I love the story of how Sardinian Knotted Embroidery came to be. Gioja Ralui is a pseudonym that combines the names of 4 women who met online and with a common interest in traditional embroidery techniques developed a friendship. This in turn resulted in a book,Sardinian Knotted Embroidery. So, it was with a big grin on my face that settled down further to read about this form of embroidery.
All over the globe there are groups of women who have taken an embroidery stitch and developed it into an embroidery style with patterns that have gone on to become part of their cultural story. Sardinian Knotted Embroidery is like that.
The preface outlines the history and mythology associated with this form of embroidery. This is followed with a discussion on materials traditionally used in this form of embroidery.
As you can see diagrams describe the patterns with clear instructions.
For me good photography is crucial to good embroidery books. The finished embroidery is clearly photographed
The 70 page book covers the uses of this stitch, and the main pattern motifs used in this style of embroidery. Names of patterns are usefully in both Sardinian and English. These translate into charming names such as “the little leaves”, “the heart”, “the teeth”, “the crosses” and “the spurs”. Also in the book there are 5 “non-traditional” projects in varying degrees of difficulty.
OK so how do I feel about Sardinian embroidery after reading this? I am not likely to work a traditional piece but I am likely to add some of the patterns to my band sampler. My eye is becoming more and more attracted to traditional styles and patterning. This means for me I think it is time to explore this traditional style in a non traditional manner! But I am a bit quirky as I am sure for many people Sardinian Knot Stitch will be the start of a wonderful journey into this traditional form of embroidery.
What I love about embroidery is that it can take you around the world. I love learning about stitches and how a particular group of people, take a technique, and push it to create a whole style that becomes associated with a region and their culture.
Yvette Stanton has released a new book on Sardinian Knotted Embroidery. Punt ‘e Nù, means knotted stitches and it describes a style of knotted whitework embroidery from Teulada, Sardinia. This beautiful type of embroidery is based on what are essentially coral knots. Now described like that, it sounds very pedestrian, but this form of embroidery is simply stunning as the white on white textured geometric patterns of traditional motifs really satisfy the eye.
Have a look at this Video and you will see what I mean.
The coral knots are worked in a white thread, on even weave material following the weave of the fabric. In order to reproduce this type of embroidery you need to master the stitch, spacing the knot at the right tension, turning the line and joining threads etc Without this information you would not be able to work in this style and Yvette Stanton has provided pages and pages of step by step illustrated instructions for both right and left handed stitchers. Also a good troubleshooting section gets folks like me – who jump ahead too quickly – out of trouble.
There are 11 projects in the book. Usually books like these have something for the suitable for beginner through to projects for an advanced embroiderer. To be honest I think that since this style of embroidery is based on coral stitch, once you have mastered the technique is not a question of if you are new hand to embroidery but how committed you are to producing a project applying this particular style. The book contains both large and small projects. Some such as the tablecloth, or the table runner, would take a long time to create others such as the biscornu, or the candle wrap, and the hand towel, would be quicker and suitable for gifts. I really feel that anyone could with care recreate pieces in the Punt ‘e Nù style from this book as each project has a pattern sheet detailed instructions.
Allie Aller and Valerie Bothell have worked together to bring out a book on crazy quilting that has a slightly different take on the topic.
Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy: A Marriage of Traditional & Crazy Quilting and that is what it is! Allie Aller and Valerie Bothell have combined modern techniques that employ a sewing machine with hand techniques. This book is aimed at quilters who are interested in crazy quilting but feel daunted by the hand work involved in a traditional approach. That does not mean that those who are interested in handwork wont pick up a good few tips too! For instance it has a good section on quilt assembly that both types of quilters will benefit from.
Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy includes 10 projects, 5 from each author. They range in in size and complexity. There are photo instructions for the basic crazy quilt stitches and the basic silk ribbon embroidery stitches which means a new hand to this form of quilting has enough information to start embellishing their quilts.
Other techniques covered are foundation piecing, stabilizing with interfacing, applique, embellishing with ribbons, trims, and pre-made flowers. There are more techniques I simply list the key ones.
An important difference with this book is that there is a good section on blending hand-stitching with machine embroidery. Most books on crazy quilting focus on hand embroidery alone but there are lots of opportunities to combine machine and hand work together and this book focuses on techniques that enable that.
The main strength of this book is the combination between hand techniques and modern machine techniques. There are also loads of illustrated instruction and tips for combining crazy quilt machine piecing and embroidery. There are not many quilters who have combined these techniques and I cant think of another book that tackles the topic so well.
If you are a quilter who is interested in introducing some hand embroidery elements into your quilt but dont want to be swamped with all the hand techniques Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy will be ideal for you. If you are a traditional crazy quilter who is interested in being able to incorporate more machine work in your quilts you will find this book a good addition to your library.