Hand Embroidery – Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond


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. Here’s what we think of Hand Embroidery: Timeless Techniques for Beginners and Beyond written by Patricia Bage, Jill Carter, Ruth Chamberlin, Kay Dennis, Clare Hanham, Jane Rainbow, Pat Trott and Lesley Wilkins, published by SEARCHPRESS.

Hand Embroidery: Timeless Techniques for Beginners and Beyond is an expert guide to popular surface-stitching techniques, suitable for stitchers of all abilities!

Drawing on work previously published in the popular Beginner’s Guide to Needlecrafts series, and originally published as The Stitching Book, this definitive guide to stitching provides a must-have reference for anyone interested in stitching and embroidery. Aimed at both beginners and those wishing to explore new areas or to develop their existing skills, this book provides a complete, step-by-step guide to traditional stitching techniques, including drawn thread embroidery, hardanger, goldwork, stumpwork, silk shading, crewel embroidery, Mountmellick and blackwork. Each section is authored by best-selling embroidery experts Patricia Bage, Jill Carter, Ruth Chamberlin, Kay Dennis, Clare Hanham, Jane Rainbow, Pat Trott and Lesley Wilkins, and leads the reader carefully through the history of the technique; the materials and equipment required; and the most popular stitches used. The sections include 26 projects in all, beautifully illustrated with examples of the authors’ works as well as step-by-step photographs and diagrams of the methods used. This timely book is the perfect choice for anyone whose interest in stitching has been re-awakened by the current trends in embroidery and sewing, and who wishes to make beautiful, hand-embroidered items for their home.


Are You Ready For Adventure?


About the authors

We have the pleasure of eight authors:

  • Patricia Bage exhibits her Drawn Thread Embroideries in the UK and USA with designs available worldwide.
  • Jill Carter exhibits her Hardanger Embroidery widely, using her expertise and creative talents to take this traditional technique in new and exciting directions.
  • Ruth Chamberlin’s love of Goldwork was inspired while studying ecclesiastical embroidery at the School of Embroidery, London. She works on commissions and has taught in adult education for over forty years.
  • Kay Dennis is a life member of The Embroiderers’ Guild and The Guild of Needle Laces. She lectures and demonstrates her Needle Lace and Stumpwork widely.
  • Clare Hanham is a skilled needlecrafter and loves Silk Shading. She runs embroidery classes and designs projects for well known needlework magazines. She also restores antique embroideries.
  • Jane Rainbow has been a professional embroiderer, designer, teacher and consultant for many years. She now teaches courses in Crewel Embroidery, designs canvases and embroidery kits.
  • Pat Trott is an expert in the craft of Mountmellick. She is a life member of the Embroiderers’ Guild.
  • Lesley Wilkins is a skilled embroiderer of Blackwork and an expert in it’s history, having been inspired by samplers on a school trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Who is the book aimed at?

This refreshed edition of The Stitching Book, drawing on work previously published in the bestselling ‘Beginners Guide’ series of needlecraft books, provides a must have reference for anyone interested in surface stitching. Expert guidance in these traditional techniques making them relevant and popular today. Clear step-by-step photographs and diagrams guide you through all essential stitches and techniques. Projects can be used to decorate clothes and bags, or create cushions and samplers to be framed and displayed around the home. Suitable for absolute beginners and seasoned embroiderers wishing to develop new skills. Anyone interested in the history of embroidery will be charmed by this edition.

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
contents page is well laid out

Content

This huge 272 page volume of information is very well laid out. Each technique is thoroughly broken down into materials, stitches, charts and themes with a page index for cross reference should you need it. An introduction into the history of embroidery, the design process, transferring designs onto fabric, framing and mounting works eases beginners into the world of embroidery with confidence where ‘stitching simply means drawing a thread through fabric using a needle’.

Silk Shading – materials, stitches, climbing leaves and dog roses:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of antique silk shading

Crewel Embroidery – materials, stitches, Giselle, Coppelia, Sylvia, Les Sylphides, Floral Symphony and stretching:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of crewel embroidery – Paradise by Jane Rainbow

Mountmellick – materials, stitches and knitted fringes:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Mountmellick embroidery – Convolvulus by Pat Trott

Stumpwork – materials, stitches and needlelace:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Stumpwork – Seahorse by Kay Dennis

Hardanger – materials, stitches, starting and finishing, using a chart, bridal bag and cushion cover:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Hardanger – Sampler by Jill Carter

Blackwork – materials, using charts, stitches, flowers and plants, figures, birds and animals, fill-in patterns and borders:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Blackwork patterns inspired by Tudor knot gardens and mazes

Drawn Thread Embroidery – materials, before you stitch, stitches, rosebud trellis and flower garland:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Drawn Thread Embroidery – Rosebud Trellis

Goldwork – materials, stitches, decorative leaf, golden diamond, golden circle, teardrops and acorns:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
example of Goldwork – The Sampler by Ruth Chamberlin

Photography

Detailed photographs accompany step-by-step text, diagram and chart instruction making this an easy to follow manual. The intricate construction of fabric used in Drawn Thread Embroidery (a grid system of holes) allows beginners to clearly follow each step. Finished embroideries are well presented with detail offering practical inspiration.

What makes this book special?

Each stitch is simplified with photographs at every stage to accompany step-by-step instruction…..

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
step-by-step instruction – stitches in silk shading

…with projects to perfect stitch

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
projects to perfect stitches

….and inspiration to celebrate your embroidery:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
examples of Stumpwork

Complex block stitching is simplified in text and diagrams:

Book Review - Hand Embroidery - Timeless techniques for beginners and beyond
satin stitch blocks simplified

Anything wrong with the book?

No is the short answer! This is a delight to anyone interested in embroidery, whether you want to learn a new skill or brush up on a technique learned in school. I still use my embroidered pencil case from primary school (a long and short silk shading sampler). The history of embroidery dating back to the forth century is intriguing and shapes our world today. You can choose a technique you would like to try and perfect it. Decorate your home with traditional samplers or be inspired to create your own. This book is a wonderful gift for anyone interested in arts and crafts.

Get your copy using this link…. Hand Embroidery: Timeless Techniques for Beginners and Beyond (bookshop.org) and support local bookshops!

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Christine Cunningham

Creating art from recycled materials using traditional methods (applique, patchwork, quilting) with a modern exploration into fabric manipulation and padded structure. Unusual materials include hair, plastic, rubber, metal, disintegrating fabrics and found objects. I source my treasures from carboot sales, charity shops and freecycle. Original poetry captures the essence of an experience, an emotional layering to which the viewer can relate on a personal level. I have two bodies of work. The Natural Collection explores abstract flower design and the seasons, religion, visions of India and Buddhism, childhood nostalgia and the seaside. The Womanhood Collection explores natural states of being including breast cancer, sexuality, the ageing process, anatomy, love, fragility and independence. I was inspired by my own experiences of breast cancer, both the physical brutality and fragility of living in the aftermath.

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