February is National Embroidery Month

This blog will give you an overview of embroidery and some links where you can learn more. Ingebretsen’s carries numerous kits and patterns as well as a rainbow of Danish Flower Thread and many of the accessories you need.

What Is The Difference Between Cross Stitch, Embroidery and Needlepoint?

Here is a quick overview of these three most popular forms of needlework.

Embroidery encompasses a full area of different decorative stitching on fabric. It includes cross stitch, crewel, ribbon embroidery and more. There are hundreds of different stitches, some of which are incredibly similar and some of which can only be done on certain types of textiles with certain materials. While the same fabrics used for cross stitch can be used for most types of embroidery, other flat fabrics without a discernible weave are also commonly used. Hardanger is a type of Norwegian embroidery. Here is a great video (although the music is not so great) demonstrating 14 basic stitches:

Cross Stitch is actually a type of embroidery, a specific style of stitching that creates small X patterns as you work. Typically, a cross stitch pattern or project also contains back or straight embroidery stitch to bring out details, and may contain other embroidery stitches such as French knots. Cross stitch is typically done on an evenly woven fabric, such as linen, jobelan, lugana or Aida. This is a video for those who would like to learn how to cross stitch:

Needlepoint is generally done in tent or continental stitch in order to cover an open weave canvas, or plastic canvas. It can also be done on perforated paper. Commonly done in wool, though other textile fibers can be used, it generally covers the entire surface that is being worked on.

Mental benefits

According to an article in My Body + Soul

“…young, stressed professionals are now taking up needlepoint as a way to relax and enjoy the benefits of their labour, and medical experts are supportive of embroidery as an effective way to improve creativity and mindfulness.”

Dr. Marlies Alvarenga, director of the Monash Clinical Psychology Centre at Monash University, says embroidery is known as logic relaxation. Forming and following patterns requires a certain logic to the practice.

“It makes beautiful sense to do this,” Alvarenga says. “You could sit on the train going to work and look out the window or you could do cross-stitch, engaging the brain in being able to develop and follow patterns, so there is a logic involved. It’s a self-induced state of focusing.”

Alvarenga says focusing on a task for a long period of time has been shown to improve concentration levels and hand-to-eye coordination.

It also stimulates the brain’s right hemisphere, which is associated with creativity.

Embroidery as Art

My Modern Met, an online worldwide museum featured the art of embroidery.

The art of embroidery has existed throughout time, dating as far back as 5th century BC. Despite its centuries-old origins, this timeless craft has continually been reenergized by visionary artists who push the boundaries of its meaning and limits. From hyperrealistic embroidered portraits to cross stitching on cars, creatives have taken the field to new and exciting places with their artwork. Scroll down to see some of our favorite artists who take the art of embroidery to the next level.

Embroidery by Private William George Hilton.

You can see some of these creative creations here.

Embroidery as Therapy

After World War I many of the hospitals tending the wounded during and after the War provided bright, clean, quiet environments where the men could perform meditative, transformative work that was essential to their rehabilitation from their physical and mental wounds.

One such activity was embroidery, also known as “fancy work”. Embroidery was widely used as a form of therapy for British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers wounded in the War – challenging the gendered construct of it as “women’s work” that was ubiquitous throughout the 19th century.

You can read more about the soldiers experience here.  You can see a report on this work here:

Ingebretsen’s has a large needlework area at the store as well as online. We recently  added kits from The Folklore Company, a company based in Gothenburg, Sweden was started in 2014. The owner and founder, Sofia Magnusson has her roots in Hälsingland – an area where folklore, needlework and crafts were always present.

The Folklore Company who has won several prizes in Sweden and wants to encourage both young and old people to do more folklore art – like cross stitching. The kits include all you need to get started on your next cross-stitch project, or makes a perfect all-in-one gift for your favorite crafter.