Crewel Embroidery by Tatiana Popova


Textile Art Book Reviews

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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Introduction

Crewel Embroidery: 7 Enchanting Designs Inspired By Fairy Tales by Tatiana Popova will teach you how to create magical scenes using the traditional technique of crewel work. It’s a fun way to breathe new life into an old art form.

About The Author

Tatiana was born in Ukraine and started embroidery early on in childhood. She was inspired by both her mother and grandmother. She developed skills and techniques which led her down the path of becoming a florist, not an embroidery based! Yet that didn’t come into fruition, so eventually she turned back to her childhood love of embroidery and started specialising in silk ribbon embroidery. She loved detail and fine intricate stitches, so she chose crewel as a technique to express her love of needlework. She still specialises in ribbon work too and creates kits for others to follow.

Often it is interesting to note what artists would have done with their lives if they had not taken the artistic path; floristry is imbedded in Popova’s practice through stitch – thus she here uses her first love, just in a different way than she had originally planned.

Who Is This Book Aimed At?

Looking through this one, it is definitely designed for someone who is experienced in crewel embroidery, not coming at it from cold, as it were.

Content

The book is divided into seven different projects.  Each one is carefully photographed and explained, thus this is a large book considering there are seven projects and not more.  They are well detailed and before we are introduced to the projects, there are many pages of stitch advice, including large diagrams.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - Contents list for this book.
We see this as a “serious embroiderers’ ” companion. Such things as conversion charts are included to make sure that all parts of the project are done just so

Within the introduction, Popova not only explains the books concept, it also divulges her history, the life experiences which have made her the writer she is today. This warms us to her as a person and actually acts as an attraction – we now want to read more of the book because we feel we know the person behind the text.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - Introduction page
From florist to embroiderer, we learn about this artists background.

The book is a detailed and complex publication, thus there is a requirement for a detailed materials and tools section. Thankfully Popova has realised this, so that we do not lose heart or get confused when carrying out the various projects.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - Tools and Materials page
Conversion charts given under the Materials and Tools section.

All in all there are around ninety stitches enclosed within the publication. Crewel work is often worked in a thin wool, yet to give this book a contemporary style, she has worked the samples is a shinier material – this consists of cotton pearl thread and stranded cotton. That is the saving of this book – it is all beautiful get at times we could wonder – am I good enough to complete projects at this high level? By adding modern edges, the author here adds a clever edge; making the book even more appealing.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - stitch examples illustrated
So much stitch advice! Yet with this much detail we need it.

Photography

Popova’s attention to detail shines through within the visual side of this publication. We are graced with close up shots so that we can ascertain the colours and stitches she uses for each project.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - close up of one of the finished projects, a bird this time
As the person reviewing this book, I have to say that I love this bird. It still has a traditional edge, yet who wouldn’t be proud of themselves if they had managed this one?!
Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - whole view of the bird design in the last image
Looking at more of the above design, the photography has obviously been captured with a high pixel camera as each stitch can be observed with the naked eye.

What Makes The Book Special?

Instead of being a book on Crewel embroidery in general, or on something more general like flowers, this book is centred around Fairy tales.  This is no Disney style interpretation, it is grown up, yet still these designs are a great way to remember our childhood.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - wizard of oz inspired projects
Who doesn’t want to delve into the Wizard of Oz?

Finally, we note that the book is plastered with so many images that run right till the very end – again this makes the book tempting.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - Bibliography
Even the last page of this publication is colourful and well illustrated

Anything Wrong With The Book?

Stitching wise, this book is complex, you need to be driven and focused to fulfil the projects – but if you succeed you will be wanting to show these ones off.

Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales by Tatiana Popova - full two page spread example of a floral project
Beautiful but complex

Conclusion

Honestly, this is a beautiful book; yes one for the more developed embroiderer, yet still beautiful. For those who do not feel able to complete the projects, it is still work a read – we all need something to aim for and this may be the technique for you.

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