Western-style embroidery can be a hobby for both sexes, of any age and from all walks of life. Students can put their creativity and artistic ability into something tangible that will enhance their patience and help them relax. 'Embroidery can be a standalone piece of artwork for appreciation, or it can embellish clothing, household items or gifts,' says Mimi Chan, founder of Tour Embroidery. The first thing that comes to most people's minds is Chinese 'silk embroidery', a kind of surface embroidery where people use very fine silk threads to cover the outline of the design. Tour Embroidery teaches the western style which is different from the Chinese. 'Western embroidery comprises a large variety of techniques that can be surface embroidery and three-dimensional,' Chan explains. Apart from learning the skills, Chan believes students learn patience from stitching. 'I want them to experience peace of mind when they're stitching. They should enjoy the process of slowly building up their work, very little by very little, from nothing to a bit to a little bit more every day, and finally finishing it with their signature, in stitching of course.' Tour Embroidery ( www.tourembroidery.com ) offers courses at three levels: elementary, intermediate and advanced. Students at each level will produce four projects. Various techniques and stitches, such as ribbon embroidery, long and short stitch and stumpwork, from simple to complicated, will be taught. The course length is flexible, so that students learn at their own pace. With one lesson per week, completing each project usually requires three to five classes and about 12 to 20 classes for each level. Classes run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Wan Chai, with every four 2 1/2-hour lessons costing HK$1,400. The workshop is now running a free-of-charge training programme for people aged 12 to 22 called Hong Kong Young Embroiderer 2012. It is aimed at encouraging participation in embroidery and working on a piece for charity. Courses by Dancing Needles studio ( www.dancingneedleshk.com ) are offered according to the type of embroidery. Each course starts from foundation or elementary levels and continues into intermediate and advanced levels with some comprising more than one module. Sessions, running from Tuesday to Saturday, vary from six to 10 two-hour classes according to the course and level chosen. The tuition fee, with material costs, also varies, from HK$1,000 to HK$2,380.