Freestyle Embroidery on Wool

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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Here’s what we think of Freestyle Embroidery on Wool by Karin Derland published by Pimpernel Press Ltd.


Written by a Swedish designer, Freestyle Embroidery on Wool has been first published in Sweden and then brought here to the UK. Derland the author gifts this book to her grandmother. The book references wool fabrics and threads, as well as those made from silk, linen and cotton – so very naturally biased. This publication is filled with unique ideas and will delight any embroiderer.

About The Author

Karin Derland is a free style embroidery artist, with a love of wool. She is self-taught in Textiles, however she has background experience in drawing and painting and other fine art techniques, which help her to be art inclined. She has a large following on Instagram and is very inspired by Swedish and Indian art designs.

Who Is This Book Aimed At?

We believe that it has a universal appeal, for experienced and inexperienced artists, designers and embroiderers. The ideas can be interpreted in complicated ways if desired, yet the basic teaching and tuition found throughout this book will nurture the less confident.


The book has been divided into three parts. The first deals with pre-education; i.e. what you need to have on hand before you begin. Part two focuses on stitch types and educates those who are less experienced, whilst also providing a wealth of choices and inspiration for those who have done it all. The last and third section gets to the real subject matter and provides projects and finishing ideas.

contents of Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland

Karin says: “I see embroidery as a way of expressing myself, as I would with any other artistic medium. It is also a convenient means for exploring and experimenting with textile materials and techniques . . . I want to share my thoughts concerning form, inspiration, materials, techniques, and composition.”

We loved how the author had laid out the tools and materials connected to the techniques visually. They are all put under a numbering system, with connecting labels. The contrasting background works well here, so that the requirements are easily observed….

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland tools
What tools will we require?

The book contains nearly 300 colour photographs and thorough diagrams of Karin’s colourful embroidery that draws on both the Swedish and Indian traditions. This is significant, as the book size itself is on the small side. These images can be used as a sourcebook of ideas for creating your own work, a springboard for further creativity on our part. We like being the nose here at Mr X Stitch. The author reveals what motivates her and inspires her, what the work created is based upon. She is Swedish with clear leanings towards the folk art and Indian vibe, thus the traditions being a part of the book here. This seems to all tie well within this one publication, which is interesting as many publications deal with one country for inspiration. This one has more of a global feel without disconnection.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland inspiration
Inspirational images

For those with less experience, there is a lot on colour and what ties in well. This may seem like a walk in the walk, a why mention page to many. However for those who are yet to embark – it is a real point of focus.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland colour
Colour combos

As said, the book is divided into three parts in its contents. The parts are clearly separated via these green themed pages. Simple and workable.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland part three
Part Three

For those who wonder about the actual projects, they are well illustrated and come with step-by-step progress text. Of course you do not have to go with the colours shown, this book leaves some of the creative side to your own artistry.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland Instructions
Instructions example

Again for the beginner, the stitches needed are taught in a diagram fashion. This may seem like a given, a page to pass over for many who have witnessed books on embroidery before. However this one is particularly effective due to the authors colour choices – the yellow and white brings clarity to the instructions.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland the basic stitches
Basic stitches – so clear


Lovely images throughout, for the educational side of things and finished works by the author themselves….we can observe closely how to decorate our pieces, the beads, patterned fabrics….all come together with the wool.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland zoomed details
Zoomed in embroidery

The extra materials used make this book sit a step higher on the scale, embellishment may be last on the list, or first depending on your interest. We love the global influences here and the Indian mirror work etc.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland beads
Beads and embellishments

The illustration side of things to showcase all projects works well, we are shown full page images of finished items along with close ups so that we can see how they are made.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland layout
The images and layout are sublime

The book has definite stylisation – presentation with a home style interiors edge.

What Makes The Book Special?

We loved the clarity of image / stitch type – great for beginners and those who may be a bit rusty on embroidery types and names !

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland clever detail
A clever layout

Lastly, we found the all round global feel of this publication really successful. Yes we have previously said it, but it really does work well!

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool Karin Derland
samples of what you can create

Anything Wrong With The Book?

Not that we can find. The size of the book is quite small, yet it seems to cover so much – a sure sign of a well thought out book with a clear authors voice over publisher. We cannot believe it is only just over 130 pages long! On the plus side, its small form makes it an ideal travel companion.


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