Book Review Stitched Textiles Nature by Stephanie Redfern, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214526, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Another book in the Stitched Textiles series. Step-by-step techniques for textiles interpreting the natural world. Sources include the ocean, rainforest, flowers, birds and other animals. Textile techniques include hand and machine stitching, painting, printing and embellishment. There are three original projects to follow to practice the techniques. See how Stephanie uses her photos to develop design ideas, how she uses a sketchbook, creates collage and design sheets. Her sample textiles often use paper. You’ll discover how she goes from idea to design. Stephanie creates some fabulous cut-out shapes of animals and birds, but for me, some of her backgrounds are far too busy and detract from the focus of her work. Her simple Rainforest 1 works much better. She also shows her artist’s books and scrolls. Well worth buying.
Book Review – Smoyg by Yvette Stanton, softback published by Vetty Creations in Australia/Search Press in U.K. ISBN 9781782217107, price 16.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com
When one of Yvette Stanton’s book drops into my letter box, I know that I am in expert hands. She is my number one world embroidery lady. We are all in for a treat. Yvette’s guides to traditional embroidery are superb. Discover the colourful world of Norwegian pattern darning – Smoyg. Find historical photos, learn the stitches and techniques and 13 original projects to hone your skills. In her third book on Norwegian embroidery, Yvette shines a light on the subject of folk embroidery. This educational book offers clear and concise step-by-step instructions, inviting you into the charming world of this traditional technique. Yvette simply gives the best charted designs I have ever seen in any book. See the variations of Smoyg, where it hails from, its history and forms. Learn the motifs and fabrics to use for authentic smoyg. See how to use them in useful and practical projects – a jewellery bag, needlecase, table runner, pendants, band sampler, bookmarks, hanging ornament, table centre, cushion, shirt collar, framed square and scissor keep. An exciting array of projects to appeal to everyone. I think I will start by making the colourful band sampler – it is my favourite project. I am quite tempted by the thought of hanging ornaments too. There is also a guide to thread and fabric compatibility and a pattern sheet. Highly recommended – this year’s must buy embroidery book.
Book Review Modern Scot Patchwork by Kathy Allen, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617455940, price 24.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
Subtitled ‘Bold Quilts Inspired by Iconic Tartans’, this book gives just 8 tartan-style quilt patterns. There is a brief history of tartan, followed by sections on colour and design. The book is illustrated throughout, however, some of the images emphasize the inaccuracies in the piecing in this book. The designs are offered in different sizes. The diagrams rely on numbers and letters for colours, a little confusing in its method. An image of the original tartan is shown and the ‘interpretations’ are close to the originals, so anyone could take a photo of a tartan and do this. The quilts are given a skill level, but confident beginner would have been more suited than beginner because piecing accuracy is essential in quilts of this nature. There are also quilts for experienced quilters – just a more complicated pattern and one for intermediate quilters. A gallery is shown at the back of the book with more samples. These quilts are modern representations of tartan, but lack imagination in interpretation of design. They do make wonderful quilts.
Nine Patch Revolution: 20 Modern Quilt Projects by Jennifer Dick and Angela Walters, softback published by Stash (C&T Publishing). ISBN 978-1617456022, price 21.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com
When Angela’s name is on the cover, you know you are in for some quilting magic. I, like many quilters, am a sucker for nine-patch and I love it best when traditional meets modern. So I opened my copy of this book with great expectations. The front cover is busy, bold and intriguing. You can easily see all the quilting projects inside the front cover and they are wide and varied – an excellent mix. 21 projects in all so one or three for everyone there with Jennifer’s fresh, contemporary approach. You’ll find everything here from basic construction to variation with imagination. Very clear instructions with illustrations make this book easy to use. I like it a lot. Will also spark other ideas and you can easily interpret and adapt these wonderful quilts.
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.
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.
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.
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.