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Beginner's Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery, by Pat Trott

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Beginner's Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery, by Pat Trott
Pat Trott

About the Book:

Mountmellick embroidery is a form of whitework introduced to Ireland in Mountmellick in County Laois, in the Province of Leinster during the nineteenth century.

Johanna Carter, a talented local needleworker, has been credited with popularizing this regional style of embroidery.

Mountmellick is worked in a variety of surface embroidery stitches, and is characterized by the use of white threads and fibers on white fabric. Drawn and pulled thread work is not featured in this type of embroidery - it is worked soley on the surface of the fabric.

Designs are inspired by nature and feature florals inspired by the surrounding area.

Production of this regional form of embroidery became a cottage industry for many women in the area, helping families affected by famine in the 1800's. Beautiful pieces of this form of embroidery can be readily found in antiques stores today, making it easy to collect and enjoy.

Materials used in Mountmellick embroidery are common to most sewing and needlework stores, and consist of cotton plainweave fabric, matte (non-shiny) cotton yarns embroidery threads.

Pros:
• Beautiful photographs of motifs and stitches
• Directions for working the stitches shown clearly
• Diagrams are easy to follow and understand
• Average price: $12 to $18 US dollars

Cons:
• At just 64 pages, this book left me wanting more
• Very few actual projects
• Projects are a bit advanced for most beginners. Intermediate would be more appropriate

Description:
• Published in 2002 by Search Press
• Paperback: 64 pages
• ISBN-10: 085532919X
• ISBN-13: 978-0855329198
• English

Guide's Comments:

Author Pat Trott is an expert in Mountmellick embroidery, is a life member of The Embroiderer's Guild teaches workshops for guilds and clubs and at colleges and schools including Missenden Abbey, Gerrards Cross, the W. I. College at Denman, Knuston Hall, An Grianan near Dublin and Plas Tan y Bwlch in North Wales. Her work has been featured in Needlework Magazine and New Stitches Magazine.

Patterns presented in the Beginner's Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery are black-and-white line art diagrams, which can be easily traced onto embroidery fabric.

Clear photographs showing you how to work a dozen different embroidery stitches are featured in this book, including couching, split stitch, coral knot (coral stitch), chain stitch and detached chain stitch, French knots, stem stitch, Portuguese knotted stem stitch (a beautiful, highly textured stitch), buttonhole stitch, satin stitch and padded satin stitch, Pallestrina knots, the Mountmellick stitch, and the cable plait stitch.

One of the items that really caught my eye was the author's tutorial on making a knitted fringe in the traditional style. I have seen this fringe on many historic pieces, but was unsure how to reproduce it until I read the Trott's clear instructions.

Other helpful tips and tidbits include well-written instructions for mounting the fabric in a scroll frame and stretcher frame, and selecting needles for working Mountmellick.

Stitchers traveling to the Mountmellick area of Ireland can visit the Mountmellick Museum, which is dedicated to conserving and displaying this regional textile art form.

Publisher's Description:

The embroidery is traditionally worked on close-woven cotton with cotton thread and it has a great elegance. Flowing floral patterns intertwine with stems and leaves, the smooth satin stitches contrasting wonderfully with the padded, knotted stitchery and untextured background. These natural designs are often fairly large and the sculptured patterns have an appealing bold quality, which is enhanced by the absence of color and the addition of knitted fringed fringes.

Pat Trott explains all the techniques with clear step-by-step photography and inspiring easy-to-follow projects. This book will be welcomed by beginners and also embroiderers of all skill levels.

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