach a “fiber arts” class this past year to my daughters 7th grade class as an elective. (MY daughter did NOT elect to take it, of course!) Wish I had read this beforehand, but good tips for next time. I totally agree that leaving it too open-ended makes the kids uncertain as to what to do. I will have a “starter” project next time. Thanks for the tips!

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  9. So glad to see someone conduct classes for kids. I was fortunate in that we lived with 2 of my aunts and grandmother. They all stitched. One of my aunts let me start probably around 5 or 6. I would stitch on my little hoop and sweat a great deal as I stitched and stitched. This is according to my Mom. After I went to bed Aunt Ethel would take out all my stitches and get the fabric ready to stitch the next night. That is why I still stitch today and so glad to have found your blog and also Inspirations (I have subscribed)!!!!!

    Thank you again for taking the time to teach stitching to the younger generations!!

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  10. Hi Mary. Reading this post has me chuckling as I recall a post you wrote many years ago. It was about the younger kids wetting the end of their thread in their mouths before threading their needles. Their motto was “the wetter, the better”. I think of this often as I reach for my needle threader even though I was taught “by mouth” as a child. Your classes will be wonderful for the newbies.

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  11. What a fantastic undertaking! Years ago I wanted to open a fabric shop and then start some classes for evenings, and then summer camps as well. After reading this, I can see now that it would have been a bigger deal than I made it out to be in my mind. I am so glad that someone is passing on the traditions that we learned, there are far too many kids out there who don’t have an appreciation for the finer things in life!

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  12. I learned how to embroider through my Girl Scout troop. The funny thing I remember about the adventure was that we were not at a table, but working sitting in chairs in a circle, with the hooped fabric in our laps. Well, we initially needed both hands on the top of the fabric to manipulate the needle and thread, which led to a number of us stitching our pieces to our skirts. The instructor had to come around, one by one, and get us unstitched from our clothes. A very fond memory.

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  13. It is a really great idea to limit things. I’ve found that, creatively, if I’m given a box to work in, I’m far more likely to expand beyond that box. When I was a beginner at embroidery, I would add so many things to patterns just because I felt like it. I had a habit of using the stitches I wanted to use instead of the ones I was instructed to use. Then, with needlepainting, I started choosing my own colors.
    Now, I am not in a box. The box is a distant memory. I’ve tried climbing back in, but I get all frantic, like a hamster.
    What does one do without the box? “Anything you want.” But I want to do EVERYTHING. I miss the box.

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    1. Well put. I agree. I believe constraints in art and/or craft generally increase creativity.

  14. I had the good fortune to teach hand sewing and embroidery for the kids’ program at the local library. This was so successful even some of the mothers participated with great enthusiasm, not even having use a sewing needle before. SO, congratulations on this wonderful experience.

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  15. I am at the moment in the process of making a 2″ square pincushion with embroidery on each side. Thought that might make a good project for kids and give them their first pincushion. I make 4 sides with embroidery and then wrap each peice around a peice of card and sew them together and add a felt base peice stuff and add domed top peice. Only have blog no website.

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  16. You have a great basis teaching plan and know the ages very well! I teach sewing on a machine(!) and it is remarkable how adaptable they are and most want to learn . It is a 6 week class so the non-interested or enthused ones don’t have to struggle for mom too long. I still am teaching one on one to a little girl in her 3rd year. We have done embroidery much like you describe, real needles, floss and fabric. I love when I hear her mention a certain stitch and using it in a project. I think you are a great teacher and wish you much success.

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  17. Oh, Mary! This sounds wonderful! They will become more creative as they develop the great skills you plan on teaching them. Here’s to your classes! You are setting up a program for success! They will love it. marilyn

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  18. Sounds like a good solid approach — especially not underestimating the capabilities of the various aged children. Will you also have an assistant available or do you manage it all by yourself?

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    1. Oh, I definitely have an assistant! In fact, my niece (she’s 23 and a kindergarten teacher – she’s also embroidered with me since she was, oh, ten? eleven?) is teaching the younger ones and I’ll hang around to be her assistant. And then I’ll probably take a more proactive role with the older kids. We’re pretty much working together on it. In fact, she’s in the other room cutting fabric for samplers right now, and I’ve been sitting here working on the project designs and stitch diagram. It’s fun to have someone around to work with for a change!

  19. great design!! would love to take an online class.

    for me the hardest part of embroidery is getting the design onto the fabric.

    while i have read much about it, i think i just need to actually try it. as they say practice makes perfect.

    doing so will open the door to so many more options for me to embroider as for now i work mainly from kits with fabric already preprinted.

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    1. Hi, Marysue – I really think with design transfer, it’s just a matter of doing it. Sometimes, we let that beginning point become a mountain to large to hurdle. But once we start in, we realize it isn’t that overwhelming after all!

  20. Great article. I’m so happy for your new space. I agree with all your points and most strongly, FINISHING the project. Whether or not they continue with embroidery, it’s always good to learn the life lesson of finishing what had been started. Thanks for all the updates, and such a great website. Um Gemali

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    1. Anywhere from 5 onwards has worked for me. I find the most receptive and manageable age to begin with regular supplies and regular stitching (stripped floss, a variety of stitches, needles, handling things a little more responsibly, keeping the needle threaded, and carrying through) is 9, and sometimes 8, depending on how “craft oriented” a child is.

  21. I think it’s absolutely terrific that you are sharing your talents with the younger generations. I wish I were there to help out!
    I am a needlepointer but not in embroiderer but want to learn. Do you have lessons that you offer for those who don’t live nearby?

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    1. Hi, Meg – Thanks for your comment! Many of my e-books work out to be step-by-step lessons in embroidery. If you’re just getting into surface work, Stitch Sampler Alphabet is probably the most versatile, as it covers so many free-style stitches and combinations. I have lots of step-by-step projects documented here on Needle ‘n Thread, too, under “Tips & Techniques” in the main menu. The first section of that page offers different collections of articles that are tutorial based and work through different projects. I’ve run some online classes in the past, and will most likely start that up again in the future, but not just yet. I have a few things to get finished first!

  22. Hello there, the needlework books listed at the top of this blog, are those books you recommend? Thank you

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    1. Yes they are! I also have a Books link in the main menu that will take you to an index of many of the books I’ve reviewed on the site.

  23. Any chance you will be offering the sampler as a downloadable pattern? Looks like a fun project for all ages.

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  24. WOW!! I look forward to pics of the children’s classes.
    And, they are such a great way to joggle the desires of the mothers. Maybe even a mother-daughter embroidery class later on!

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  25. What a joy to have your own space devoted entirely to your artistic endeavors. Your tour was most pleasing and it is easy to tell that you are well on the way to spending hours on the creative work you love most.

    Though a long time embroiderer, I have never become truly proficient and creative. It might be fun for some of us “older’ students to stitch-along with the class. and practice some of the stitches in a more casual manner.

    Just adore your “Party in Provence”, but feel hesitant to attempt such a richly colored and highly detailed design.

    Your messages are thoroughly enjoyable and often amusing. Please accept my thanks and appreciation.

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  26. Sounds like a very well organised school teacher. These traits carry over to all sorts of ventures. Good luck with your venture Mary and have fun. ttfn

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  27. As a child facing many months in bed my mother taught me to sew, simple stitches and colourful threads. I was three years old. Seventy years later I’m still sewing and enjoy challenging my abilities. Thank you Mum!

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  28. How do you “find” students? I have offered classes through 4-H and Girl Scouts and am lucky to get 2 or 3 kids dhow up. enjoy your blog!

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  29. Looks like alot of pre-work!! And the stitchery you are working up is beautiful: is there any chance you might sell it in your shop? Thanks, Helen

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  30. I’m so happy for you that you have your new studio space that will accommodate your classes! They sound like fun & you sound very enthused about doing them. I’m sure the kids are going to have a great experience!

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  31. Mary, lucky kids who get to take a class with you! I wish someone like you had been around when I was in any of those age groups. That was a looong time ago 🙂

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  32. I love that you brought up limiting choices. What an important and often overlooked advantage and focuser when we live in such an information rich and supply rich (there’s even a craft supply thrift store near where I live with plenty of clean, discarded and economical supplies for all sorts of crafts) society. It’s easy not only for kids but for adults to get pulled in bazillion different directions with all the riches of art and craft available, and miss the sheer joy of slowing down to learn, nevermind master, a particular technique.

    Have fun and I look forward to reading more as you progress with your young students!

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  33. I taught my grandsons’ kindergarten class once. I had them draw their own design on paper and then trace it onto muslin. We used running stitch and some also tried backstitch. When done with their design they stitched a back on, stuffed it, and sewed it close. My goal for the class was for them to realize they could make something of their own design and to teach them to stitch up and down not around and around. Also not to make their stitches too long. I had several other mothers helping and a lot of our time was spent threading needles and unstitching things that had been stitched wrong. The children seemed to enjoy it and most of them went home with a finished pillow.

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  34. I enjoyed reading this. A lot of people have no clue of the prep work a teacher deals with.
    I love the design you are working on, will it be available on your website? And do you have a good quality tea towel you can share? Our Redwork group are doing a tea towel exchange at Christmas and I’m looking for a good quality towel.
    I would love to see some pictures of your class stitching.
    Aloha, Shel

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  35. Gosh – where were you when I learned these skills? And I didn’t have all of the supplies that you provide. My mother taught me in grade school. She learned from her older sisters. Passed down from family members and no formal classes.
    Congratulations on moving into your new studio! Looks wonderful.

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  36. I think it’s wonderful that you are willing to teach youngsters to embroider! I wish I had the opportunity as a kid to learn all the stitches.
    I also think that by breaking the class into several classes will give the kids the opportunity to master or at least be pretty good at each stitch.
    Will you be offering the design in your store, I would love to purchase it!!!!

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  37. What an excellent endeavor, teaching children to embroider–and an all too rare one these days. Also a daunting task, for all the reasons you related. Whew!

    The consensus here seems to be that you can repurpose that floral design for adult classes, whenever you get around to them!

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  38. Mary, your classes sound amazing! I totally agree about children being more capable than we give them credit for, and about limiting choices.

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  39. Super ideas, Mary!
    Have you any thoughts on creating a project book [e-book] for children.
    I have grand daughters 8,12,14 🙂
    Judy
    Qld Australia

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  40. All sounds good to me. A pity more teachers do not recognise the things that you do.
    I wish you all the best with your new endeavour and look forward to reading about it. Kind regards, Julia

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  41. Good Morning Mary, I love the design on the flour sack towel. Can we purchase that particular design…. Have a very nice week-end. And hope to be reading you soon.
    Monique. (from Huntingdon, Québec, Canada).

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  42. Hi Mary,

    So I’m curious about something that you didn’t mention and wasn’t obvious from the pictures you shared with us. That is, Boys and Embroidery. I know here in the U.S. girls are more socially “cultured” to see sewing-type skills as “their” domain and most boys in the age ranges you’ve mentioned (especially younger) don’t want to do “girly” things. (At least not where others can see them. Unless I’ve missed the boat and that’s changed considerably in the last 20 years.) So I’m wondering if any of your projects will feature things that boys would like (or society “thinks” they should like) such as cars, trains, sports, etc.? I know the eye/hand coordination embroidery teaches and requires are good skills for both sexes. I’d like to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks,
    Cynthia

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    1. Hi, Cynthia – well, I opened it up to local “children and youth,” and all the sign-ups were girls. So that made it rather easy for me!

  43. Mary, what a wonderful time those kids are going to have! Your knowledge and understanding of the teaching process shines through. Makes me remember..and wish I was teaching again! I’m looking forward to the next instalment

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  44. Those lucky children! Will you be posting pictures of their completed projects? If so, I’m really looking forward to seeing them!

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    1. Hi, Christina – I live about 30 minutes west of Topeka, along Highway 24 in KS. The classes are at the end of July through the beginning of August. At this point, they’re just for local youth. Thanks for asking!

  45. What a great lesson you have planned. I do agree that they should have all supplies gathered for them when they come in and I also prep kits. Depending on the age, I will also include simple written diagrams or pictures for them to have on hand once they leave. For my older students, I have “homework” — a piece similar to what we work on in class that they do at home and bring back for show N tell, questions and/or comments. They seem to like this and that extra stitching away from the class not only gives them the extra practice, but I do believe it builds confidence. Thank you for sharing your information.

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  46. I admire your ability to take on this challenge. You make it sound simple to set up, I don’t think it is quite as simple as you make it sound but good for you for getting these kids to embroider.

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  47. I love the design for the 13-15 yr olds, will they be working on the piece for a number of classes or finish it themselves? You are right to limit choices, even as an adult sometimes it’s hard to narrow down what I’m doing!

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    1. Hi, Feeb – the classes are divided in two parts. The first part covers basics and a few stitches. Then, during the second part, they learn how to apply what they just learned to the project. They are encouraged to stitch at home, using that lesson’s new knowledge, plus skills from previous lessons. They each receive a print out of stitch directions for the class, too, so they have something to guide them while they aren’t in class.

  48. As a former teacher, I am glad you have all the bases covered for each of your students. The rationale for each of your decisions is spot on. Congratulations. I only wish I could be there to help you.
    I was introduced to the love of embroidery by a neighbor. I still have the kitchen towels I sewed back then.

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  49. How do you manage the blanks the children fill. Transfer individually have them assist in choosing ? Individually draw the patterns ? For the size pattern you showed that is quite a bit of prep work per participant. Do you have a team to assist you? I have worked with others in order to provide skills to 7-8 yr olds and a mixed class of 5-13 which we sectioned by skill. There was a ton of pre work which I believe is why we haven’t hosted another class for years. Thank you for your time

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    1. They receive everything ready to go, because we really don’t have time for them to do the transfer part. I use an iron-on. The best way to do this without incurring a huge expense when using an original design is to use Sublime stitching’s fine tipped iron on transfer pen.

  50. Question: I am always bugged by the fact that the hoop will crush some of my stitching when I have to move it around a large project. I’ve used scroll frames on some pieces to prevent that situation, but sometimes I want something more easily portable. Do you have any tips on either protecting the stitching or “refreshing” it after it’s crushed?

    This piece reminds me of the one that my grandmother used to teach me embroidery. Make sure that you include a “lazy-daisy stitch”–it was my FAVORITE.

    Good luck with the kids, they need to be taught skills and traits that develop with embroidery: attention to detail, focus, fine motor skills, creativity, artistic appreciation, etc.

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    1. Hi, Evette – when I use wooden hoops, I bind the inner hoop and I mount a piece of scrap muslin or cotton over the embroidery ground fabric when I put it in the frame, cutting away the center so I can stitch the ground fabric, but have a ‘frame’ of protective fabric around it. I find this helps.

  51. I hope the kids classes go well and that you would consider adult classes sometime in the future. I live in an adjoining state and would gladly make the trip!

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  52. I’m glad you are using “real” implements, especially scissors. As a teacher of young children for many (too many!) years, I can attest to the fact that it is immensely frustrating for them to use “kid’s stuff”: blunt scissors being a prime example! Teach them how to use the proper stuff safely, and everyone will be much more satisfied.

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  53. I am a 1770s American Revolution era reenactor. I demonstrate embroidery at most events. Our unit consists of men, women and children ranging in age from elementary school to their late 80’s.

    One of the gentlemen in the unit had signed up as members and brought 2 of his grandchildren to events. The girl was maybe 10 years old. One day while I was working she came over and was watching me. She decided and insisted that she had to learn to embroidery. “I already know how to sew.” I was told.

    Problem is that I am working on reproduction piece which was a kit that came with threads. I always have scrap muslin with me as it is used for all sorts of things at events. She could use my second hoop. But thread? Most of the threads are cotton floss, so it was not a question of cost, but rather which thread to let her use that I could match – or get close to in color – if I ran out at the end. I decided on a nice pink (attractive to girls and I could always do one flower in a similar pink if I could not match the color exactly).

    What to teach her? I had a quick idea and taught her to do lazy daisy stitches. When she had done several of them and was doing them fairly well, I taught her how to use the basic stitch to do chain stitches. So I think these stitches are good ones to teach as one leads to the other.

    After that I set up a drawstring bag (used to hide and store all sort of things in reenacting) with some of the muslin cut to size, cheap wooden hoops (mine are nice German ones), an assortment of cotton floss, and a few pairs of nail scissors that are good scissors, but I got inexpensively at a farmer’s market.

    While she did not come again to events, I have had several of the adult members start to learn embroidery with my bag of supplies.

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  54. Hi Mary;

    I don’t teach embroidery, but I teach various types of jewelry making like enameling and metal casting. Your comments were very appropriate for the classes I teach and reminded me of a couple things I need to consider. Thanks again for an informative and fun newsletter.

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  55. Mary, will you allow some of us older students to join in the fun. Party of Provenance is deliciously intricate, but it would be nice to work on a less complex project while practicing some of the basic stitches.

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    1. Hi, Nancy! Yes, I’ll be putting together some of the projects and posting them here with the design and stitch guides. Keep an eye out! 🙂

  56. Hi Mary, I’ve been reading and utilizing your site for many years and I greatly appreciate the gracious generousity with which you share your vast knowledge of needlework. I am so happy your hard work has led to the wonderful blessing of your own store. Starting this venture with teaching a new generation the satisfaction of thread art, thrills my soul. All I can say is, I look forward to more great needlework, God’s speed, and you go girl!

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  57. Mary, I hope you have a good weekend planning out the various stitches. I’m slow on the uptake, but I just realized that I have a set of 9-year old twins that might just enjoy this project. I hope you will tell us more about thread (I’ve some in the basement), but 6″ hoops and scissors need to be purchased. Please also let us know about needles; they too need to be purchased.
    I greatly enjoy your posts and have learned a lot.
    Carolyn

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    1. Hi, Carolyn – We’re just using regular DMC 6-stranded floss, and #5 and #7 crewel needles. Nothing too exotic! 🙂 So glad you enjoy the articles!

  58. I run a cross stitch class at a Boys and Girls club in Pittsburgh, Sarah Heinz House. It is a free class and is open for all the members from 1st to 12th grade. I do limit it to 10 kids. This past year, I had a 7 yr old boy up to a 15 yr old girl. I start them off with a simple heart or star on plastic and let them pick the color of floss. When they finish it, they can choose to make it a pin or magnet. As their skill progress, I ask them what their interests are and find or chart designs that fit them. I try to keep them a quick to finish project so they see results. What I really like about the class is seeing the older members interacting with the younger. I also see a common characteristic to the members that take my class. They are secure in who they are. They don’t care what the other members think about them doing the class. They follow the beat to their own drum and I have tried to support them . I hope to encourage them to be their own person because that is what makes them interesting.

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  59. Yes! Could I blend in with the 15 year olds!! 😉 Will you do a class for us older folks!!?? I seriously need a group to stitch with and learn from.

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    1. Hi, Kelly! I will definitely let you know when I offer non-local adult classes. I’m not really to that point yet. I can do the youth classes because I’m working with someone else, who is doing most of the instruction, kitting, and whatnot. I’ll eventually be able to get something together for adult classes!

  60. Your classes for young ones is very interesting. I have two granddaughters who are 10 and 8 years, I would love to teach them embroidery. I learned at an early age of 6 and do enjoy it myself. The oldest granddaughter wants to hurry through even before instruction to finish. I would like her to slow down and enjoy the process. Your idea of a somewhat more complicated design is such a good idea.
    I have been reading through your class planning and look forward learning more about your classes. Thank you so much!

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  61. Hi Mary,
    although it is not likely that I will hand on my embroidery love and skills to kids anytime soon, I enjoy reading your account of such a project! Smart advice indeed! Three questions:
    1) what do you consider a workable group size?
    2) how long and how frequent are the sessions?
    3) including the materials, how much do the students have to shell out?

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    1. Hi, HannY –

      1. With kids, no more than six, especially if there’s only one of you. And if you don’t have any extra hands to help, I’d say five or fewer. Kids require more one-on-one time than adults do. So while an adult class can easily be around 20 (because most adults can be a little self-directed), kids are a different question.
      2. Twice a week, 1.5 hours (broken into 40 minutes + 10 minute break + 40 minutes), for three weeks
      3. This depends on a. what you’re teaching them; b. how frequently you’re teaching them; c. how long you’re teaching them; d. the materials you plan to use; e. the level of instruction / expertise required; f. whether or not you need an assistant who gets a cut; g. the cost of any other overhead; and… any number of other variables. Of course, it could be entirely volunteer, but again, it depends on your circumstances!

  62. What a wonderful thing to do! I envy those kids and wish I could take a class with you. I saw the set up room in your newest post and thought, how cozy this looks! I look forward to reading about your experiences with the children…

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