Garden Stitch Life

Garden Stitch Life: 50 Embroidery Motifs & Projects to Grow Your Inspiration by Kazuko Aoki

Published by World Book Media


In Garden Stitch Life , embroidery artist Kazuko Aoki invites you into her enchanting world of garden-themed embroidery. She allows us up close and personal, revealing her creative secrets and processes. There is the ‘from sketch to stitch’ approach, showcasing how we can use inspiration around us via the natural world to inspire our creative processes. Additionally we see more personal sources of inspiration, found in the every day and even our further away – from our napkins to our tea times to our travels…this author has been excited by it all. Templates are included for all projects.

Projects include samplers, collages, patches, bags, table linens, and more!

About The Author

Kazuko Aoki is a popular Japanese embroidery artist who draws inspiration from her garden and the wildlife that frequently visits there. After attending art school in Japan, Kazuko Aoki studied textiles in Sweden. She is the author of multiple embroidery books.

Who Is This Book Aimed At?

Those with an interest in the finer details of embroidery, teetering on the traditional, whilst holding onto the current via using personal ongoing inspiration as fuel. Stitches are explained so it is not too complex to achieve. As this book is written by a Japanese artist, we find that there is a particular attention to detail, fine embroidery at its best. This may put off those with little or no experience, yet it should not be a negative as we can all learn!


There are three sections, classed as parts, each taking a different source of inspiration; nature, the everyday and travel.

Garden Stitch Life contents
The contents

There are instructions given for every project, as well as paper templates….

Garden Stitch Life inspiration for projects
Inspiration for projects
Garden stitch life templates
Paper templates are provided where required.

For those who need a point of reference in order to complete the various projects, there is a stitch guide, which really helps.

Garden stitch life
Stitch types…explained so we never worry

Each project has motifs, from birds to dinner plates. You will note that there are clear instructions for every one, with guidance given on stitch types and colour use.

Garden stitch life robins
Bird diagrams

Some techniques may be lesser known to us. The author has provided photographed illustrations in a step-by-step manner on how each one works – priceless tutorials.

Garden stitch life reverse applique
Reverse applique as one technique explained

The main thing you will find about this book is its set up – the first half is what could be considered as a ‘look book’, to draw us in via sumptuous illustrations and journalistic dialogue. We enjoyed this method of presentation as it is less formal. This publication is certainly not a cold stitch bible.

garden stitch life spring
Diary like language draws us in and warms us the the writer

Note as in the image above, the instructions for each project are in the second half of the book, not connected straight after the image. This gives the look book or what we could describe as a catalogue view – full of things we will want to have a go of, then later as you see in the image above, the instructions on how to achieve them are given.


The way this book has been displayed and presented is sublime, here are a few examples…..

Garden Stitch Life up close florals
From the literal floral to the embroidered version, this technique makes for lovely diary style stitch illustrations

Unusual projects are mixed with those more expected. Take the example below….would we have thought about making a jar to store garden twine? Why make it beautiful? The author here encourages us to make the every day beautiful, or to see the beautiful in the everyday, the mundane items such as, yes garden twine, which most of us see only as a practical item.

Garden Stitch Life bees
Garden twine

Then there are the expected projects, such as cards to embroider. yes we could make them personal to us, maybe using our own gardens as inspiration. What do we have fond memories of?

Garden Stitch Life photography
The author gives us her heart via the captions connected to the project imagery

What Makes The Book Special?

We loved the more unusual, yet usual sources of inspiration. She makes the mundane things, items we may just take for granted seem more special and worth taking note of. A market bag or a napkin, items seen as simply required not something to love, have been showcased here. The minimalistic embroidery style makes for an achievable project…

Garden Stitch Life teatime
Could your tea be inspiring enough to stitch?

There are a few pages near the middle of the publication where the author allows us deeper into her personal life, with imagery of her own garden. This leaves us considering what we ourselves may find around us. Even if we don’t have a garden, what do we have around us? A favourite walk or park?

Garden Stitch Life using garden as fuel
Using gardens and nature as fuel

There is a definite diary feel to this book, with illustrations in a watercolour style almost becoming plans for the future embroidery work. This is a lovely element we could all have a little go of.

Letting your dinner get cold becuase it is good enough to stitch?
Letting your dinner get cold because it is good enough to stitch?

Anything Wrong With The Book?

This book, with its fifty embroidery motifs and projects should have enough to interest all in some way. It is a paperback book, yet this does not downgrade its quality.


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