My great-grandmother first put a needle in my hand when I was a toddler. My mother and grandmother were especially fond of surface embroidery, so naturally that was the first needlework I learned. They would stamp designs on dish towels and pillow cases, which I would then embroider. Soon afterwards, I took the skills I had learned and began designing my own dolls. I used embroidery for their faces and created their wardrobes from my mother’s leftover fabric and yarn scraps. My favorite doll was named Cherry Kay (see below). I gave her to my mother, where she lived until years ago when my mother returned her to me.
As a teenager, I graduated first to Crewel embroidery and later, being of Nordic descent, to Hardanger. I kept my embroidery all through high school and college. After college, however, I put needlework aside to pursue a career in computer science. During the next few decades, my attention was focused on my career and husband, rather than my needlework.
Then, in 2002, I decided to join my husband in retirement, but swiftly found myself unprepared for the wealth of free time I now had. One day while browsing through an antique shop for a gift, I found a lovely Hardanger doily. It reminded me of how much I had enjoyed Hardanger as a teenager and inspired me to seek a good needlework shop. Once I found one, I began to acquire supplies and to reacquaint myself with Hardanger embroidery.
Before long, I began designing my own pieces and entered a few of them into local competitions. Success at the local level led to nationwide competitions, where a number of my original designs won national awards. Eventually, the urging of several stitching friends led me to self-publishing my designs, and Carol Pedersen Designs was born.
I recently began learning needlepoint and so am acquiring new embroidery skills and a new stash.
Presently I meet regularly with a stitching group and am a member of Needlework Guild of Minnesota, the Textile Center, Embroiderers’ Guild of America, National Academy of Needlearts and the American Needlepoint Guild.