Everyone around the world is feeling the impact of the current pandemic. Those unaffiliated with the Covid-19 virus are at risk of facing a number of other problems, one of which is a loss of job and income during quarantine and shelter-in-place regulations. The toll that the current pandemic will take is yet to be seen but it is likely to be quite devastating to our global and local economy.
One thing you can do while stuck inside and bored is to try to support independent artists. Many artists thrive because of the multitude of festivals, conventions, and craft fairs across the country at this time of year – events that are currently canceled or postponed for an unknown amount of time. Many of these artists also have online shops and are currently trying to help maintain their businesses through creative and caring efforts to help bring joy and inspiration to those of us who are starting to get a bit stir crazy, anxious, and in need of a good distraction.
I have written about how important it is to buy embroidery artist’s patterns in the past and how helpful it can be for any level of crafter. I value this resource personally even though I can, and do, create my own patterns as well. However, if you are just someone who is looking to pick up a quick and simple new hobby (one that will allow you to binge watch Tiger King at the same time) embroidery is a pretty nice option.
Some embroidery artists, like Chloe Redfern, of Chloe Redfern Embroidery, is offering to help out by releasing a free sampler pattern with tutorials for some of the most basic and essential embroidery stitches.
Chloe is an amazing pattern maker. She is probably best known for her selection of beautiful folk inspired bird and flower embroidery patterns. She has had her birds featured in a number of magazines like Stitch and Sew Inspired, not to mention several books and collections of patterns. She is pretty awesome (and a real sweetheart). Chloe also makes wonderful felt creations. You can see more on her webpage and also follow her Instagram.
I have had the pleasure of talking online with Chloe in the recent past and she is such a kind and thoughtful person. I was curious about why she decided to release a free sampler pattern right now and she was gracious enough to answer some of my questions.
After a short personal break, Chloe admits that she has found herself in a transitional space as an artist. She said that she is giving new consideration to what she wants her independent business and artistic practice to look like moving forward.
“I’ve wanted for a long time to start offering some embroidery resources on my website,” Chloe explained, “given the current situation with Covid- 19, I felt a great need to put something out there which others might enjoy and which might contribute to their well being at this time.” She adds that “stitching can be such a meditative and absorbing process”. I could not agree more – there is no better time to put something like this out into the world.
The free folk art inspired bird pattern is sweet and simple. Chloe has kept her stitches approachable and easy enough for beginners as there are only two stitches to learn. The back stitch and French knot are great things to learn and help a newbie (and even more seasoned stitchers) practice two of the most essential stitches in embroidery. “I wanted it to be relatively straightforward so people could just stitch away without thinking too much or worrying if they were doing it right” she explains – she even provides a stitch guide and other helpful getting started information on her web-page to share additional guidance.
Like many people, Chloe has been feeling the impact of the current global pandemic in both her professional and personal life. Although she works from home, she confided that she has “felt deeply affected by the impact [the virus] is having on people’s lives” and has been troubled “hearing the tragic news daily of more deaths”. She added, “I have been flitting between despair and throwing myself into my work to try to feel as though I’m doing something useful, though I confess to feeling like I should somehow be contributing in a more valuable way. I think that’s why I wanted to do the free pattern, as it felt like a very tiny positive thing I could do.”
Small acts can have a huge ripple effect and there really is no act of kindness or compassion too small.
Chloe shared that her personal enjoyment in the embroidery process “comes from the fact that it uses a relatively small amount of relatively simple materials; just a hoop, some fabric, a needle and scissors and of course thread, it can be picked up and worked on almost anywhere and such simple materials can be used to create something really beautiful”. Right now this simple act of creation is something achievable for many seeking a new way to positively direct their attention while at home.
I stitched up this pattern this week to help relieve a little stress. Homeschooling an only child who is getting a bit anxious about all the changes in the world while making close to 100 masks for friends and family has me a bit in need of something to do for myself. Chloe’s bird pattern is SO cute!!!
I personally believe that the meditative act of moving needle through fabric can be healing and bring order to the chaos of our minds. If you are considering this activity, please check out Chloe’s free folk art bird pattern as well as her other exceptional patterns on her Etsy page. Supporting her and other independent artists is a great way to further help others during this difficult time.
When you are looking for a pattern to stitch with your newly learned skills check out the following 14+ PDF patterns available for immediate download for $6 or less:
- Sarah K. Benning’s FREE “Cactus Love” pattern.
- Geninne Zlatkis’s FREE bird with flower pattern
- FREE patterns from DMC
- Beautiful $5 patters from Cozy Blue like ‘Merry Gold” or “Night Garden”
- Lark Rising’s “Look for the Helpers” PDF pattern for only $4
- Try a funky PDF pattern of a Folk Hat Chicken from OddAnnStitch for $5
- Sleeping Fox Mandala from littledear for only $5.50
- Skull Butterfly Girl from Alifera for $5.95
- Bird In My Hand from knackmakings for $4.55 (see below)
- 3 cute cactus plants from NaiveNeedle for $6
- Sweet kitty embroidery from teenytinyhappythings for $3.50
- Lovely yellow flowers by ThisSukieDesign for $4.50
- Jaguars and flowers by FinchandFloss for $5.60
Side note: Chloe’s mom, Stephanie Redfern, is also a pretty incredible fiber and embroidery artist. Give her a look if you’re hungry for more visual fiber inspiration.