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A Rainbow of Stitches Book Review

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A Rainbow of Stitches Book Review
© Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to About.com

About the Book

This gem of a book features embroidery and cross stitch basics, plus more than 1,000 motifs and 80 project ideas. The projects featured in this book are suitable for experienced and beginning stitchers alike and feature a wide variety of useful ideas for decorating simple or common objects with embroidery.

Subjects stitched include items children and adults, with projects for the holidays, travel, kitchen, gifts, decor and more.

All projects in this book are stitched using basic embroidery stitches that are in most stitcher's repertoire, or are easy to learn using the stitch diagrams in the book, or on the about.com embroidery stitches page. The several basic stitches featured in Essential Stitches section are used repeatedly throughout the book. These include back stitch and stem stitch, chain stitch as a lazy daisy and detached chain, cross stitch, straight stitch and French knots.

Pros:
• Full color photographs or illustrations of projects and tutorials
• Stitch illustrations are easy to follow
• The author shows how the motifs can be used in different ways to make coordinating projects
• Average price: $17 to $24 US dollars

Cons:
• The projects do not include finishing instructions or diagrams. For example, the beach picnic sack on page 16 features one of the designs, but no directions for making the simple sack
• All of the designs are stitched in a single color, making the designs feel very monotone - remember that you can stitch the designs in multiple colors to liven them up

Description:
• Published in 2009 by Watson-Guptill Publications, New York
• Paperback: 240 pages
• ISBN-10: 0823014789
• ISBN-13: 978-0823014781
• English (originally published in French)

Guide's Comments

If you are a fan of tone-on-tone embroidery or are looking for embroidery projects that utilizes a small assortment of basic embroidery stitches worked on ready-made items, this book is sure to please. However, if you want information on exactly how to make the projects in the book, you will not find them.

The authors have created an anthology of embroidery patterns featuring charming motifs and hand illustrated patterns, rather than a project book. However, there are literally hundreds of mix-and-match patterns than can be used to embroider everything from book covers and bags to clothing, accessories and household goods, and patterns include both line drawings and charted graphs.

The sections of the book are arranged by color family instead of embroidery or project type. These color families include bright fresh, lively green and white, sweet yet chic pink (fuchsia) and white, blue and white timeless delights, red vintage charm (very French), and white for a touch of elegance.

My favorite projects in this book include the bold monogrammed napkins on page 18, redwork antique roses tablecloth on page 155, the bluebird ballet flats on page 110 (I may make these myself), and the vintage-style wedding monogram on psge 194.

In fact, collectors of vintage needlework patterns will recognize several of the patterns, as they were inspired by antique French needlework pattern books. Some are used as they were when originally published, and others have been given an updated twist.

Publisher's Description

A Rainbow of Stitches is a how-to-stitch guide, a project idea book, and an encyclopedia of motifs, all in one go-to reference. Begin by choosing a motif from this extensive collection, which ranges from elegant alphabets to 1970s-inspired flowers and leaves, from sweet fairies to vintage-chic ladies in classic Dior dresses. The "Get Stitching" section gives you the basics you need to get started, along with an illustrated how-to of the simple stitches that are used to create all of the motifs. Each of the following sections, which are arranged by color–fresh greens, pretty pinks, timeless blues, rich reds, and elegant white and taupe–presents ideas for embroidering motifs in single colors, showing how much can be achieved with just one color of embroidery floss on a plain background. Includes more than eighty beautifully photographed, inspiring ideas for stitched embellishment, from wearables and personal accessories to a variety of decorative items for every room in your home.

About the Authors

Agnès Delage-Calvet, Anne Sohier-Fournel, Muriel Brunet, and Françoise Ritz are lifelong needlearts enthusiasts and experienced teachers of embroidery and other fiber crafts living and/or working in France.

Frédéric Lucano is a professional photographer specializing in fashion and home décor.

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