I was delighted to read through the replies and discover many have already stitched as kids like me. I never actually did needlepoint. Counted surface embroidery is (or was) part of the German elementary school syllabus, so I couldn’t avoid doing it. I was the sort of really active child they’d probably stuff with ritalin today, so doing counted work or following the instructions of a kit was something I would never, ever have done in my free time. But when I was provided with craft materials and otherwise left alone I could get rather creative. The following two projects are probably not my very first embroidery, but the earliest I could dig up spontaneously.
The first piece comes with a story. I did it in third grade. It was the time before christmas, everybody was supposed to bring a drawing or painting to school that shows an animal that was present at the birth of Jesus. Now I wanted 1) create something that is good for a scandal and 2) make it as beautiful as possible to make sure it is put on display with everything else. The result was this spider. The boys laughed, the girls were grossed out, the teacher was half desparate, half amused about freaky little me. Of course I explained that I was sure that there were spiders in that stabble. My mum gave me the materials and reminded me to weave in all the treads ends, but the design was mine alone. It is silver thread and 6-stranded cotton on hessian.
If I remember right the next one was a school project, and even earlier than the spider. We were allowed to do our own (bad) design and stitch away without bothering with fancy stitches, so I enjoyed it. It is big, about DIN-A-3. It is wool on hessian.
I did more embroidery and other needlework all on my own as a kid, but sadly much of it never really got finished. A bad habit I’m still struggling with at times.