Young Embroiderers

Young Embroiderers - have fun with textiles


Meetings of the Edinburgh Young Embroiderers are open to young people over the age of 7.

At monthly meetings they explore a variety of textile media including embroidery.

They currently meet at James Gillespie's High School,

usually on first Saturday of the month, - September to April or May.

9.30 till 12.00

The group was started in 1981 and has been running continuously since then.

To find out more email

All Young Embroiderer's meetings are currently postponed due to the COVID - 19 Virus. Our YE leader will be in touch with members with further information as it is available.

In the meantime please keep checking in as we will post challenges and ideas to help you to keep stitching during this time.

Here is another stitch for you to learn.



Once you have mastered it I am sure you will enjoy using it. 

  • Your needle comes out to the right side of the material and the thread is then twisted around the needle a few times, depending how large you want the finished knot. The more times you wind the thread the larger the resulting knot.
  • The needle is then put back through the material very close to where it initially came out. You need to keep your thumb over the entry point to get a tight knot if you don’t  want a loose effect. But this can be effective too.

Bunting for any occasion.

Sew your flags onto tape of any sort, bias binding would be one tape you could use,  and decorate the pennants with lots of stitches and maybe messages.

Please let me see any results.


Here is the January project- another stitch to practice - Buttonhole Stitch.


I hope you enjoy making this little Christmas tree.  You can of course make it any size.

You could make this into a brooch and give it as a present by putting a pin on the back or make several trees in various sizes to make a string decoration.


To begin for this small size cut a 10 cm square of material and mark on the BACK as shown below - IMAGE 1

Stitch strips of colourful or Christmassy material across the square and then trim to the shape marked - IMAGE 2

Decorate with stitches, beads and sequins, keeping away from edges - IMAGE 3

With right sides together fold to form a triangle and stitch - IMAGE 4

Turn to right side pushing out the point well.

Stuff to make tree shape.  Add something sparkly for the top of your tree.

Roll small piece of felt or material to make trunk.

Position the trunk and stitch across - IMAGE 5

I used a sewing machine but I think it is easier to do this by hand.  It is a bit fiddly.


November already. This month is another stitch challenge. CHAIN STITCH. (WITH VARIATIONS)

Try them out working rows close together to see the effect.

OPEN CHAIN - Draw two parallel lines and use these as a guide to working the chain.

RAISED CHAIN BAND - Stitch a ladder first and then work chain over the horizontal bars.


Please send me photographs.

Happy stitching and keep well.


This month we are trying to find ALL KINDS OF LINES using Autumn leaves as our design source.


Collect some coloured Autumn leaves and look carefully at the colours and vein lines. Use these ideas to embroider an Autumn leaf with as many different stitches as possible. 

Running  /  Back  /  Couched  /  Dotted  /  Wavy  /  Cross  /  Blanket  /  Buttonhole  /  Chain  /  Coral  /  Whipped running stitch  /  Scroll  /  Pearl

Use the internet to look up stitches you don’t know.    

Colour your fabric with either fabric paint or diluted acrylic paint.

Make your finished work into a card, picture or needle case.




Once you have learnt the stitch, which I don’t think we have tried before, try to experiment with different thicknesses of thread and the size of the stitches.

PLEASE SEND ME ANY WORK YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING ON. It does not have to be finished. 

Here are some examples for you to see.


Here is the August project for you to tackle, I am calling it  ‘Fun with shapes’.

It is fabric manipulation which I don’t think we have tried before. I am sure you can all come up with some good ideas other than those on the samples I have made.

Cut out lots of small circles in the same fabric. Any fabric is suitable, you do not need to buy anything special. (A discarded item of clothing would be ideal).

Pile them up or fold then in half or quarters and stitch them to another piece of cloth to make interesting patterns.

Do the same with a square piece of fabric and then with a triangle shape.

See how many different ideas you can come up with.......and then send me a picture of the result.  

I really would like to see what you can do. So please send me some photos.


Our Summer project is nice and simple. Use buttons to make something to include stitch.


Here is my sample. I painted a variety of different sized buttons and then stitched them to a handmade cord. A large bead threaded on to the cords and the ends tied completes the work.

It can be anything. I am sure there will be a stash of buttons somewhere you can find to use.                     

Ask permission first .

Look on the Edinburgh Guild website for member’s work for a similar project done earlier.    


Our project for June is a little different. The Lyceum Theatre are asking for patches 15cm square that can be stitched together to make a new set of curtains for the stage ready for the reopening.

The project is called 'Curtains Up' and you can find all the details on their website

You can put whatever you like on your square so anything goes! When you have completed your square take a photograph and send it to me then follow the instructions on the Lyceum website to submit your work to them.

Here's my example


LOG CABIN PATCH is our project for this month.

The finished piece can be made into a mini cushion, lavender bag or small framed hanging.


You will need


1.  4 cm square of red (red traditionally representing the hearth of the home)   

2.  2 long strips of cloth, 4cm wide, in contrasting colours. (You can join pieces as necessary).

3.  Backing fabric to complete.


(You can change the size as you wish but starting with a 4cm square makes approximately a 20 cm  finished square)



1.  Starting with the small red square, stitch strips as shown in the diagram, always working clockwise. Use either

     back stitch or a sewing machine.


2.  Press seams between each strip


3.  Back your patchwork, right sides together, stitch all around, leaving a small space to allow you to turn your work.


4.  Stuff and stitch opening.


Thank you and happy sewing. Ann


Send any pictures to


This month’s idea is to make a small abstract picture with collage and any stitches you know.  You can find how to do new stitches on the web and at 


  1. Cut out several circles in different materials in a pleasing colour combination.You can choose triangles or squares or any shape as long as they are the same shape.
  2. Arrange them on a piece of cloth i.e. a piece of calico or sheeting.
  3. Tack them in place.
  4. Decorate them with stitching. If you have a sewing machine you can use this as well.
  5. Take out the tacking stitches
  6. Admire your work.


Send any pictures to (felted faces, stitched faces or the collage picture). 

Here are some ideas and my finished sample.    

After I had tacked down my circles I covered the whole design with a piece of net and then added some machine stitching and French knots.


Find a magazine photo of a face, front on , quite large, and cut it in half vertically. Stitch ONE paper half face onto a piece of cloth and then stitch the other half to complete the face.

 Send photos of your results to

All images on this page are copyright of the maker of the work shown


Having fun with stitch at our August 2019 meeting

Felted faces created at our last meeting.

March 2019 - We had our annual "bring along a visitor" day - so Mum, Dad, Granma, Grandad, Auntie and Uncles.

We had 7 mums and one Dad and it was a busy meeting - as you'll see

from the photo - we made some great Dorset Buttons.

What we stitched in January 2019

What we stitched in October, November and December 2018

Our very chic Christmas Stockings 2017!

Felted Jewellery

Wet felting is always a popular activity with our young embroiderers. For the last meeting before the summer break we invited the parents to join us which was a big success. It was lovely to have everyone working together, most of youngsters have done some felting with us before so they were able to offer their parents some tips.

Everyone learned to make felt beads and cords on which to string them and most went away with a completed necklace.


We decided to revisit a popular project from a couple of years ago. We took large images of faces from magazines and cut them in half - this project can be done in 2 parts, starting on paper by drawing the matching half of the face to complete the image then by using stitching to complete the image.

Displaying the finished piece by matching photograph and stitching is very successful:

'Imprisoned Splendour'

One of our Mums is a talented costume designer, we invited her to lead a workshop with our group making masks. The imagination of the children never ceases to amaze and with the addition of some hand stitching the elaborate masks beautifully fit the theme of this year's De Denne competition - 'imprisoned splendour'.

Christine's wonderful examples

Christmas 2016

This year we decided to revisit a previous project that was very popular, Christmas wreaths.

This simple project is a great stash buster and our branch members generously donated fabric for our use. Encouraging the children to focus on colour combinations as they work helps to reinforce the theory taught in other projects and adding a hanging element introduces some stitching.

The end results are very impressive and very popular with children and parents alike.

March 2016

Spring is in the air and there was a real buzz at our March meeting where we made 3-dimensional sweets and cupcakes.

We began with the sweets with everyone making 2 or 3 each before we encouraged as many as possible to try making a cupcake that could be shown at the 'Wandering Threads' Exhibition whilst it is in Peebles - it was a delight to see the childrens' enthusiasm at the thought of having their work viewed by members of the public.

Several members also brought along work made during previous sessions to be shown at this exhibition; this is very encouraging for other members and particularly for the potential new members who came along and who really seemed to enjoy the very productive morning.

A Gallery of Embroidered Sweets & Cupcakes - Can You Spot Yours?

Completed work from YE members for 'Wandering Threads' Exhibition

February 2016

Felting was the technique for this month's session; the intention was to produce pieces inspired by butterflies or the Northern Lights but our imaginative young people had some other ideas!

The opportunity to spend the morning wet felting is always very popular. We are lucky to have a very talented felt artist as the leader of our YE group so as well as having fun we learn good techniques, this can be seen in the lovely samples produced.

January 2016

For our first session of the year we went back to basics and had a morning exploring different stitches. Our helpers each selected a favourite stitch and the young people worked their way around each practising new stitches or exploring new ways with familiar stitches.

Everyone, including the helpers, went away having learned something new making it a very successful morning.

De Denne Competition 2016

There was also time during our January meeting for completing our group entry to this year's De Denne competition.

The theme is 'Looking Through' and all the young people had worked on individual components over Christmas and brought them together to complete the over all submission.

December 2015

Our last session of the year and we chose 'snow' as our theme and gave it a festive spin by making rice filled sock snowmen and paper snowflakes.

As usual our very creative members came up with snowmen, (and other creatures!), that reflected their own individual styles and had a lot of fun finding as many different ways as possible to cut out unique snowflakes.

We had a very impressive display at the end of the morning including a completed lavender bag from our November meeting, well done for remembering to bring it back to show us all how beautifully it has been made up.

November 2015

It was lovely to welcome 2 visitors and we hope they enjoyed their time with us and will return.

Continuing with our 'weather' theme today we focused on rain, appropriate given the grey, wet day!

To try out some new techniques and materials we started by using fabric transfer crayons to draw a small 'rainy' design on paper. We had to colour in our pictures quite heavily then the pictures were put face down onto a piece of fabric and we had help to iron them so that the picture transferred to the fabric.

We added some stitching to our pictures and were shown how to turn them into lavender bags but we didn't all manage to finish them as we learnt some other techniques...........

Our 'rainy' pictures

We were also shown fabric crayons and pens that could be used straight onto the fabric and we all had a go at trying these.

It then got very noisy as we were shown 'flower pounding'! With a layer of newspaper on the table a piece of fabric was laid on top, a real flower head was put on top and another piece of fabric over that, another bundle of newspapers were put on top then we got hammering and magically the colour of the flower left an impression on the fabric.

We learned lots of new techniques and tried new materials that could be used in other projects, we were kept very busy and had a table full of samples at the end of the morning.

October 2015

Numbers were depleted for our October meeting but those present had the opportunity to spend the whole morning on sewing machines gaining confidence and skills.

Firstly we were given a demonstration on how to create the decorative layered panels - a small piece of silk had a selection of decorative yarns and threads laid on top (with a small amount of temporary fabric adhesive spray to hold everything in place), then a piece of chiffon fabric was placed on top. This whole 'sandwich' was then taken to the sewing machine and a straight stitch used to stitch a grid pattern to secure all the layers together.

We had a selection of these panels already prepared so after choosing one we then cut them into smaller pieces to stitch onto a larger piece of fabric using decorative machine stitches and machine embroidery threads. We also had enough time to machine some left over pieces onto cards.

Our theme for this year is 'Weather'

September 2015

The 2015/2016 session  has started well and, appropriately on a beautiful sunny day, we began with sunflowers. To start with we looked at images, artificial flowers and stitched samples to get some inspiration. Everyone then thought about and planned how they would represent sunflowers and the techniques they would use before getting stuck in.

As you will see from the image below everyone worked very hard and produced some beautiful samples.

The 2015 Group Entry in the De Denne competition has won third prize.

The theme - 'All That Glistens'

Well done Young Embroiderers, yet again you beat a lot of competition from all over the UK.

The 2014 Group Entry won second prize in the national De Denne competition.

The work is being added to the The Embroiderers' Guild Collection for conservation and study purposes.

Individual members have also won prizes.

De Denne prize winning   'A tree for all seasons' (2014)

Faces made in felt at a recent meeting in 2015.




Interested in joining?

You can join the national Young Embroiderers via this web-site:

Want to know more about the Edinburgh YE group?

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