Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782212850, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A veritable feast of stitchery. This books presents more than 40 inspiring exercises to free your creative mind. Different techniques are explored including quilting, printing, dyeing, couching, needlelace and more inspired by cultures around the world. Includes a stitch gallery and templates. Features on boro, Gee’s Bend quilters and Dorset buttons. Small projects throughout to try out your new skills. Love the embroidered circles of felt and the raised stitch and pleats and folds sections, the rag book and mola. Crammed full of ideas.
Fair-Isle Knitting by Monica Russel, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215806, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
This book offers three separate things – instructions on techniques; 45 stitch designs and 14 knitting patterns under the umbrella Fair-Isle. You can choose to knit from charts or written instructions. It’s a very loose look at fair-isle, that people often mistake as just colour knitting. It borders on folk and intarsia instead of true fair-isle. The patterns use a variety of yarn including Jamesons shetland, which comes in a fabulous range of colours, but this author sadly has no colour sense at all. Some of the samples have had the yarn stretched tight at the back too, a rookie error with fair-isle. The projects, assuming you think about the colours, are better than the sample stitch patterns but still too many are just coloured knitting methods and not fair-isle. A big disappointment if you are expecting what the title says. There is so little in this book about real fair-isle knitting.
How To Make Cloth Dolls by Jan Horrox, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9871782217862, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Thorough step by step instructions to make six colourful character dolls including Titania and Morwenna, a fairy, nymph, mermaid and steampunk doll with some alternatives too. You’ll find detailed instructions to make each doll plus equally detailed instructions on basic techniques and advice on fabrics and tools. Use a wide range of fabrics to make beautiful dolls. Fabulous close ups of the dolls and techniques used to sculpt the face and body. Some of the dolls are jointed. The doll pattern pieces are full size.
If you do not own the previously published books, this is a great book on doll making. A stunning book with great photos and instructions. Take your doll making into an art form with Jan’s methods. She has deservedly earned a reputation amongst doll makers.
Lace Knitting by Denise Samson, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782218135, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Lace Knitting can be romantic yet practical. In this book you’ll discover lace knitting techniques, charts and patterns with 30 projects to make and 40 stitches offering much inspiration. The lace stitch patterns are divided into edgings and panels (12); leaves (4); diagonals (7); overall (11); reversible (3) and twisted (3) . The projects include garments, accessories and household textiles. You’ll find small projects such as hats using one stitch. I particularly like the chid’s cardigan with lace heart pockets and the lace top with scallop motifs. There are two attractive sock patterns and the bed coverlet is a heirloom pattern. My top make is the Bolero, it is beautiful. I’m not sure that many knit dresses and this book includes a fair few. The introduction includes gauge and blocking as well as charts. If you need full written instructions, this book is not for you as it relies totally on charts. Also if you are not used to working out which needle to use to give a specific tension, this is not for you as needle size is not given at all. An interesting addition for any lovers of lace knitting. This book was first published in Norwegian and has also been published in the USA.
Crewel Twists by Hazel Blomkamp, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217770, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Jacobean embroidery designs with a twist. Fresh projects are the core of this interesting embroidery design book. Interesting stitch and beads contribute to these fascinating modern designs. Creative freeform crewel embroidery to entice anyone who loves stitch. Contents include: Introduction, Materials, Stitch Gallery and Beading Techniques, Thread conversion chart, template designs, needle-made lace and creative traditional work. Clear technique and stitch images accompany the stitch gallery. Each stitch project shows the materials needed including fabrics, needles, threads and beads. The designs look quite complicated but since instructions are given for all component parts, you could, for example, just work one flower. Beautiful designs from an accomplished embroiderer.
Wintertime Shimmer quilt and Table Runner by Jennifer Sampou, instructions and patterns. Published by C & T Publishing, ISBN 9781617459115, price 16.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
This quilt pattern caught my eye straight away. Actually it is two patterns, one for a bird quilt on a background of stars and twigs, the other for a table runner of winter trees. Both are very attractive designs and would look great as seasonal decorative projects. They are both pieced and applique projects. The projects have a modern look about them but use traditional quilting methods. Suitable for a number of fabrics to change the look. The instructions are super clear. Great to make and wonderful to give either the makes or the pattern as a gift.
Creative Straight Line Quilting by Natalia Whiting Bonner, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617457654, price 20.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
In fear for free motion quilting? Stuck with straight lines but cannot come up with new and exciting ideas? Natalia comes to the rescue with 60 ideas for a professional quilting look using nothing but straight lines. There are designs for triangles, squares, borders and the very useful all over designs. Walking foot designs for domestic machines, ruler foot designs for domestic or longarm machines. pre-mark or use a foot as the guide; mark or use a ruler. Great designs for a fresh modern quilting look.
Cable Knits From Nordic Lands by Ivar Asplund, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782218142, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
This book presents with a pleasant cover. It is subtitled ‘Beauty and Ingenuity In Over 20 Unique Patterns’. Without doubt there are some wonderful stitch patterns and anyone who enjoys aran-style, textured knits will find this book of interest. However, it has one big let-down for experienced knitters – the shaping of the garments leaves a lot to be desired. Mainly straight with straight sleeves, these garments tend to be bulky under the arms. A little know-how will mean you can change the shaping and this book is best bought as a small stitch guide. Step by step instructions, charts and stitch sampler.
Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617458095, price 23.99 gbp. Available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
Always great to see a new book from this author. I love his style. This book covers how to blend the old and new, something Brian does to perfection. It covers inspiration, fabrics, stitch and projects. The introduction gives the story of Etta Mae and her trousseau. Seek and Find is all about finding things you can use in your work – it’s like treasure hunting. The projects are very satisfying. The Lacemaker is a very special piece; a small quilt with a beautiful lace edge and embellishments. There is a scissor holder and matching pincushion; a fabulous table runner; photo pincushions and sachets; a sewing butler including another pincushion, scissor holder and bag. There is also a gallery of work. Such a wonderful textile and quilting artist with a unique look. I recommend this book for its style and embellishments that could be applied to your own work.
Sarah Payne’s Quilt School, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217305, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Simple projects, simple steps using pre-cuts for the novice quilter. For the novice one would expect greater detail about sewing machines, tools and materials, yet this section is brief. The book gets straight into the ‘lessons’. Each lesson teaches a simple skill with a simple project. The projects are useful and practical, the instructions clear and well photographed. There are 15 projects in all. However not one of the projects is made with care – the quilting is not lying flat or not in straight lines or not quite matching in most of the photos and it is very obvious. It just does not look like professional work. This poorly executed work is throughout the book and spoils the aim of the book, which is supposed to be to teach you to quilt with accuracy.