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Needlework Arts and Crafts

Updated on January 20, 2017
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed is a freelance writer and enjoys writing about many different things. Here are a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.

Embroidery Stitched Flower

The art of embroidery is enjoyed by many peoples.
The art of embroidery is enjoyed by many peoples. | Source

Popular Needlework

Needlework has existed for thousands of years and will continue its popularity as long as men, women, and children enjoy the art of stitching textiles and leather with a needle and thread.

Needlework arts and crafts primarily refer to any stitching which is done by hand. A person can stitch fabrics and leather together forming wearable garments or clothing accessories. Other needlework include art and craft projects such as a wall hanging or a crocheted bear to be used as a soft toy. Accessories like moccasins and purses would also be considered needlework.

Teddy Bear - Stitching Kit

Children can learn from craft sewing kits.
Children can learn from craft sewing kits. | Source

Needlework for Kids

Needle crafts for children can begin around the age of 7 or 8 or whenever your child takes an interest in wanting to pick up needle and thread and start to imitate what an adult is stitching.

The child can be guided while participating in your project or if preferred draw a design on another piece of fabric and let him or her work on their project while you keep working on yours. There is also the option of purchasing needlework kits designed for children.

Types of Needlework

Crocheted Dollies

Crocheted doilies or napkins to place under favored objects of art.
Crocheted doilies or napkins to place under favored objects of art. | Source


Crochet work has been done for many centuries. Research says that this art of knotting threads originated with man. They needed a method of netting to trap animals and catch fish.

Most of us are familiar with our grandmothers or mothers crocheting thread into lace and making lace edgings for dress collars, handkerchiefs table scarves, doilies for tables, sofas, and chairs, doll clothing, decorating hats, jackets, headpieces, table cloths, bedspreads, and many more items.

Crocheting is done with a hooked needle in one hand which catches a single thread from the opposite hand and fastens the thread into various stitches which lock together.

Art of Knitting - Knit and Purl

Knit and Purl with 2 straight knitting needles.
Knit and Purl with 2 straight knitting needles. | Source


The knitter uses two pointed needles to fasten yarn made of cotton, acrylic, or wool. One needle picks up the thread and places it over the second needle. This repetition of thread overlapping is called knit and purl which form intertwining stitches to combine a locked thread pattern creating sweaters, caps, purses, socks, neck scarves, jackets, coats, and decorator items.

Patchwork Quilting

A sample of patchwork quilting.
A sample of patchwork quilting. | Source


Applique is stitching fabric cut outs of squares, rectangles, and triangles to form one large piece of cloth. After the singular pieces have been joined into one large sheet of fabric it is then stitched with a thread design to unify the overall pattern. This overall stitching is the actual process of quilting. The quilted cloth then becomes a bed covering, pillow covering, jacket, purse, carrying tote, and other textile arts and crafts which is created and utilized for practical usuage.

Applique Work

Applique work with burlap on a summer hat.
Applique work with burlap on a summer hat. | Source


Appliqueing is creating simple cutouts of animals, flowers, figurines, plants, or other objects which will be placed onto a fabric for decoration. The applique is edged into place with a variety of simple or fancy stitches.

Appliques can be used to decorate quilts, sheets, blankets, pillowcases and other home decor. Men, women, and children’s clothing and accessories can be decorated with appliques.

Miscellaneous accessories such as backpacks and purses can be personalized with appliqued initials. A simple trick to covering a stain or repairing a tear in any textile or leather is to cover it up with an applique.

Appliques can be made of cotton or synthetic fabrics. They can also be enhanced with metallic threads, sequins, and beads.


Russian style of embroidery.
Russian style of embroidery. | Source

Embroidery, Crewel Embroidery, and Cross-stitching

Embroidery is stitching a decorative design on any fabric choice with a variety of colored threads. Embroidery floss can be purchased in many different colors. There are six strands to each floss thread, but only two strands are commonly used. Familiar works of embroidery are threads which have decorated clothing, pillowcases, sheets, handkerchiefs, table scarves, and more.

Other embroidery variations:

  1. Crewel embroidery is stitchery which is often seen on pillows, bed spreads, clothing, wall hangings, and curtains. It is a style of stitchery whereby the designs are of outdoor scenery and the embroidery threads are used to thickly fill in the design with solid color.
  2. Cross-stitching is counted-thread embroidery which uses cross-stitches (x) to form a picture. These pictures are drawn on fabric. This type of stitchery is demanding of patience and time. A person who is very detailed minded would enjoy this type of stitchery.
  3. Needlepoint or tapestry is also a form of embroidery which is a design stitched on cloth or canvas. The finished products of needlepoint are used as seat covers, wall hangings, or framed as pictures.
  4. A new needlepoint surface in our modern time is plastic canvas. Needle hobbyists or workers stitch on plastic canvas using yarn, wool, or wool blend which is threaded through pre-cut plastic canvas. These hobbyists or workers make a variety of containers which are used in the home. Popular items include tissue and toilet paper roll holders and Christmas ornaments.
  5. Bead embroidery is using straight stitching or backstitching to fasten beads to clothing, assorted fabrics, leather, and ultra suede. Beads are used to elaborately cover evening attire, clothing and accessories for royalty, wedding gowns and accessories, household items, and jewelry. This beading style is usually associated with the Asian and Indian cultures.

Delicate and Romantic Lace

Lace and crochet handicrafts.
Lace and crochet handicrafts. | Source


Tatting is the craft of making lace by using a hand-held shuttle and thread. The operator holds the shuttle in one hand and the other hand holds the thread. The shuttle will move back and forth with the thread forming loops and knots which in time forms a lacy pattern. The finished tatting work of lace is made into collars or trims for clothing, handkerchiefs, scarves, and doll clothing. Two other types of lace work include cutwork and needle lace.

How to Tat a Ring, Chain, and Join Picots

Needlework Arts and Craftsmen

Do you consider yourself an artist or a craftsman of needlework?

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