What comes first in learning embroidery?

Technique?  Or your take on design, choosing and organising your inspiration – the creativity.

And we always come back to that vexing conundrum.

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

And while both technique and design are important, I will always answer technique.


To be able to stitch creatively, you must understand the mechanics of embroidery, what stitches can actually do, how they interact with each other, as well as any other elements used.

After that, in my opinion, comes the ability to learn to develop your own style and how to apply that knowledge in a way that’s unique only to you.

Embroidery is a language and you have to develop your vocabulary – just as children learn to speak.

For some, it may be a slow process, while others speed along in the fast lane.

It doesn’t matter.

Learn the basics first and become comfortable holding a needle and thread, trying new ideas, and simply developing.

No matter what inspires you or leads you to design, there will always be one constant in your creative equation – and that is technique.

To achieve and expand ability you simply have to practice.

Samplers, conversation cloths, small projects – all help to amalgamate knowledge and develop your individuality in embroidery.

I urge anyone who loves to stitch to work on exploring their own characteristic style first to achieve unique results – that’s where you find creativity and enthusiasm.

Visit exhibitions, join a group, research other artists and what they do – and don’t just explore embroiderers – include all the art genres.

So in terms of the chicken and egg analogy relating to embroidery, technique is the trump card, in my opinion.


All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.