Needlework is associated historically to women, since they had primary charge of hearth and home, but male Marines might be interested in stitching, too. They probably won't admit it, however. But why not? Needlepoint was fine for Gen. Schwartzkopf!
A nice way to send needlework supplies is to gather materials and make a kit. This is especially nice if you're introducing the Marine to counted cross stitch.
What you'll need the is pattern (chart), fabric, embroidery floss, and a needle. Maybe that two needles; or even 3. They're easily lost.
Cross stitch stores always have free patterns that designers give out to shops. These are small pieces (4x4" or smaller). Freebies are also available on the Web at designers' websites.
One called "Liberty" is awfully cute. (Scroll down to see the color picture.) I've stitched it twice already. It's simple, too. Only 4 colors. Finished size is 3 ¼" x 2", so it fits in a commercially-available frame (try Target or Wal-Mart!). You'll need a piece of fabric 6" x 6". The directions suggest 14-count Aida or 28-count fabric (in which each stitch over two threads, which make it equivalent of 14-count). Count refers to the number of stitches that fit in 1". The chart is here.
If your Marine would like something more delicate, Canadian designer Thea Dueck has a large number of free patterns in this style. She created the little angels named "Connie," "Grace," and "Celeste" just for me to give to my needlework festival students. There are a couple free patterns that are patriotic in nature.
Thea's daughter, Petra, is her webmistress and has done a superlative job of making printing easy. She even includes the advice to do a screen capture if all else fails! My kinda gal!
Thea also has wonderful animated stitch instructions here. The cross stitch animation is called "Cross Stitch Danish" (click on "surface stitches"). Another way to do a cross stitch is to complete the entire x and then move on to the one next to it (this is called the "English method). Both ways produce the same result.
Whispered by the Wind has a free flag design, as well as a "Don't tread on me" snake.
Here is an old-sampler-style garden that features a couple of fancy stitches. The designer is Donna Yuen, one of my favorites. This piece uses hand-dyed thread, but it's easy to use regular floss, instead. Here is a conversion chart. Below the one for thread is one for fabric count (as in 14-count Aida = 28-count evenweave).
And there be dragons here! Jennifer Aikman-Smith is another Canadian artist. This one would look ever so much better with the Eagle, Globe, Anchor between them instead of the heart!
How about a hummer (a bird, that is)? Paula Minkebidge specializes in birds, and they are exquisite.
Donna Vermillion Giampa does gorgeous stuff! Look here for a bird/butterfly combination or a girl's face in the center of a flower, 12 of each, one for each month of the year.
Here's an alphabet by Tink Bourd-Dill, one letter of which would be great on a bookmark. There are two pages to this chart; letters don't all fit on a single page. Tink has a ton of alphabets!
Here is another "standard" alphabet style (good old Times New Roman!). Yarn Tree is an excellent source of materials.
Here's another alphabet with the bluebird of happiness perched on every letter! Here's the link to a word generator with this alphabet, with the letters all spaced out for you! I don't know this designer, but this "generator" is pretty nifty!
This is one of my favorite word generators. This one is in a Celtic alphabet.
This just scratches the surface! Enter free cross stitch chart patriotic or free cross stitch chart [whatever] and get set for a slew of freebies.
Place all the kit parts in a zipper-type plastic bag. Couple of ounces. Mails flat! Can't beat that!
I will try to get some charts up here of the USMC emblem, etc. All I need is time! Come back!
For more information on deployed Marines, see the files on
what to send to your Marine
packing boxes for shipment
sending letters to Marines
adopting a Marine or a service member in another branch
Last updated August 22, 2006.