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.
Stitching Idyllic is an 80 page ebook directed towards new hands to embroidery but experienced stitchers will find good information in it too.
Basically you imagine a beautiful garden and with the assistance of Ann Bernard then you set about making it come to life. As the aim is to produce a garden landscape of flowers I can see Crazy quilters easily adapting many of the ideas in the book.
Ann Bernard trained at the Royal School of Needlework and has oodles of tips to share. The book is presented with beginners in mind so it starts off with basic introductory information such as the preparation of fabric and stretching it on a frame.
The rest of the book provides instructions on how to work a large variety of garden flowers and how to combine threads to produce their impressionistic colours. To name a few flowers in the garden include the favourites such as Daffodils, Snowdrops, Crocuses, Grape Hyacinths, Bluebells, Tulips, Iris, Forget-me-nots, and Primulas.
The flowers are accurate, but use simple surface embroidery stitches. Although there are no step by step photographs in the book they are not required as the stitches are basic.
A definite point in its favour for anyone who wants to create her own designs is that Ann Bernard shows you how to plan and stitch your garden, provides a colour chart and sample Gardens to assist you in planning and stitching your own project.
As I have already said the ebook is written for beginners but it is more than that, as instead of trapping people into the dependency of following this line with that colour in that project pattern, Ann takes a beginners hand and takes them straight towards self expression using simple stitches. At $10 Stitching Idyllic is fair price.
Note: apart from receiving a free review copy of the ebook I do not make financial gain by writing this review.
Mary Haehnlen’s A Book of Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work (pdf file) was written in 1884. It’s a little gem that is a free ebook comes the Antique pattern Library. There are 20 pages of diagrams that illustrate stitch combinations for crazy quilting. If you are new crazy quilting you may need instructions for the basic stitches which you can find in my stitch dictionary here, other than that, unlike many books of that period most of it is self explanatory.
To modern readers the title is misleading as it would be easy to think it was a book on Chinese or Japanese embroidery but it is not. “Oriental work” in this case is what today we call crazy quilting.
Here are a few of the diagrams suggested for embellishing crazy quilted items. I love the way these diagrams are reversed and set against a black background to look make them look more dramatic.
This small book contains diagrams of 65 crazy quilting stitches so if you are interested in crazy quilting it is well worth downloading and reading.
When I first discovered it I had no hesitation on hitting print button on this valuable historical reference. I really think this little gem should not be missed.
As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.
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