Creative Thread by Jo Dixey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216872, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com
This book was originally published by the author as ‘Stitch People’. In this book you will discover twenty stitch projects with a wide range of embroidery skills. Stitches and techniques are accompanied by step-by-step photographs. The projects include small items to more complex wall art. Each project embraces the theme of people. Templates are given for photocopying – you need to enlarge them. There is also a photo gallery of stitches used. The best of these are perhaps the people silhouettes, some outlined in running stitch, others embroidered adding a splash of colour. Other motifs include hands, faces, eyes.
Abstract Acrylics by Waltraud Nawratil, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216506, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com
An experimental approach to painting. Abstracts using a variety of mediums and methods that you can follow in 27 step-by-step projects. The step-by-step is brief and although there are photographs, they do not show every step. I would therefore recommend this book for experienced painters, and also for those who understand how different paints work – are knowledgable about the flow of paint etc. Some great examples of finished works and I do like Waltraud’s methods and style. She introduces you to a different way of working. For example with a palette knife and spray paint as well as actual leaves and petals. The book concentrates on interpreting the natural world in a beautiful way. Discover how to transform the reality of the landscape and flowers into interesting abstract paintings.
Book Review Hand Stitched Landscapes & Flowers by Katrina Witten, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 978782214519, price 17.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Exploring the natural world through stitch is something that many of us do, so I am sure this book will prove popular. It embraces a variety of subjects from flowers to butterflies. A good variety of techniques and stitches are used throughout the 10 embroidery projects included. This is a book full of inspiration and ideas for embroiderers new and old. Learn to use different fabrics and threads. Find equipment, materials and embellishments to enhance projects. There is a short section on design and composition. The stitch section is very good and amply illustrated. The techniques section includes working with organza and three-dimensional effects. The projects included are Hedgerow, Woodland, Cornflowers, Sunflowers, Butterfly, Poppy Field, Poppies, Flower, Buddleja and Hydrangea. Templates and outlines are included at the back of the book. However, if you study the techniques, stitch and equipment sections, you will be able to use them to create many other projects. A lovely introduction to capturing nature in stitch.
The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques by Lesley Stanfield & Melody Griffiths, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216445, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A new, updated edition of this classic reference book for hand knitters. A great step-by-step guide to knitting for beginners upwards. A colourful stitch dictionary and projects show the full versatility of knitting. All the various types of stitch are covered from texture to lace, plain stocking stitch to fair-isle. This book has some good stitch combinations such as honeycomb and oxo. Includes knitting skills, stitches and design. Once you have mastered the basics of knit and purl, cast on and off, your needles are your oyster. You can create anything. A classic reference.
Book review 200 More Crochet Stitches by Tracey Todhunter, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216636, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A fabulous stitchopedia of 200 more crochet stitches. A companion to the 200 crochet stitches already published by the same publisher. A book you will thumb through often to choose the right stitch for all your crochet projects. Great clear photos and easy to follow charts and step-by-step instructions. This practical guide will be your best crochet buddy. The Directory is divided into 24 basic stitches, 16 fans and shells, 20 clusters, puffs and popcorns, 14 spikes, 19 raised, 17 mesh, 18 lace, 13 chevron, 19 textured, 10 Tunisian, 15 coloured and 11 edgings. A fabulous range of stitches for every crocheter. In addition there are the basic techniques and stitches, variations and abbreviations. A full colour book that is a must for crochet addicts.
Cozy Wool Applique by Elizabeth A Angus, published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617456008, price 14.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
Make a start with wool applique with 11 seasonal projects for the home. Simple but effective shape and style embraces the joy of hand stitching wool motifs. Embroidery adds a homely touch. Make cushions and table runners. This small volume starts with general guidelines, pillow and table runner construction, stitch glossary and then straight into the handsome projects. The snowmen are my favourites. At the back of the book, you’ll find all the pattern pieces to trace off as templates. Good for beginners.
ISBN 9781782216261, hardback price 15.99, available from www.searchpres.com
This hardback book is a combination of watercolour flower painting instruction and pre-dawn sheets of artist quality paper. I am a fan of Julie’s beautiful watercolour renditions of flowers. The 6 projects include different techniques and you will use wet-on-dry and wet-in-wet, painting fine lines, gradated washes, glazing and stippling, mixing on the paper, lifting out, negative painting, highlights and shadows, textures with salt and more. The flowers included are Tulips, Hibiscus, Day Lily and Rudbeckia, Clematis, Sweet Pea and Rose. Find out how to use the book, set up for painting, materials, techniques, colour and mixing as well as how to frame your work. Each project has detailed instructions with step-by-step images. In an easy to see box, you’ll see at a glance the colours and the size of brush used. Excellent clear photos are used throughout. Recommended for the beginner finding it difficult to get to grips with drawing.
Book Review A Perfect World in Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork by Di van Niekerk, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781844482313, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
It is always a pleasure to see Di van Niekerk’s wonderful work. Find new ideas and techniques that appeal to embroiderers and quilters alike. 17 panels introduce you to the techniques. There is a stitch gallery too. Each of the 60 design elements are shown with clear step-by-step photographs. Embroider the whole sampler as one, or choose motifs separately. Suitable for beginners upwards. Everything you need to know to create beautiful embroidered panels in a beautifully illustrated book. Includes instructions to embroider fantastic flowers and creatures such as dragonflies, bees and birds.
Book Review Quilting On The Move By Alistair Macdonald, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 971782214489, price 7.99 available in the UK.
Part of the Love To Sew series, this book is all about English Paper Piecing for hand quilting. There is a brief introduction, materials and tools section, basic techniques, projects and templates without a seam allowance but actual size. There are 18 projects in all, suitable for beginners upwards. The beauty of EPP is that it is entirely portable and easy to do anywhere in a few minutes grabbed here and there. I found the photos slightly on the dull side, and unclear on the bias binding attachment images. The basic techniques section only covers making hexagons, bias binding and inserting a zip. Good projects include a hobby bag (looks more like a pencil case to me), tea cosy, pincushion, make-up bag, man’s scarf, table runner, peg bag, tablet case and so on. All small projects using hexagons and other shapes.
Book review Improv Patchwork by Maria Shell, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617454967, price 19.99 in the UK available from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Dynamic Quilts Made With Line & Shape’ this book promises much. Every quilter wants to make dynamic quilts. It begins with ‘Where You Are’ and goes on to the usual tools and materials section but with some very good tips, then ‘Color, Pattern and Repetition’ sadly basically colour wheel stuff, ‘Ruler Made Stripes’, ‘Mat Made Stripes’, ‘Polka Dots’, ‘Triangles’, ‘Chevrons’, ‘Checks’ and finishes with ‘Putting It All Together’ plus resources. An outstanding line in the introductory chapter for me is ‘I hope you can begin this quiltmaking journey with a willingness to fail’. As a teacher I encounter so many students who expect to succeed from day one, who become despairing at their failures. Maria Shell understands my philosophy that all making is good on one level or another. The sections are basic geometry work with good ideas for quilts and techniques. Even the ‘polka dots’ are not circles but squares and strips. Some design ideas and how to work out your design as well as construction. Brief but interesting. I have come to know the term ‘improv’ as working ad hoc, but this book does work more to grids, so I am not sure it was wise use of the word ‘improv’ in the title. I think Experimental Patchwork would have been a better title.