Needle & Broomstick

Pinar Caniklioglu from Turkey is a lover of embroidery. I came across her neat and hand embroidered work on Instagram and wanted to know more about her and her textiles.

How did you get into embroidery?

It was four years ago when I first started embroidery. I had to stitch a buttonhole for the first time and I found the experience of placing stitches next to one another very calming and satisfying. I was surprised to see a perfectly stitched buttonhole on my first try. I immediately did some quick research on the internet, to learn what I needed to start hand embroidery. Then I went to a very archaic shop in the old part of my hometown, in the hope of buying some supplies. I remember that the sales person who was supposed to sell me a hoop was saying “Don’t waste your youth and your precious eyesight on these things! Now you can buy ready-made embroidered linens for your dowry and they are so cheap!!” From then on, I have learned everything I know from the internet. 

What other textiles have you explored or would like to explore?

I am fascinated by traditional textiles. I buy a lot of Turkish fabric especially those that are handwoven in villages because I see this as a dying art. I  also love colourful prints such as Uzbek silk ikat prints, Turkish “basma” prints and also African wax prints. I would love to sew some clothes out of these and perhaps embroider on some of them. I recently acquired a sewing machine and started learning how to sew. We will see how that goes. 

How do you keep your threads organised?

I keep my threads in one of those semi-transparent plastic boxes with dividers. I use carton bobbins to wind them and mark their numbers in pencil, so that I can erase and write another number when one particular colour is finished. I don’t usually carry these boxes with me. I put the bobbins I need for a certain project in a zip lock. I cannot say I am very organized though. It is not unusual for me to unexpectedly find a stash of tangled floss underneath a pillow or inside the torn lining of a handbag. 

Where do you get your materials from?

I buy my threads and fabrics from a small street lined with shops selling all kinds of embroidery and textile supplies in Kadikoy, on the Asian side of Istanbul. These stores sell everything from cross stitch kits to felting materials, from knitting yarn to finest threads and ribbons for surface embroidery. It’s great that on this tiny street everybody loves stitching and nobody is trying to convince me out of it! 

What’s your favourite fabric to stitch on and why?

I don’t have too much experience yet but my favourite fabrics to embroider on so far are quality cotton used for bed sheets, and also linen because these fabrics are easier to work with. They stay perfectly taut in hoops, without the need to use any backing or stabilizer most of the time. 

What are your favourite stitches to use? 

My favorite should be the satin stitch! I love seeing stitches line up next to one another and create a shiny smooth surface. Very satisfying!! I also love making bullion knots, unlike many other people. 

What stitches would you like to learn and use?

I would love to learn how to work with beads and also goldwork please!! 

Do you ever get aches and pains when you’re embroidering, if so where and what do you do to help them?

I sometimes get a neck and upper back pain but the only remedy I have found for it is to STOP embroidering. I also suffer from deep needle holes on my fingertips. We use our fingertips to push the needle into the fabric so the pressure from the back of the needle slowly digs holes on the tip of our index and middle fingers. Obviously this is why they invented the thimble. But for me thimble doesn’t work well because I lose accuracy when I try to stitch with a thimble. So I sometimes wrap bandaid around my fingertips before I start embroidery. I have seen other people do that on Instagram so I guess this is the way to take care of this problem. 

What would you like to create that you haven’t before?

I would love to try some free hand machine embroidery. I see people creating some amazing things with it but I am not comfortable with a sewing machine yet. 

What do you love about embroidery?

I love that what I make is one of a kind and I am also excited to think that the things I can create with embroidery are endless! I love to see the design on the hoop become more beautiful with each stitch I make. I find the whole process very satisfying and calming. I also love that I can take my hoop anywhere with me. I stitch whenever and wherever I can!  

Follow Pinar on Instagram here





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