Books Part 2 – Stitches

I have a number of books which deal with stitches, and most of them have ideas or projects for using those stitches.   The one which is the exception is the first embroidery book I bought,  about 40 years ago,  when I went to London with my friend to buy my bridesmaid outfit for her wedding.   We found time to pop into the Needlewoman Shop in Regent Streeet.   The price on it 10p!   It is called 100 Embroidery Stitches, and at the bottom of the cover it says Anchor Embroidery Stitches.  It was published by Coats in 1967.   I wonder if this was the fore-runner of the other books I have in this post?

I have various Anchor books, and I think I acquired all of them on eBay.   My justification for having so many embroidery (and other craft)  books is that some of them were gifts,  and others were bought for less than their original value.   I do sell one or two from time to time (which creates funds to buy more).

Here is the list:

The Anchor Book of

Counted Thread Embroidery Stitches

Ribbon Embroidery

Hardanger Embroidery

The New Anchor Book of

Canvaswork Stitches and Patterns

Crewel Stitches and Patterns

Freestyle embroidery Stitches

Pulled thread Embroidery Stitches

I would recommend any of the above for their clarity,  excellent illustrations, and the range of patterns and designs .   The full price for them now is £7.99.

The last one today is one of my favourites,  The Embroiderer’s Handbook.   It is  Country Bumpkin book,  and if I had to recommend just one book for someone starting with embroidery, this would be it.   I love the glossy feel of the pages, and the way the book is scattered with examples how the stiches can be used, and little hints and tips.   It is well woth £16.99 of anyone’s money!


October 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , . crewel, Embroidery, Hardanger, ribbon embroidery, Silk Paper. Leave a comment.

Re Progress with Hardanger

To say progress is slow is an understatement of the facts.  At first I really struggled,  and I was just doing some Kloster Blocks.   What could be simpler?   It depends how good you are at counting threads to stitch over.   I spent a lot of time undoing the stitches which were wrong.

So I decided to stitch some motifs.  I still struggled because the sheen of the perle thread sometimes makes it look as if stitches at right angles to each other are not the same length, when they are.   Stars and ships emerged, and things were looking a bit better

Then I decided to try four sided stitch,  and that was not quite so bad.

So I got really  brave, and decided cut out some threads to do some woven bars – quite therapeutic.

Next was a bit of Cable stitch and Double Running stitch.

Having done those,  I was ready for some filling stitches.  Dove’s Eye, Twisted Bars, Spider’s Web  and Circular Filling stitch followed.  I really enjoyed doing these.

There are still more filling stitches to try,  which means going back to the Kloster Blocks again.

In the Anchor Book of Hardanger Embroidery there is a small sampler of stitches  (Hemstitch and Variations)  which would be good to try.


This is two small buts,  followed by a really big one.

I have been in design mode in between the Hardanger stitching, playing with paisley designs,  and another design with a peacock.  These may end up in the same project.  I have also resurrected a large piece of wool felt which has more wool embellished onto it.  This may end up being the background fabric, but on the other hand it might well be something completely different!

I have also been trying to get the garden ‘put to bed’  for the winter, and now is the best time to do it.   So I go out there and work away until my back tells me it has had enough.

Now for the big BUT.

I feel as if I am confessing to something really awful – my new book arrived a couple of hours ago.

It is Goldwork Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration by Hazel Everett.  I have had a quick look through, and I have to agree with Mary Corbet.  When she reviewed it,  (  26th September)  she said,  “You Need this book”.  That was what made me decide to buy it rather than get it from the library.   I did seriously need it.

I don’t think there will be much stitching for a day or two.

October 24, 2011. Tags: , , , . Embroidery, Goldwork, Hardanger. Leave a comment.

Books part 1 Encyclopaedias

I think the best place to start with the books are the general ones, and then those that deal with stitches for different types of embroidery.

The first one is not physically on my bookshelf, but on my computer.   Therese de Dillmont’s Encyclopedia of Needlework  is available as an ebook from Project Gutenberg.   Books which are out of copyright can be processed in this way, and there are other websites which also provide the same service with older books.

This is a wonderful book,  covering more than just Embroidery. Sewing and Mending, Knitting , Crochet, tatting, Macrame and Lacemaking are all included.  There are many illustrations and some of the designs are timeless.

The second embroidery book I ever bought was The complete Encyclopaedia of Stitchcraft, by Mildred Ryan.  This another book in the same vein as de Dillmont’s. It covers much the same topics, and rugmaking in addition, including a section on making braids., to make braided rugs.

The next one is a very old book, which was my Mother’s.  It is Needlework and Crafts, by Irene Davison, Agnes Miall,  and R.K.and M.J.R.Polkinghorne.  The paper it is printed on is thick and very rough, and the photographs are in shades of brown.  It originally had some transfers with it, but unfortunately they have gone.  

 The subjects in this one are: Plain sewing,  Hand Embroidery,  Home Dressmaking,  Mending,  Crochet,  Raffia work,  Stencilling,  Barbola, Weaving, Gesso-work,  Lampshades,  Pokerwork,  Artistic Leather work,  Basketry,  Painting on Glass and China,  Sea-Grass work, and Knitting.

This brings back memories.  My brother and I did raffia work when we were quite small,  making mats for Christmas presents for elderly relatives.  (When I was a bit older I knitted woollen pan-holders.)  And also of the sea-grass topped stools which seemed to be in every house.. 

You may wonder what Barbola is – the book says it is a simplified form of modelling, less messy than Gesso-work.  It seems Barbola paste came in tubes, and could be modelled in the same way as clay.

As for the first Embroider book I bought – it was a  ‘stitches book’,  and this is the category for my next post.

October 18, 2011. Tags: , , . Embroidery. Leave a comment.






This is the photo which should have been in the last post.  And look what has happened to my font.  How on earth do I change it to something more eye-friendly?

I still have no embroidery to show you.  In the meantime I will post more photos of needle lace, and I am also preparing posts about books.  I looked on my shelff, and counted.  There 28,  not all strictly embroidery,  but I was looking a more to put on my Christmas wish list.  I will be telling you what they are, and which are my favourites.

October 16, 2011. Tags: , . Embroidery. 1 comment.

Needle lace

Until I have some photographs of my own embroidery to show you, here are two photographs which were taken at  a lace museum in Burano, a Venetian Island.

The ladies there were demonstrating their work.  Imagine the hours it took to make the dress!

October 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Embroidery. Leave a comment.