After teaching 10-11yr olds for almost all of the last 14 years, it was a bit of a culture shock to take on a (large) class of 7-8 yr olds in September but I was determined not to let this stop me teaching them to embroider. I can’t physically get round 29 children to knot their threads, thread their needles and finish threads off, so we had a rigorous session on how to do these basics (no licking the thread, under any circumstances!) and then a starter activity couching down thread around a leaf shape. It went well enough that I dared plan a blackwork activity to fit in with our work on the Tudors.
I showed the children samples of blackwork, both virtual and real ones, demonstrated how to use squared paper to create a geometric design and held my breath.
The children rose to the challenge. After they had each produced their own repeating border design, they used cream binca and black soft embroidery thread to stitch them.
I kept my input to a minimum. I demonstrated back stitch and how to keep their place in the design. I unpicked when they couldn’t, and helped them to work out where on the binca to start, but I didn’t stitch for them, so some were wonkier than others, but they are the children’s own work…
…and that’s the important thing.
I can’t show all of them (and some were superb) as most of the photos I have are of the children holding their blackwork-turned-into-calendars up in pride (child protection issues etc. etc.) but these five are a good cross section of what was produced. Three by 8 yr olds and two by 7 year olds, all entirely their own work.
I gave the children who stitched these, some blackwork patterns I’d found on the internet, fine black perle thread and a piece of aida and sent them away to stitch. Their delight in what grew under their fingers was magical.
Which reminds me, I must encourage them to get finished!