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Stitching Together Generations

A hot topic around Nordic these days is how to keep the stitching arts alive through education. When I started working here the only “stitching” I did was knitting and machine, and then it was only as far as simple sweaters, scarves, and the occasional article of clothing. I had no idea how vast the world of stitching was! What I thought would be a very low-key retail job turned into this (nearing 5 year long) epic adventure into the world of needlework. That got me thinking: if I had no idea what these techniques were until serendipitously stumbling into this position, then there were millions of others who were just as ignorant as myself out there! What to do? It seems like the major following and “continuing” stitchers are the wiser and experienced lot, not the young crowd of go-go-getters and next-cool-thingers none the wiser to the traditional techniques of our mother generations. What I found disheartening was that my mother had, at one time, been into embroidery, and she still enjoys Crewel (and wants to learn cross stitch), but growing up she was just too busy being a single mother of two for stitching, so I never had the opportunity to be interested. How many other 20-somethings out there were in the same position growing up? Probably a lot.

Now, as the generation gap continues to widen, it seems like more and more needlearts are becoming stuck, almost corralled within their age groups of those few and amazing dedicated stitchers. So, how do we get the word out? How do we create the resurgence in traditional embroidery techniques that knitting and sewing had several years ago? Or is it all just adapting to modern use and form?

It seems like it would be easier to share all these wonderful techniques utilizing the new technological tools like the internet and social media, but it still seems difficult to GRAB that attention. Especially when fighting against video games and the general fast-paced lifestyles that so many of us have.

So, with all that being said, we’re looking to you to share your opinions and insight with us:

    If you have children:

  • Did/do you share your embroidery knowledge with them?
  • If so, are they still embroidering now?
  • What have you taught? What was it like? What did you learn?
  • What type of art do you think kids/young adults are interested in these days?
  • Who’s the youngest person you know who stitches? What type of projects do they do?
  • What kind of projects do you think middle schoolers would be interested in? High schoolers? College students?
  • Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

    So sure, maybe the doilies of yore aren’t going to be as exciting as the free-form embroidery of new, but I still think traditional Hardanger runners, tablecloths, and tatted table centers (plus so many more techniques I just adore) still have the flare and beauty to dress my tables (and walls, and counters, and dressers… =). We hope to create more opportunities for the younger generations to experience these lovely techniques, through clubs and reaching out within our own community, but we want your feedback too! Let us know what you think, share your ideas for keeping these beautiful techniques strong, and how you envision them either having a modern makeover or marketing their vintage prestige.

    1 thought on “Stitching Together Generations

    1. Hi right now I’m teaching smocking to adults, then as they get better we’ll
      input them into clothing, sweatshirts whatever, I saw a cool one at guild.
      a lady put her sampler of stitches into a purse for the summer. It was awesome. My grandkids make quits since they were three. My grandson
      who is 10 made a race car quilt and WWW quilt. My little neighbor
      girl needs therapy, I’ve drawn pictures and she embroders them, they
      are real big but she loves it. Pretty much anyone who listens I teach.

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