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.
Paint with Thread: A step-by-step guide to embroidery through the seasons by Emillie Ferris, published by David and Charles
Paint With Thread by Emillie Ferris is a richly illustrated step-by-step guide with five main projects for readers to follow, all inspired by the changing of the seasons and its impact on nature. The book has detailed tutorials, a separate stitch guide and all the information required to begin and finish each embroidery project.
There are around sixty photos for each project in this hardback book, sitting at just over a hundred pages long. This book is a celebration of nature and how it can inspire the art of needlepainting.
What Is Needlepainting?
The technique of Needlepainting comes under a few different names such as thread painting, silk shading, tonal stitch, filling stitch, and so on. The technique is used for giving a painterly and more realistic look to embroidery, often based on a reference image. There is a close attention to detail needed, using built up areas of fine stitches to achieve the right tones.
Who is the book aimed at?
The author invites all skill levels, from “absolute beginners to seasoned stitchers”. On first glance, I assumed the technique would be aimed at more advanced stitchers. That said, by experiencing the guidance provided by Ferris, I can see how this skill could be learned by all with detailed step by step instructions throughout.
About the author
Emillie Ferris has been making hand-embroidered art since 2013. Her thread painting style, using traditional techniques to make nature-inspired designs, has gained her a large following on Instagram.
The book contains five projects, as well as detailed chapters throughout covering techniques and additional information about completing final pieces. The projects are clearly stated, meaning it is easy right from the beginning to decide on which design to stitch.
The five projects Emillie has chosen for the book are inspired by seasonal plants and animals, meaning there are projects suitable for all times of the year. You can use the reference images for help, or alternatively can turn to the local natural landscape to inspire your colour blends and shapes.
Achieving the right tones to achieve the painted look with the stitches takes time and layering. Ferris leads us through the steps required via these step-by-step images. The subtle changes in each of these images highlights the level of detail necessary to achieve the dimension needed for thread painting.
Here is another example of excellent photography and detail in Paint With Thread. Ferris also uses illustrations to guide to embroidery process, again highlighting the importance of using different tones to create dimension.
What is good about this book?
Not only are the embroideries sublime, but the book itself is beautiful, with incredible attention to detail – from the exquisite photography to the lavish hardback binding, it is a real treasure for a book lover. What is particularly unique are the high quality iron-on transfers included at the back of the book that allow you to transfer the designs directly onto fabric and get started straight away.
I really liked how the author included a “nice to have” section, including materials and tools that aren’t necessarily required to stitch, but can make your life easier if you find yourself really getting into the technique. This reiterates that the book is for all levels, beginners don’t need to go out and spend a fortune just to give the projects a go.
As I mentioned previously, the photography and page layout is sublime. The tiny stitched details shown in these images really show the embroidery as fine pieces of art.
The level of detail in Paint With Thread is shown once again by Ferris with a final section on finishing your projects. Here, the embroidery hoop is used as a frame meaning the time taken on the intricate embroidery can be proudly displayed in your home.
Paint With Thread by Emillie Ferris generously shares the authors tried and tested tips and techniques, including advice on materials, transferring designs onto fabric, and fully illustrated explanations of the stitches and skills needed. The five in-depth projects draw on Emillie’s love of nature, including motifs that she is best known for such as flowers, foliage, bees and fungi. It is a pleasure to read through this book and we feel it will be a pleasure to try out the projects too.
Painting with thread is a complex skill to learn, however with Emillie Ferris’ teaching and guidance, we feel it will be achievable and rewarding to achieve.
So, what are you waiting for? Purchase your copy today using this link.