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By Erika Qualls Barnett

The history of fiber arts is rooted in the past when people, traditionally women, sewed practical and decorative items. Over the years, fiber art moved from a necessity to a hobby of many people throughout the world.  

Image of yarn arranged by rainbow color over a yellow background with a white box with yellow text that says Fiber Arts.

I remember attempting my first cross-stitch when I was very young. My mom has many talents, but sewing was never one of them. I found patterns in books and magazines, but tried to create my own projects with no guidance. That hobby did not last long. As I grew older, finished my degree, and got a full-time job, I realized that I had a lot of free time on my hands! Many of my colleagues were knitting and crocheting, so I purchased all the products and read all the tutorials. I literally threw the item I worked on for hours across the room when I noticed all the holes in it. My foray into fiber arts was again pushed aside.

Like some of you, I found myself with more free time at home over the past fourteen months. While reading and taking walks took up some of my time, it was not enough to challenge my brain. My mom helped me come up with a list of hobbies to explore one afternoon. I held onto the list for a few weeks and looked up some that interested me. One that stood out to me was embroidery. I had little confidence in myself because of my past history of working with fiber, but I purchased an embroidery kit off Etsy that provided everything I needed with instructional YouTube links.  

My first attempt was sad, but I got used to all the different types of stitches that could be used. Over the past months, I have gotten more confident, purchased more patterns, and have started making gifts for friends and family. My mom got my first project as a birthday present because I wouldn’t have tried a new hobby without her encouragement. 

The great thing about fiber arts is that there are so many different types! If one doesn’t challenge you, there is another creative outlet for you to explore. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting, and macrame are just some examples.  

Are you a seasoned hobbyist in the fiber arts who has beautiful work to share with the world? Are you curious to learn more about the projects you can create with fiber? 

EVPL’s Fiber Arts BiblioBoard collection is a great place for fiber artists of all skill levels and interests to congregate and share their creations, their stories, successes, and struggles, and learn something new about this exciting and time-treasured talent. Help Evansville’s fiber arts community grow by contributing to this fun and colorful collection

Submit your own content to the collection here!

Check out the collection here!

Erika Qualls Barnett

Erika Qualls Barnett


Erika is a cardigan-loving Hufflepuff that enjoys the Cubs, reading, and walks with her husband.

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