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.
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.
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 Stitch and Sew by Aneela Hoey, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617456398, price 22.99 in the UK, available from www.searchpress.com
31 embroidery and stitch projects that will have you drooling. Sew and embroider all manner of bags, clutches, notebooks with contemporary stitch designs. Aimed at the younger under 40 end of the market, this book is perfect for those who need to know all the sewing basics. You’ll find simple projects to hone your newfound skills. The basics and techniques section is comprehensive, making this a great book for the beginner. This section also includes all the embroidery stitches with diagrams and photos. It takes you through the notebook sampler page by page. The rest of the book is largely taken up by the projects. These have wide appeal, with easy to follow instructions and clear photography. You can download and print the patterns. It’s all about simple practical sewing and learning embroidery in a way you will love.
Book review Just Stitch by Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nikki Delport-Wepener, softback published by Metz Press. ISBN 9781782216810, price 14.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
Originally published in South Africa, this book is all about stitching with a theme of flora and fauna. It appears to be a reprint from 2008, so be aware if you already have the book with a different cover. The book starts with materials, techniques including wire-edged applique, Barbola (unwired stumpwork) and more unusual techniques such as three-dimensional forms. The projects are fantastic, not the simple projects often found in books, but real projects that a stitch artist would make. However, the instructions might not be comprehensive enough for some. They are certainly not step-by-step. The three-dimensional gerberas are a favourite. The cover is a Bougainvillea. The projects are colour-themed. A double-paged spread of related objects is given as inspiration, followed by the projects for that colour range. The effect is ruined by poor photo-editing. The templates at the back of the book need to be enlarged and are detailed. An inspiring book that would have been a lot better if someone on the editorial team knew how to edit the images – they are dull, and injected a better layout. I feel the projects with these instructions are beyond the beginner. This is a book for those who already understand three-dimensional embroidery, as such it is very good.
Joyful Daily Stitching Seam By Seam by Valerie Bothell, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617455513, price 22.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com
Encouraging you to stitch a little every day, this book will be a big hit with embroiderers and lovers of stitch. Make samplers and treat the seam like a goddess. Use different threads and silk ribbons to produce creative work. First it shows you how to piece crazy quilting style. Next up are several embroidery stitches in step-by-step demonstrations but with small photos. I think this section could have been done much better. 500 stitch combinations are shown in full colour but without instructions, so you need to flip back to the embroidery stitch section to see how to do the stitches. I think there is enough here to keep beginner embroiderers happy, I am just not that keen on the layout of the book.
Autumn is well and truly here and last week I finished the new autumn quilt, so it is already to launch. If you do not have the pennies to buy a finished quilt, I have also created a new quilt tutorial to go with this new design. All the work has been designed by me and I created the quilt myself from scratch. I set myself a few headaches along the way, but solved them so that when you use the tutorial, you will not have any problems. I had so much fun designing and making this quilt and know that you will too. It is my first quilt pattern for sale on the website.
The quilt itself is for sale on the website. It is a one-off unique sample quilt I made, so there is only one – grab it while you can.
I have also designed and made a new landscape quilt. I am loving the colours of this one, called ‘Pebbles On The Beach’ and the original is on sale here. You can find my methods for making this type of quilt in my landscape quilt tutorial. The quilt that I made for that tutorial is also for sale here.
I have still to write my knitting pattern up, and will be uploading several patterns to Ravelry shortly.
Meantime I am also working on a new Inspiration book – Autumn. The Churches Inspiration book is finished but waiting for me to finish off the textiles. Keep checking back and meantime why not check out the existing Inspiration Series? So much to inspire for art, textiles and more. These are all manual downloads as pdfs so that you can enjoy the photos. So much to keep me busy.
Am I doing anything else? Yes, I found an embroidery I started some months ago – that will be finished soon too.
Book review A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi, softback published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611804720, price 14.99
I cannot think of anything better than stitching your way through the year. This small book gives lots of inspiration and ideas for doing just that. You’ll find stitch motifs for every month of the year with a seasonal theme. It’s more than just one project a month. There are 38 beautiful designs in all, three or four each month. Colour images are found at the beginning of the book and at the back you will find the instructions. Tools, stitches, templates for the designs and brief instructions for the designs. The latter have a reference page number to the appropriate colour illustration at the beginning of the book. Beautiful embroidery ideas.
Book Review RSN Book of Embroidery, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216063, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com
In one word wow. Any embroidery enthusiast will doubtless flick through this book hundreds of times. This beautifully illustrated hefty tome shows stitches, numerous examples of work and projects. You’ll find step by step stitch guides plus historical and contemporary interpretations of crewelwork, canvaswork, goldwork, whitework, blackwork, stumpwork, silk shading and bead embroidery. The blackwork section from Becky Hogg is my favourite. The stitch guides were previously published in the Essential Stitch Guide series of books. This resource also includes a section on mounting work. Lavish, informative, practical and inspiring – it forms the basis of a standard reference on embroidery from the highly acclaimed Royal School of Needlework.
Welcome. This is the new blog where I shall be showing and discussing my textile work. My stitch and embroidery as opposed to quilting, which is in separate blog posts.
My stitch life began many years ago and is something I just have to do. It is a part of me. I cannot just sit, I have to stitch or knit.
The two pieces shown here began life as pieces based on ancient art. The essential ingredient is circles made by ancient man. However, I was not satisfied with either piece, and certainly the one on scrim was almost consigned to the bin on several occasions. Yet, I am not one to throw work away. Everything has a purpose, it is just that the purpose does not always reveal itself straight away. So both pieces sat in the drawer awaiting for the finishing of a book.
Then I started another book on lichen – containing mainly images for inspiration for textile artists. I began creating some work depicting lichen. Yesterday I was just about to start a piece on the embellishing machine with pre-felt and merino tops. Suddenly I had a feeling of deja vu. I went through that drawer and selected not only these two pieces shown here, but several others I could work up into something better than they are at present.
The first is worked on cotton scrim I lightly attached merino wool in several colours using an embellishing machine (you could use dry felting needles). I then stitched circles that almost disappeared into the merino wool. I was never happy with this piece. Yesterday I started enhancing the piece with more stitch and additions. It is looking better and I shall work on it today, then it will go under the embellishing machine once more.
The second piece is worked on hessian in the same way and this needs relatively little more to make it a finished piece.