February is National Embroidery Month. Not kidding. And unlike most of the blog mentions you’ll hear about this, I can tell you the real story behind National Embroidery Month. Track back to the 1990s (I’ve forgotten the year, honestly), when I was editor of Stitches Magazine, a monthly publication for the commercial embroidery industry. My staff and I were musing about made-up “marketing holidays,” such as National Hot Dog Day, and we all decided we needed a day like that for embroidery. Yep, we made it up.
Now, dinosaurs were no longer terrorizing Earth, but the Web was definitely not the instant news channel it is now. There was this book of marketing holidays that was primarily sold to public relations firms and advertising agencies. (Yeah, so old school.) To establish a National Embroidery Month, we merely had to write to that publisher, announce that our magazine was sponsoring this event, and start promoting the heck out of it. That’s the whole story. If anyone tells you differently, feel free to send ‘em my way.
However, I’ve got to say I totally LOVE how the fiber arts world has taken this sorta-bogus observance and made it into something really worth celebrating! Just Google “National Embroidery Month” and there are tons of hits from bloggers, artists and companies all taking a few moments to say how much they love embroidery and show off their latest project.
Myself, I’ve got at least 4 projects going that include either hand or machine embroidery! And I’ll be sharing at least one of them with you in a few days, as we begin promoting our upcoming Spring 2013 issue. For now, though, I’m flipping the pages backward, to my first embroidery.
These worn-out tea towels launched my abiding interest in embroidery. I was five years old, and remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen in rural Rice County, Kansas, carefully stitching these designs. The lilac teacup was the very first. My technique improved a bit on the second.
How about a little more in this century? This embellished mini quilt panel print is from Mooshka, a new collection by Julie Paschkis for In The Beginning Fabrics. The mini-quilt is at the heart of Julie’s picture book, Mooshka: A Quilt Story. When it’s finished, I’m going to quilt it, then make it into a pillow. You can read more about the collection in our upcoming Spring 2013 issue. (Tease.) I am really enjoying adding a little texture and flair to Julie’s folkloric-inspired design.
Of course I’m not the only GenQ floss-ophile. Here’s more staff e-dish:
Tracy Mooney,Associate Editor: “I was truly inspired by Alicia Paulson’s story of nearly losing her foot and her recovery that led her to embroider. When I heard her story, I was going through a very difficult year of physical therapy for severe arthritis in my lower spine. I was in so much pain and I happened upon a CraftSanity podcast with Alicia as the guest and she described how embroidery helped her cope with pain. This struck a chord with me. I knew that handwork lowers blood pressure and because I was going through so much pain myself, I thought I would give it a try myself.
“I started looking into modern embroidery. The work of Alicia Paulson at Rosy Little Things, Aimee Ray of Little Dear Tracks and Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching speak to me so much more than any of the embroidery I saw growing up. Following blogs like Mr X Stitch ike http://www.mrxstitch.com/ fill me with inspiration.
“The first complete project I ever did was a Valentine’s Day (designed by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching present for my son (pictured at beginning of blog post). I started it two years ago and didn’t finish it in time. So I tried again last year and succeeded. My son loved it and I remember being so happy that he took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook. He got lots of comments from their friends saying they wished their mom made them embroidered intestines. I WIN!”
Those are our staff stories. Now it’s time for YOURS. Tell us about your first embroidery experience. And we don’t care if it was last week. Floss is fabulous!