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The Embroiderer's Bookshelf

Easy-Reference List of Embroidery Book Reviews

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Having your own reference library is inspiring. There's nothing like sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of tea, flipping through the pages of quality embroidery books as you search for that perfect pattern or stitch, for much-needed inspiration, or simply to enjoy the beauty and variety that embroidery has to offer. The list below features books from my own collection that I have reviewed for you, and recommend as additions to your own collection.

1. Embroidery Basics: A NeedleKnowledge Book

© NeedleKnowledge/Stackpole Books
Embroidery Basics is aimed at the beginner to intermediate stitcher and features full-size patterns and directions for a wide range of embroidery types including surface embroidery, chain stitch embroidery, counted thread techniques, shisha and more.

Easy-to-follow instructions, tips, stitch diagrams are included, making the designs easy to follow and fun to stitch.

2. Beginner's Guide to Drawn Thread Embroidery by Patricia Bage

Patricia Bage / Search Press

Patricia Bage's Beginner's Guide to Drawn Thread Embroidery features four projects you can make from start to finish with several designs shown in more than one colorway.

The designs range from classic band samplers in both white and colored threads, as well as finished items such as keepsake box lids and delicate, lacy cushions. Each exquisite project combines traditional counted embroidery techniques with contemporary embroidery threads and fibers, colors and decorative embellishments worked on evenweave fabric.

3. A Rainbow of Stitches by Delage-Calvet, Sohier-Fournel, Brunet and Ritz

Watson-Guptill Publications
Originally published in French, 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.

4. A to Z of Crewel Embroidery, Edited by Sue Gardner

Country Bumpkin Publications
A to Z of Crewel Embroidery offers useful information, tips, stitch diagrams and projects for both the beginner and experienced reader. The clear, easy to follow diagrams for basics such as preparing a roller frame and binding a hoop are often missing from other crewel-related books. The projects are classic and well-worked, and are very do-able.

5. Beginner's Guide to Mountmellick by Pat Trott

Search Press
Mountmellick embroidery is a form of whitework introduced to Ireland in Mountmellick in County during the nineteenth century. It's worked in a variety of surface embroidery stitches, and is characterized by the use of white threads and fibers on white fabric and designs inspired by nature. Drawn and pulled thread work is not featured in this type of embroidery - it is worked soley on the surface of the fabric.

6. Blackwork by Becky Hogg (RSN)

Search Press

Blackwork is a form of counted thread embroidery, where patterns are created utilizing basic stitches. These patterns can be repeating and used as fillers and bands, or used to created detailed works of embroidered art worked in a variety of stitches.

The book includes a brief history of blackwork and of the Royal School of Needlework (RSN), as well as the most common stitches used in traditional blackwork embroidery, along with detailed photographs and descriptions of working them.

7. Crewelwork by Jacqui McDonald (RSN)

Search Press
If you've wanted to try working crewelwork but were afraid it might be too difficult due to all the shading and textured stitches, this book dispells that myth and inspires you to try this time-honored form of embroidery. This title under the umbrella of the Royal School of Needlework (RSN), an organization known for their high standards and expert teaching techniques for all forms of needlework, will guide you through the process.

8. La Broderie by Pascal Payen-Appenzeller

Armand Colin, Paris

This hard-to-fine book is the stuff of an embroiderer's dreams. Historical embroideries and goldwork are given the royal treatment, with finely photographed details and detailed how-to's. For example, you can learn to make one of the Napoleonic bees from the Château de Fontainebleau in Goldwork, or a padded satin stitch monogram for linens.

This title was written in conjunction with DMC (the abbreviation of Dollfus Mieg et Cie), the famous thread company founded in France more than 250 years ago, and features material from their extensive collection, as well as museums and collections throughout France.

9. Colorful Stitchery by Kristin Nicholas

Storey Publishing

This is a good book for beginners - including children - who want to learn and use basic stitches in a simple, quick-to-stitch project. The cover projects are attractive, however stitchers with even the most basic embroidery experience will find many of the projects in this book too simple and may be disappointed.

10. Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living by Alicia Paulson

Potter Craft Books
Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion features 30 embroidery designs in a wide range of styles and colors to stitch on a variety of pieces including home decor, clothing and accessories. Many of her designs feature a bit of whimsy, and a lot of color. There's a happy feel to each and every one her designs, which is contagious - I can't help but smile as I thumb through the pages.
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