The Reemergence of Embroidery/by Meredith Stratmann

While the art of embroidery is a centuries-old craft, a recent spike in its popularity has come to my attention. I’ve always admired different pieces of embroidery, from ancient tapestries at art museums to old samplers at antique shops. But it always seemed like a craft more mature audiences were made to do when they were children.

That is, until recently. Around two years ago, I became more intrigued with embroidery. I was inspired by a number of art accounts I follow on Instagram and wanted to know if I could create something similar. I also had a few questions. Did it take as many painstaking hours as my mom always told me? How many tries would it take for me to produce something actually cute? 

After experimenting some on my own, I realized it is actually quite fun and therapeutic. I could do it for hours, with the biggest drawback being the pain in my thumb from constantly clutching the needle. It does also take some practice to learn new stitches. Overall, my project ended up taking a long time, but it was worth it and time well spent. 

Considering I also do needlepoint and puzzles in my spare time, I figured my fascination with embroidery was just another of my typical grandma hobbies. I continued with this mindset until recently. Last semester, I was in a meeting when someone casually mentioned she had chosen to embroider a piece of fabric rather than use the paint markers provided. I was taken aback that anyone else could share this senior citizen hobby with me.

But it was not a one-time surprise. My roommate messaged me over Christmas break to tell me that she had begun embroidering using kits. I had always just gotten the materials and freehanded images I came up with, but she let me in on a whole other world. Places like Amazon and Etsy sell kits with pre-printed images on cloth, all of the embroidery floss needed, instructions, needles, etc. Everything needed for a beautiful piece of embroidery in an easy-to-order package shipped to your door. 

These experiences, combined with seeing other people around campus with embroidered sweatshirts, convinced me that embroidery truly has made a comeback. 

When I talked to senior Allee Paxton about how she got started embroidering, she said, “I started embroidering because I was bored one summer and wanted to learn a new skill! Now, I do it to just sort of meditate because it allows me to not think for a little bit!” 

The steady repetition combined with the needed creativity makes embroidery an excellent outlet for college students and grandmothers alike. Senior Emilee Johnson said, “It’s fun and it’s cute. What’s not to like?” Given our innate nature to be drawn to cute things, it’s no wonder embroidery has once again become popular. Even if you’ve never embroidered before, take this as an opportunity to try it today! You just may love it.

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