When I was 12, my art teacher gave the class an embroidery sampler to do. There were some premade flowers to sew on to the burlap fabric. Some straight stitches to accompany it and a few lazy daisy stitches for leaves. My parents framed it and it was hanging in the kitchen for the longest time. I somehow got hooked on it, so much so that I spent a summer or two teaching myself hand embroidery from a kit that my mother probably bought me. I had no mentors. There was no one in the family that I could ask questions to and none of my friends did embroidery either. I also learned to sew in 7th and 8th grade.
I continued to do embroidery and sewing as a hobby until college. I studied accounting and computer science. Upon graduation, I found work as an accountant and/or business systems analyst. My embroidery and sewing continued to stay in the background as I worked countless hours. Since I wasn’t married, I was my own breadwinner and in North Jersey, you need 2 incomes because the cost of living in the state is so high. Needless to say, my needlework took a back seat to earning a living. Additionally, all the fabric stores seemed to have gone out of business.
Eventually, I got married. I pulled out my mother’s old sewing machine, a Singer 404, and made my wedding dress. I was reminded of how much I missed my sewing. The whole time I was remembering my grandparents. My father’s father was tailor. He learned this trade back in Italy. So when he came to the US, he found work in NYC. My father’s mother of course learned to sew back in Italy too when she was growing up. When she came to this country, she found work in the factories. During WWII, she was sewing uniforms for the soldiers and getting paid by the piece. Another time she worked in the local carpet mill. Now my mother’s mother sewed as a hobby. She had worked full time for the phone company before my mother arrived. Then she did the mother/daughter outfits and crocheted a few blankets, one of which I still have.
Then one day, an admin in my company wanted to learn to crochet so she could do it in her retirement. So a colleague agreed to teach her at lunch time. Well, the group grew and it was a way to chill out at lunch time. It was renamed to the Crochet and Knitting Club. Then it was the Crochet and Knitting and Embroidery Club. Then it was changed again! LOL Finally my colleague, the Girl Scout leader that she was, changed the name to a generic “Textile Arts Assembly”. Work deadlines finally took their toll on the group, but not before I finished several of my UFO’s (that’s Un-Finished Objects). They are now finally framed and hanging in my home.
Then my husband and I moved to PA where housing is more affordable with a single wage. I found a local store that not only sold fabric, but they had machines for sale and they serviced machines as well. I brought my mother’s machine in for its long overdue servicing. I walked into the store and I felt like I walked into a candy store. Not only did I find much to entice me back into sewing, but the employees were also “into” their craft. I bought a new machine that could do some of the stitches my mother’s machine couldn’t do. But after seeing the machines that do embroidery in addition to general sewing, I sold my new machine and bought a used machine that did sewing and embroidery. I eventually started taking quilting classes and making quilts. Seems I also always wanted to do that as well since, while unpacking, I found a book I bought many years before on how to quilt.
But the embroidery was still nagging me. I was not finding anything that got the creative juices flowing. Finally, I found Dakota Collectables and their Candy Cane Applique project. I used this package to finally learn the embroidery portion of my machine. I was now hooked and the rest is history.