Shoelaces first, needle later

Shoelaces first, needle later

There used to be heavy cardboard pictures with colorful pictures of animals and holes around the image; a shoelace was worked through the holes to outline the image. This is one of my earliest childhood memories. Mom folding clothes beside me, teaching. Shoelaces first, needle later.


Here is something you can do with no special equipment at all. Needle, thread, scissors, fabric, hoop, pencil, paper, window with sunlight.  (Of course, these things were staples of the house when I grew up. Chuckle.)

Here, a design by Artist Kelly J, was printed onto a piece of paper. I think this is on her facebook ColoringBook page for you to use, too! Or you can draw your own design! (Internet and printers are staples of your growing up!)


Trace the design lighly onto your fabric with a pencil. Holding it up against a window helps.

Stretch the fabric in the hoop and embroider by hand! There are many videos on embroidering by hand online with step by step instructions. Basically, you are drawing on fabric using needle and thread.

This piece would be considered redwork, named for the line drawings embroidered in years past using red thread. It can be used to decorate fabric for use in sewing household items or to decorate clothing you already have. Mine will be a towel that can be machine washed and dried. Your choice of stitches will determine the use of the item; some stitches are just for looking at; others are tough as nails. Lots of learning there!

Learn one, do one, teach one!

Shoelaces first, needle later.

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  • Catherine Schmid Murphy
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