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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Here’s what we think of Embroiderer’s Guild Transfers Collection by Annette Collinge
The Embroiderers’ Guild Transfers Collection: 90 Rediscovered Treasures to Transfer and Stitch – to give it its full title – is a beautiful collection of embroidery transfers which Annelle Collinge discovered in the archives of the Embroiderers’ Guild. As Annette explains in the book, Embroiderers’ Guild transfers were first referred to in a magazine published in 1932 so the description of the book as a ‘treasure trove’ on the back, is really true.
About the author
Annette has loved embroidery all her life and began the craft using transfer designs. She is a mixed media textile artist based in the UK, and is a life member of the Embroiderers’ Guild. You can find out more about Annette and see some of her work on her website here.
Who is this book aimed at?
This book is aimed at anyone from the enthusiastic embroidery newbee to a seasoned pro. Not only do you get designs, there is also a section of the book dedicated to tools and materials, techniques and stitches, even how to use an embroidery hoop. There is even a lovely ‘how to use this book’ page which I think is a lovely touch. It explains that you can look at the examples but also go off the beaten track to mix transfers, change colours, do what you feel. Often such books do not encourage you to break free of the norm so I love this.
So as I mentioned above you get a section on how to use the book, and embroidery basics, but you get much more such as beautiful sections on how to use monochrome and variegated threads, how to repeat designs, how to use stitches in unusual ways, and how to use beads and sequins. Annette is a real encourager of embracing your artistic wild child. And of course let’s not forget the transfers – wow – the book actually comes in two sections (more in the ‘what makes this book special’ section below…) and the transfer section includes a whopping 90 transfers, the first 23 of which are used as the examples in the main book, so you get to see them sewn up with various techniques used.
I often find it really hard to take good photos of things I sew, it is often difficult to make the photo show how detailed your work is. The photos in this book show it perfectly. They are all really clear and make it very easy to see the stitches and colours used. The book also features lots of helpful illustrations to demonstrate how to make the various stitches.
What makes this book special?
No doubt the fabulous transfer designs make this book very special indeed. But on top of that I really like the way the book has been packaged. It comes as two books inside a hard backed folder with an elastic clasp. It makes the book feel luxurious and seems worthy of holding all of those beautiful Guild treasures inside. The design of the cover is also impressive as it perfectly pattern matches the covers of the books.
Anything wrong with this book?
Not at all. It could be nice to see more of the designs sewn up as examples, but that would make the book huge and much more expensive, so for me, it works.
The history of needlecraft is so precious to us all. Even if you are the most contemporary stitcher you can’t help but appreciate the gift of being shown and given transfers of patterns from almost 100 years ago. I always get quite excited when I am watching a period drama and someone is sat in a chair stitching by the window. The designs in the book really are treasures and as such needed to be highlighted and passed on. Annette has done that in the perfect way, in a beautiful format written for all levels of stitcher. It’s a big thumbs up from me.