I'm pleased as punch to share with you this peek at Sarah Whittle's new book The Needlecraft Style Directory. Sarah is a UK embroidery artist, founder of the Hand Embroidery Network, and the lady behind ArtyThreads. This is her first book and I have to admit I'm especially pleased because some of my very own work is featured in it! I've been waiting and waiting for it to be released here in the states to get a look at it and was floored to see my photos and stitch work featured on several different glossy pages—such an honor, thank you Sarah!
The layout is clean and lovely and provides a thorough and practical overview of almost anything you can do with a needle and thread (or floss or crewel or felt). The first half is split up into sections, each one providing a stylistic and historical introduction to a different type of needlecraft with examples of what kind of results can be produced with that technique—each photo from some of the best contemporary practitioners of embroidery today. The second half of the book is an illustrated stitch dictionary that details how to accomplish each technique from basic hand quilting and felting to goldwork, bargello, hardanger, and couching. You name the needlecraft, it's covered here.
O hey, I think I recognize that stitching!
There are a lot of books providing basic embroidery stitch how-tos, but I haven't come across a contemporary compendium quite like this that takes you from freestyle line-based embroidery all the way to lace work, mountmellick, japanese darning, and hedebo techniques (are you drooling yet?!). I love that because I feel like a lot of the beautiful intricacies of different types of handwork have gotten a bit overlooked in our modern craft world where machine short cuts are valued over time well spent on handwork that is longer-lasting, more versatile, and (in my humble opinion) completely gorgeous and irreplaceable.
I always hear about craft books being for beginners and more advanced crafters and I have to say I think it's actually true in this case because it acts as a thorough entry point for beginners but also inspires more experienced stitchers with new ideas and ways of combining different techniques for a wider variety of project possibilities. It's an interesting presentation concept that gives you all the building blocks in one place which you can play with any way you see fit!
(here ends my LeVar Burton impression for today)