Handmade Conversations — Creative Embroidery with Jessica Marquez

Posted by on Dec 25, 2012

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Creative embroidery may seem like a contradiction in terms, in that the traditional needlework has a rather dated reputation. Yet, crafter Jessica Marquez, author of "Stitched Gifts," offers a refreshing take on needle-and-thread crafts, including horoscope wall decor, hand-stitched paper cards and more. We asked Jessica a little more about how crafters can get just as creative with their own embroidery.

Embroidery projects and patterns on sale at Embroidery Online.

creative embroidery projects
Jessica, we love your new book, "Stitched Gifts." The creative embroidery projects are so unique and approachable, and we also love that each one has an estimated time to complete it. What was your inspiration for this book?

Thank you so very much! It makes me incredibly happy to know people are enjoying the book. The inspiration really came from everywhere — my love of nature, vintage, collecting and so much more. I've been working so hard on my blog Miniature Rhino that I had little time to make all the ideas I was thinking up, and "Stitched Gifts" was an amazing opportunity to make all these projects I'd been scribbling in my notebooks and dreaming about.

What do you love about hand embroidery or needlework?

Embroidery is a lot like drawing. I'm not the best at drawing, but that's okay because it's very free form. Even if you and I were working on the same pattern it would look so different in our hands. I also really love that you see it slowly emerge. The process of embroidering, stitch by stitch, just takes time. I'm attracted to this slow process full of thoughtfulness and focused intention.
creative embroidery projects
Do you have any tips for someone who is just getting started with creative embroidery? What are some of the basic supplies needed?

Don't be intimidated to start embroidering! It's fun, super portable and pretty inexpensive. You don't need to know every stitch or material to start. Even just one stitch, like the back stitch, will get you a long way.

All you need is an embroidery hoop, thread, needle, scissors and some fabric. I love, love stitching on linen or muslin for practicing stitches. I also wish I had known about Q-Snaps when I wrote the book, but they're a great alternative to the standard embroidery hoop.

Your book shares creative embroidery patterns for different occasions, like weddings, holidays, baby showers and more. I noticed that your Etsy shop Miniature Rhino sells a number of hand embroidery kits and custom embroidered gifts. Can you tell me about the most special handmade gift you've either given or received? What do you think is appealing to people about giving handmade gifts?

Once I received a package from my grandmother. It wasn't my birthday or any special occasion, but she had sent me a pillow she made me with one of her incredibly delicate and detailed crocheted butterfly sewn on to it. It's beyond special to me. It's a daily reminder of her love and our connection. I hope that people have a bit of that with the stitched gifts they make for their friends and loved ones because that's really what I think is most important — connecting and sharing with the people in our lives.
cover of "stitched gifts"
Jessica Martinez is the author of "Stitched Gifts: 25 Sweet and Simple Embroidery Projects for Every Occasion," published by Chronicle Books.

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