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 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.
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.
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.