EMBROIDERY

Embroidery is one art form with a long history that today’s technology has taken to a whole new level. From what I have read embroidery has been around since man began to wear clothes back to the Iron Age. According to history it all started when man realized that he could use thread to join pieces of fur to make clothes. I’m sure we have all seen photos of cave men with stones and bones added to their clothes for decorations, well supposedly that is how it all was started. From using bones for decoration, the next step was adding beads and thread to form decorative patterns.

The one thing about embroidery it seems to be worldwide like Ancient Egypt, China, India and England. Each country has its own unique style of embroidery, which manages to incorporate the culture and imagery from their own history and tradition. In many cases, embroidered clothing was considered to be a symbol of wealth and prestige. Not only was embroidery used for decoration but there is a lot of history that has been embroidered onto fabric. Luckily some of the early samplers were saved that showed how the early settler in American brought their crafts from Europe. They mainly used vegetable dyed hand spun linen thread but some wool and silk thread have also been found. The development of thread would be another interesting story from the homespun and dyed thread to today’s convenience of stopping by a fabric store and pick up any color imaginable, even “invisible” thread in cotton, polyester or some other variety. Wouldn’t the early settlers have loved to have our fabric stores just down the street from them? And to think that I complain when I run short of a color of thread that I need and have to stop and pick up some more.

We have come a long way since the early days of embroidery when just a needle and thread were used to make those beautiful decorations and works of art. One of the first inventions was the shuttle embroidery, from there the development of sewing machines started in the 1860’s and the hand powered embroidery looms were in the 1870’s. Today we not only have sewing machines with one needle to help us do embroidery, we have embroidery machines that not only can use more than one needle, they handle multiple spools of thread and one of the greatest inventions in my book is that they can thread the needle almost by themselves. I would personally love to meet the person who invented that, I always seemed to have fun threading my sewing machine needle or any needle for that fact. We now also have computerized sewing machines that stitch the design practically by themselves. I wonder what the future holds for us as far as technology concerns in the embroidery world.

I could have added a lot more to this article on embroidery concerning the history such as designs that we are blessed with that came from the Dutch, how the thread and material that we use today have changed over the years, buy my love of embroidery is more personal to me.  I treasure the hand embroidered dish towels that my mother made, the hand tied quilts and other things that were sewn with love. Yes my mother had a sewing maching that was well used but her love of embroidery is shown in the hours that she would do it by hand. She had a lot of patience when she was trying to teach me some of the different stitches such as stem stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, knotted stitches and more. Even when her health was failing, she would be on my Great Grandmothers loom weaving rugs or working on a set of dish towels with animal outlines, or birds and flowers. So I understand maybe on a different level but the importance of the history of embroidery. I read somewhere but I can’t remember where that those who sew not only make history, but also memories. I tend to agree.