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.
Are you a cat person? If so this new publication by Alison J Reid will be a dream come true. Within this hardback book, learn how to create your own catty creatures, using simple stitches along with felt and the authors templates and designs. The book covers all cats from our feline friendly home varieties, to those a little more zoo like. Published by David & Charles.
Some information from the publishers themselves:
Featuring the most popular and distinctive breeds – including long-haired, short-haired, hairless and even big cats -each pussycat pattern comes with step-by-step instructions and full-size templates, making them purrrfect for all abilities.
The finished little kitties would make cute brooches, bag charms and home accessories, or can even be scaled up to make bigger plushes, all of which will make your cat-loving friends have kittens!
Cats? But they’re all the same, aren’t they? Well, no not really! When you start to explore the many different breeds of cats, you realise just what a variety of breeds there is, and how different they are from each other. Author Alison J Reid has spent months beavering away in her studio, researching all different kinds of cats, both domestic and wild. She has checked out their colourings and markings, and spent so much time trying to perfect their colourful, beautiful eyes. It became an obsession! It was only by researching the various details that make each breed so distinctive, that Alison has been able to capture each of their unique qualities and differences.
Pattern, colour and shape are key, so capturing these details in felt was important. Luckily, there are so many different colours of felt available, including fur-like mottled effects. Felt’s non-fraying, double sided, robust qualities make it easy to create all the little details that make each cat breed so unique and instantly recognisable. She has also used small amounts of wool curls and roving to add texture for truly strokable results.
Each cat pattern can be traced straight from the page (or enlarged if you want to sew a larger plush), and simple instructions mean that even beginners can get started. And because all the cats are sewn by hand, you don’t need a sewing machine and can sit on the sofa with your cat while you sew.
Whether you choose to sew just your own favourites, or make cats for the other crazy cat people in your life, this book will provide hours of fun and inspiration.
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About The Author
Alison J Reid is not only an author, she is a textile artist in her own right. She has a degree in Fashion and Textiles. Her work has featured in so many publications, including lots of fashion and home magazines: Selvedge Magazine, Elle, Elle Decoration, Vogue, Homes and Gardens and The World of Interiors to name a few! She is also the author of other books so do check out her Instagram account and her website for further information.
Who Is This Book Aimed At?
Well, it is obvious that those who are cat inclined will enjoy this one the most, however the designs and materials used are simple for all, children could be taught how to make these critters as well as those new to textiles. The books projects are achievable within a short period of time and also make great gifts.
So lets begin with the old contents page. The book has been divided into a few sections, one for small cats and one for bigger cats…..what a variety!
There are also separate sections which prove to be very helpful, for example this one looks at the tools and techniques required, so we can get prepared beforehand. We love the little details taught within this book, such as making clay cat eyes for the felty felines you create.
A stitch library has been provided for us to keep turning to to learn the stitches for the projects. None are too hard and they have all been illustrated with little diagrams too.
There is a key to design guide included, which really helps us visualise how to make the little features of the cats:
In conclusion, really the whole book is set out the same way, each design is explained through a step by step process, as we see in this example:
On a separate note, we liked the styling of this book, its simple but has been created with thought. Note the right hand side with the blanket stitch line which separates the template to the cat illustration and requirements. This makes for an easy read and one which will hold the attention of a younger audience as well as those with less experience.
Below we have illustrated one of the templates so that you can understand how the book works…
Its a cut out job! We imagine that once you make one cat and see how the instructions relate to the project, it will become easier to do the rest as really its a repeat process, it is just the cat breed which changes!
It has been made to tempt, with each project photographed clearly. The sections which divide the large and small cats are fun too:
We are able to have the confidence to complete the cat projects due to the clear final outcome imagery:
The mix of background illustration and final outcome works well and one does not overtake the other. See this Lion as an example:
Another example to show this:
What Makes The Book Special?
We are encouraged to share our projects, which is a nice touch! Also we are given ideas as to what to do with them once we finish:
We liked this little care section, which comes early on in the book. Lets not rush to put them in the washing machine eh!
Anything Wrong With The Book?
If you do not like cats….you might prefer the dog version, also written by this author!
Get your copy of Stitch 50 Cats from BookStore and support independent bookshops!