Are Stitched Bookmarks Relevant Today?

With the shift from print books to e-books, bookmarks will soon be obsolete. Don’t you think it’s silly to promote stitching bookmarks?

Autumn Leaf bookmark - Funk & Weber Designs

Autumn leaf (from Fall, In Pieces pattern) bookmark.

No, I don’t. Here are my Top 5 Reasons Stitching Bookmarks Remains Relevant Today

1. Embroidery is relevant in and of itself.

Embroidery is decorative. That’s its purpose. What that decoration is on really doesn’t matter. Among other things, embroidery might decorate bed linens, table linens, jeans, a bracelet, night clothes, underwear, a piece of fabric hung on a wall, a container—or a bookmark.

Embroidery is a craft, a skill, and a tradition. It can be meditative and therapeutic. It can be a form of art and expression. Embroidery is relevant in and of itself.

2. Bookmarks have a place in embroidery history.

Why do we stitch samplers? Is the real goal to practice our needlework? No. We stitch samplers because they are a traditional form of embroidery. Their original purpose as practice pieces fell by the wayside, but their tradition and beauty remain. Bookmarks, too, have a history in embroidery. The purpose of bookmarks may similarly fall by the wayside as more and more of us switch to e-readers and e-books, but their tradition and beauty will remain.

An embroidered bookmark from Don's collection.

An 1800's-style embroidered bookmark from Don's collection. Click the image to see more of his collection on Flickr.

3. Books are going to be around for a while.

Despite the rapid shift to digital books, millions of books exist, and more continue to be printed. They’re not going to disappear overnight. I won’t presume to predict how long it will take, but it will be a while before everyone in the country, let alone everyone in the world, will want to make the switch or be able to make the switch. Some people still use bookmarks.

4. Bookmarks are excellent outreach projects.

Readergirlz outreach bookmark project - Funk & Weber Designs

Quick and easy outreach bookmark project designed for Readergirlz.

Because they can be quick to stitch and finish, bookmarks are perfect teaching projects. Keeping the tradition of embroidery alive by teaching it to others is important on many levels—from connecting people with history to reducing stress and blood pressure to improving learning ability to inspiring creativity—so offering needlework outreach programs is always relevant. Learning to stitch and finish a bookmark results in more than a bookmark at the end: skills have been learned, interest and curiosity ignited, confidence gained, self-esteem improved. Surely no one questions the relevance of these things.

5. Bookmarks don’t have to be bookmarks.

Kindle case personalized with cross stitch - Funk & Weber Designs

This Kindle Fire case becomes easy to identify when decorated with a cross stitch bookmark.

Some people collect bookmarks, not to mark books, but to display them, admire them, and remember their history.

If you let me persuade you to not use rectangular ready-made bookmark forms (not that there’s anything wrong with them—you’ve persuaded me to use them on occasion), a bookmark can be a keychain, a scissor fob, an ornament, a tag, and much more. With everyone using nearly identical e-readers, surely we can all use beautifully-decorated, personalized, self-expressive, hand-embroidered tags to mark our e-readers and their cases.

Yes, stitched bookmarks are relevant today.

13 Responses to “Are Stitched Bookmarks Relevant Today?”

  1. […] Are stitched bookmarks relevant today? […]

    December 15, 2011 @ 1:43 pm
  2. marg

    Yes! Every year I make handcrafted bookmarks for each of the patrons in the Outreach program (elderly/shut-ins) at our local library. We always receive copious thanks from them. My theory is you can never have enough bookmarks, like the “reader-mark”

    December 20, 2011 @ 3:58 am
  3. Jen

    So glad you agree, Marg! Kudos to you for crafting bookmarks to give away.

    December 20, 2011 @ 6:42 am
  4. Carolyn

    “…soon be obsolete.”

    What a preposterous statement!

    *Someone* has been suckered in by the marketing hoopla regarding ebooks and ereaders. While they are all over the place in the media (both articles and advertisements), the *vast* majority of people still read paper (“dead tree”) editions of books.

    Why, in the US alone, there are hundreds of millions of paper books sitting on library shelves, rotating out to readers who surely must need to use bookmarks in some of them. (I believe there’s a special place in Hell for those who dogear or otherwise mistreat a book that does not belong to them.)

    Besides, the digital version of ‘soon’ is 30 seconds from now, as we’ve all seen in the development in newer and better products. In that timeframe, it will literally be an eon before all paper books everywhere are converted over to ebook formats. Not to mention all the stubborn readers like me, who love the feel and process of reading a paper and plan on never shifting to ebooks. Yeah, and I’m an ‘old’ codger of 40, so I’ll be needing bookmarks for at least the next 30+ years (hopefully!)

    Add to that the research they’ve been doing that is demonstrating that paper books are the best way to teach kids to read and to enjoy reading – especially all those wonderful illustrated books and I think bookmarks will be needed pretty much forever. Both my 8yo and 4yo daughters each have thier own set of bookmarks (none stitched yet, unfortunately), and both love to use them.

    All in all, I think it’s safe to say that there will continue to be a market for bookmark stitching patterns for a loooooong time to come, so please, design us some more Jen! = )

    January 5, 2012 @ 8:16 am
  5. Jen

    I love the way you think, Carolyn. But for goodness sake, stitch your daughters some bookmarks! Maybe that can be your Stitching for Literacy project this year?

    I’m glad you qualified the comment about people who dogear and otherwise mistreat books. On more than one occasion, when weight was a serious issue, I’ve torn entire books apart so that I could take parts with me. I tore my open work embroidery book apart when we went to the Galapagos two years ago. But, of course, these are my books, so I’m safe!

    Whew! Dodged that bullet.

    January 5, 2012 @ 4:19 pm
  6. Debi Mayes

    Remember with the advent of computers that paper copies would be obsolete and we would be a paperless society. Well that has not happened completely. It is my feeling that bookmarks will be around for many more years to come. Just my opinion.

    March 13, 2015 @ 4:25 pm
  7. Jen

    Agreed, Debi. đŸ™‚

    March 14, 2015 @ 2:38 am
  8. Diane Merlock

    Bookmarks aren’t just for books! How about magazines??

    Okay, I admit that I have a ‘reading room’ (don’t we all? some just call it something different), and I need to mark where I left off reading my magazine.

    Here’s another idea for an outreach program… Many residents in nursing homes do not have e-readers… The technology of e-readers is confusing for many of the elderly population, so they prefer a good old paper version.

    People often send books overseas to military members… Contact a local VFW, American Legion, or Disabled American Veterans post to see if they are providing books for deployed military members, or even to wounded soldiers in hospitals…

    September 27, 2015 @ 4:51 am
  9. Jen

    Great suggestions, Diane!

    September 27, 2015 @ 5:43 am
  10. Christina Arlington

    I love book marks. I really like animal and nature book marks. I’ve laminated some that would be key chains just to protect them.

    May 6, 2016 @ 9:57 am
  11. Jen

    I’ve never laminated embroidery. What’s the oldest laminated piece you have, Christina? I’m curious as to whether the fabric reacts to the laminating materials in any way.

    May 8, 2016 @ 2:02 am
  12. Christina Arlington

    I never kept any but, I did say when I gave them away to let me know if it went funny. I didn’t do hot laminate. Just Xyron cold laminate.

    May 8, 2016 @ 9:36 am
  13. Diane Merlock

    I am in a Bookmark Exchange that has been ongoing for several years. We make two, receive two, using various forms of crafting. This year I was so pleased to receive two tatted bookmarks from someone in Singapore. Do I use them?? Yes! Even though I have an e-reader, I still read books and magazines in ‘regular’ form.

    May 8, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

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