The art of embroidery has been around for centuries. It is a craft that is part of almost all cultures all over the world. What's outstanding about embroidery is that unlike other traditional forms of art, it has continued to be popular even in this modern age.
By definition, it is simply the process of creating designs on fabric or some other material by using a needle and thread. Many different styles of embroidery have been developed over the decades.
The most common form in the old days is free embroidery. Just like its name suggests, anything goes in this particular kinds. You can use any kind of stitch you want in implementing the design.
In free embroidery, the fabric is usually entirely covered by the thread so the kind of fabric you use does not really matter much. This kind is very typical of Chinese tapestries.
A very popular kind of embroidery nowadays is the counted-thread style. This kind is very organized and is usually done on canvass or cloth. The very popular cross-stitch is of this kind.
Embroidery can also be classified according to the kind of stitches made on the fabric. There is the surface embroidery, where the design is stitched on top of the fabric, and there is also the canvass work where the thread is stitched all the way to the back. This latter kinds ultimately covers the entire fabric with cloth and produces a design both on the front and the back of the fabric.
Embroidery enthusiasts are usually very creative people, and they do not restrict themselves to using just thread in their embroidery. To add to the uniqueness of their work, many people also incorporate beads, sequins and other materials into their patterns.
People use it in many different ways. Women in particular like to use it to add a personal touch to their curtains, throw pillows, tablecloths, and many other home decorations.
Embroidery has also been used many times as an added touch to personalize gifts to loved ones. Still there are others who just enjoy it as a hobby, such as cross stitch enthusiasts who like to frame their finished work and mount it on their walls.
These days, it has become so much easier and faster because of the introduction of modern machines. These machines are capable of producing the same kinds that you can do by hand. The main difference is that the machines can do the work in just a fraction of the time.
For commercial purposes, the embroidery machines are really very helpful, but there are some people who still prefer doing their own embroidery the traditional way - by simple needle and thread. It may take longer, but the time and effort you put into it will definitely give your work more value.