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First Stitches

First Stitches

A little while ago, Yvette at White Threads blog interviewed me for her blog. In the interview, we talked about how I started to embroider, and I described – and provided a picture of – a piece that I worked on with Grandmama when I was about eight or nine.

I went to visit my parents a few days ago and they fished this mat out of the archives. I made it at school, when I was about six – you can tell my family has a bit of a thing about making things, from the fact it was still in existence.

I remember almost nothing about making it, except that I got bored of running stitch very quickly, and I must have mentioned that to Grandmama; maybe she suggested the arrowhead stitches and the whipped running stitch. I am fairly sure  that I was the only one in the class who did anything but running stitch in a square.  Embroidery wasn’t fashionable at the time, so I suspect most of the other children’s parents and grandparents wouldn’t have taken much interest in what we were doing.

The back looks hair-raising – Miss Hunter would have had a fit! –  but how many of us have our very first piece of stitching to bring us back to earth?



  1. Janice says:

    Well, Rachel, since we were separated at birth you won’t be surprised to know that I have something very similar! I can’t hand on heart say it was my very first piece of stitching but it dates from the same sort of years and is a needlecase, which my mum used as her needlecase ever since. After she died I took the contents of her sewing box and now have it. I’ll see if I can find it to photograph it and put it on my blog! There are definitely no arrowhead stitches but I think running and cross stitch feature quite a bit.

  2. Elmsley Rose says:

    Wow! I’d love to have something that old that I’d done! I know I experimented with sewing, but anything I did is long gone, along with my stuffed toys, which I still miss.

    Rather off topic, but kind of not – a dear friend of mine sat me down at her kitchen table one day, and showed me a sewing box. One of those cantilevered wooden ones, that pull horizontally outward left and right to reveal drawers at each level?
    It had belonged to her ex-husband’s grandmother.
    It was full of vintage sewing supplies. An awful lot of elastic.
    The treasure was the vintage sewing thread, all on wooden spools, in every colour of the rainbow that you might find in sewing in the 1930s and 40s (those lovely muted colours).

    After we’d explored it all, she told me that it was all for me!

    I took it home, and put all the threads in colour order – filling the whole box since I put them in a single layer. (I put the elastic and bias binding into my general sewing box)

    It’s something I absolutely treasure.
    I also have my own grandmother’s cantilevered sewing box – a smaller one, tho it didn’t have anything in it when I got it.
    So the pair of them live happily together in a corner of my loungeroom. 🙂

  3. karen says:

    I think it’s amazing that you still have this. A real treasure and a fantastic heirloom.

  4. Lady Fi says:

    I think it’s lovely – and so well done for someone that young because the motor skills aren’t all in place yet. Both my kids have done something similar at age 6 and 7 at school. We use them as napkins!

  5. Just shows that you were adventurous in your stitching even at a very young age!

  6. […] A few days ago Rachel at VirtuoSew Adventures posted a picture of her very first needlework project. […]

  7. […] the first embroidery I did without guiding holes in the fabric (like the little mat I described in an earlier post). I remember starting it when I was visiting a friend – it was a rainy day, and I think her […]