Tuesday 14 November 2017

Enthusiasm For Embroidery

For the first time in weeks, I managed to get to the library on Friday.  I picked up a couple of books about embroidery. I haven't really had the opportunity to do any proper embroidery since the tea-cosies [Norwich and Manchester]  but I do like seeing other people's work, and admiring their skills. A favourite blog is Jenny of Elefantz - an Australian designer who is particularly good at interpreting Bible verses in stitchery. I've yet to do any of her designs although I have downloaded a few freebies, and maybe one day...
But back to my library books. The first was Stitch and Sew Home, by Eline Pellinkhof. Eline is Dutch, and the book says that she too has a blog [hereI had not come across her work before.
This book is full of over 45 little projects to sew, embroider or cross stitch. If I have a complaint, it is that many of the projects involve fabrics Eline has specially designed - or mention ribbons, buttons, stamps and other haberdashery from her online store. But I am confident that most people would be able to find appropriate equivalents if they hunted around.
Having said that, there are a lot of fun ideas in the book - some I have seen before [eg displaying fabric in embroidery hoops] whilst others were new to me. I would never have thought of embroidering on a chinese ricepaper lampshade!
The fabrics tend to be of the Cath Kidston variety - red, pink and blue, floral and polka-dot. Or they are from the ecru, lace and burlap fold. 
But I found the book pretty, and fun to read through - and I particularly liked her style of mixing different techniques in one piece - the keyfob on the cover is stitched- with a stamped birdcage, a crocheted ribbon, and patched fabric.
I did not know about of 'soap chains' and had to look them up on the Internet. Basically, you cut out a shape from a thin slice of soap, and then suspend it on a ribbon, lace and beads and buttons.
They are meant to be decorative and perfume the bathroom or bedroom -you don't actually wash with the soap! I suspect they would get tired and dusty after a while. 
The book certainly has diverse ideas, and good templates and instructions. ****
The second book is by an American, Aimee Ray. Doodle Stitching [fresh and fun embroidery for beginners]
Now this was fun- I am by no means a beginner, but I thought Aimee's approach was good. Clear instructions, and again, lots of different projects. A bit less 'twee' than Eline. Also, more items you might actually use, not just ornamental pieces, and ideas for decorating garments [skirt, shoes, shorts]
I think that because she is aiming at beginners, she has kept her stitching techniques simple- and everything uses all six plies [strands] of floss. But she does point out that you can always combine plies from different colours to make different shades. She also suggests variations - eg she shows three different ways to interpret one bird 'doodle'

I liked this book, there are others by the same author which I shall check out. Here is the back cover...

Here's the old man of the hill 
One odd thing - that girl in the headband appears, smiling, throughout the book, and I thought she must be Aimee. But she isn't, she's just a model! 
I'd give this one **** as well. But at the moment, I have other projects on hand, and decorative stitchery will have to wait!


  1. I think I might have a version of that second one or at least something similar which I've still not used yet!

  2. Thank you for sharing your opinion of these books, Angela. It has been awhile since I last embroidered, but I plan to do a couple of gifts that will be embroidered, for New Year gifts.


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