Review of Layered and Stitched Pictures by Katie Essam, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215134, price 17.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Another in this very good Textile Artist series from Search Press. Subtitled ‘Using Free Machine Embroidery and Applique to Create Textile Art Inspired By Everyday Life’. I meet a lot of crafters and this book has so much to offer because nearly every crafter I know want more inspiration and want to free-motion stitch. Showing that inspiration is all around, even in everyday objects is a great way to go. Other techniques used in this book include hand stitching, the ever-popular fabric painting and collage. Katie takes you through her process and inspires you to create. The book starts off very simply with a beach scene. This makes it good for beginners upwards. The ideas are well presented and progress in difficulty. The book shows you how to applique mainly animals with fabric and/or paint. There are ideas for collage too. There is also a very basic chapter on design, including interpreting a photograph.I would say the level is beginner to confident beginner, no further. The lovely bicycle on the front is not in the book. A great introduction to applique and free-motion.
Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617455698, price 21.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Modern take on a classic favourite with 16 interesting projects using a variety of quilting techniques. These girls found the plus in plus providing a range of quilts from easy to challenging. Instructions are included for foundation paper piecing and fusible applique. Patterns range from table runner to bed quilt. You will find general instructions at the front and finishing at the back. Each pattern gives materials needed, finished block measurement, finished quilt, cutting, assembly instructions and finishing. Each one is accompanied by excellent photos. The skill level is shown with plus signs. A clever take on geometrics. The faceted rings quilt is my favourite shown top of the front cover.
Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215257, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Always a delight to see Hazel’s work and the new slant on crewel embroidery in this book Hazel has transformed 6 animals into crewel creations. The book offers sound advice on embroidery basics including a stitch dictionary, needle stitching and needle weaving and beading techniques, illustrated with line drawings. For each project, you see an image of the design plus close-ups, the dimensions, description, materials needed, general and stitching instructions. These instructions are very detailed step-by-step; for example, Norman the Tortoise has 11 pages of instructions. The other projects are ostrich, owl, snake, elephant and finally my favourite project, shown on the front cover, the rhino. There are templates, but they are not given actual size. Surprisingly the book has no index, although it is fairly straightforward, an index would have been useful to locate stitches and techniques in the book. This book was previously published in South Africa and is the third in a series. Hazel’s work is aimed at experienced embroiderers, who are also interested in beading.
Sew Cute Creatures by Mariska Vos-Bolman, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215790, price 10.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A fun, cute creatures to sew book. The style reminds me of the style of a fabulous Japanese book I used to have 40 years ago. Slightly large heads and smaller bodies. Just 12 patterns to choose from but they do come with full-sized pattern pieces that you need to trace off. Sew by hand or machine. What you get – clear large photos, clear diagrams and written instructions for assembly. An appealing selection of toys that are easy to make. This book was originally published in Dutch in 2016. The author also had a similar book published in 2014 by a different publisher.
Rainbow Knits by Nicki Trench, softback published by Cico Books. ISBN 9781782495642, price 12.99 available from makeetc.com
Just what the doctor ordered – colourful knits – a joy to wear and a pleasure to knit. Combine colour to make your life a happier place. This book includes projects for the the home and accessories to wear. There are 20 projects including bags, hat, cardigan, sweater, tank top, shawl, cowl (front cover image) and scarf. The clothes are basic designs. For babies and children there is a cardigan, sweater, two blankets, a rabbit and hat. Under home and gifts you’ll find gorgeous mittens, cushion, passport cover (could be adapted to a phone cover), a fair-isle bag knitted using a chart, a tie, leg warmers, and sweet embroidered purse that could double as a pencil holder. At the back of the book is a useful, illustrated techniques and finishing section covering the basics. Try your knitting skills working in stripes, or use ombre or variegated yarns.
Visual Guide To Patchwork & Quilting, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455612, price 20.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Everything you need to know about patchwork and quilting in one handy volume. If you need visual guidance to quilt – here it is. The book has a nice feel to the cover and is visually appealing with all the bright, detailed photos. Everything is laid out in 8 comprehensive chapters. Tools & Supplies, Fabrics, Piecing, Applique, Quilting by Hand or Machine, Finishing, Beyond the Basics and Reference. Jam-packed full of useful tips and information. A complete handbook to know how to quilt plus projects and 25 block patterns. The blocks get you going with thinking about design and the projects hone your skills. This book will make you a better quilter. Slight niggles are some of the pics are too small. Overall I believe this is a book every quilter should have.
Free Motion Meandering by Angela Walters, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455209, price 18.99 in the U.K. about from www.searchpress.com
Angela’s name has become synonymous with free-motion machine quilting. Find the basics about machine quilting and the tools that make it easier. Start with simple meandering and build your skills with every exercise or pattern. Master and practice – that is the key. This book provides you with all you need to know and learn the craft. Free-motion is a craft that needs (for most of us at least) hours of practice. This book is like a quilting course, it provides the challenge you need to keep practising and keep going. Colourful samples and line drawings with quilting directional arrows help you finish each square. Gosh this girl is he mean in meander – you’ve got swirly ons, paisley, feather and many other designs plus design tips. Brilliant.
Modern Stencils by Nicolette Tabram, softback published by Cico Books. ISBN 9781782495499, price 12.99.
Fresh-looking, inspired designs that can transform your home. 8 re-usable stencils, including paisley and floral designs enable even beginners at stencilling to produce professional-looking results. There are 35 projects for textiles, furniture, floors and walls to make your house a home. 11 projects concentrate on textiles, such as stencilling bags, tea towels, napkins, cushions, curtains, a jacket or apron and more. You could stencil your own fabric. Learn all about this craft – tools, basic techniques and inspiration. Instructions are easy to follow and the photographs are excellent.
Lagom Style Accessories by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216070, price 7.99 in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
20 Scandinavian-inspired projects to sew. Lagom is a Swedish philosophy for balance. Nicely designed projects, but I did think some of them looked for Swedish than others. There are projects to fall in love with here. Use stash and scraps to make simple designs that can transform your home or make perfect gifts. Step by step instructions are accompanied by excellent photos. Full-size templates are included too. You’ll find a basic techniques section. Favourite projects for me are the apron, plant pot cover, tote bag, apple kitchen set and the fabulous fabric basket.
Making Faces in Fabric by Melissa Averinos, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617455445, price 22.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Draw, Collage, Stitch & Show’ this book is just that and you need to bear that in mind. It gives you the techniques and know-how to make faces on fabrics, so it does not matter if you like the style or the drawings, you will be using the techniques to develop your own creativity. The book is divided into four parts named in the subtitle. Chapter One is about drawing and proportion – where does your nose fit into that face? Tips for drawing and positioning features. It is on a very basic level that is excellent for beginners. Chapter Two – selecting, cutting and positioning fabrics for a collage face. Chapter three is about stitching the collage in place.Chapter Four contains projects to try out your skills. A cushion, tote, wall art, embellishing a shirt. The book finished with a Gallery of work, both by the author and by students. It skims the surface using basic techniques that are detailed enough for anyone to have a go and produce reasonable results.