At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up.
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Animal Embroidery Workbook by Jessica Long is published by Landauer Publishing.
In this craft bible of colourful critters, Jessica Long guides us through skills via thirty embroidery based tutorials, which reveal all the wonders of creation – are you a cute bunny lover? Or maybe your prefer one of the wilder ones…well this book certainly covers all things fluffy and fur ridden! Just make sure that you have an embroidery hoop and cotton on hand…
About The Author
Long was not always an embroidery artist, she actually got interested after she had given birth. This shows that we don’t have to be born with artistic tendencies, it can be a skill learned as we go along, whenever it seems right in our lives. We loved her comment on her website, the honesty is endearing: ‘tossing a hoop and thread in the diaper bag for some stitching at the park proved easier than packing an easel and oil paints’. She now has a great website and teaches embroidery skills, finding it relaxing and calming.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
All ages and skill levels. She has it as a goal to attract those who may be scared of textile art. In the introduction to this book she divulges that she herself wanted to be a Natural History Illustrator – she is living proof that we can learn new techniques as life goes on – her enthusiasm will make you feel confident and brave enough to give it al go. The structure of this book is also weighted towards those who are more beginners than those who know it all.
Lets look at how the book has been divided and ordered….
Looking at the first few pages and specifically the contents list, after the introduction, the first part of the book covers the pre-making stages, what is required materials and tools wise, how to get started and what stitches to use.
Then in Part Two we have the projects, which have been divided into skill level areas. This makes it easy to access the project level we feel comfortable with personally.
We loved the materials list presentation style – AKA not a list! It has been photographed and vocalised visually, so we can totally observe what we need to get – not just a random list of items.
We enjoyed the written side of this book as well as the visual teaching side. Long talks in a conversational manner, without coming across as preachy or patronising. All the way through she introduces each section with detailed explanations and preludes….
Everything is pretty much pictured in an embroidery frame – namely a hoop…maybe this will give us framing ideas too for our finished pieces?
We like the colourful backgrounds this artist uses – they really set off the embroidered creatures. Look at the contrasting colours above!
Placement is key throughout this book, we come across the layout below many times, yet it does not feel samey or old. To the left, we will take in a basic intro and a diagram pointing out the stitches needed. Then to the right, we will note a finished view. Thank goodness for the visual – we need to know what we are heading for!
Bear in mind that if you want further guidance from Long, her website is a key tool – providing patterns and kits as well as more info available for purchase.
Clear imagery makes this a very readable publication. It is temptingly furnished with many a cute animal. With such good quality imagery, we can’t help ourselves.
What Makes The Book Special?
Long is practically pedantic – in a positive way! Literally everything is answered before we ask it, even the things we didn’t know we needed to know! Take this example. Who thought a stitch was just a stitch? Oh no, it can be made a little more complex, yet it seems achievable due to the fact that Long has told us before we need to know.
We also appreciated the diagrams – again Longs detailed explanations are loved by us:
There are also a variety of thread colours used throughout the book, including metallic ones. Thus we never need to get bored – there will always be a new variation to discover and try out.
Anything Wrong With The Book?
If you are not nature / animal inclined, this will be super boring. However, you would have to be pretty hard hearted not to love these cuties! At only a rough 200 pages long, it is not the largest embroidery book ever known to man, however this is not a negative as its one of those ‘good things come in small packages’ options – it seems to cover everything, in a capsule form. Any bigger and it may be a turn off for many, so Long, you got it right!
Summing this book up finally: There is such a great variety of gorgeous, adorable, and quirky designs. The author also gives ideas for using pieces of the designs separately and for adapting the designs to different projects, including embellishing clothes or making into jewellery. Even better, this book really lives up to being a workbook. Instructions and photos are very clear and easy to follow. It’s a perfect balance of information and demonstration to get the results without being overly technical or bogging you down in explanation.
The last question?
What is your favourite animal?
Answer, find it…embroider it!
Animal Embroidery Workbook by Jessica Long is available to purchase through out link!