Want to learn about the newest books and videos related to weaving and other textiles? Make sure to check out Handwoven’s Media Picks department every issue. This book review comes from the January/February 2018 issue. —Christina
As long as there have been cloth, needle, and thread, there’s been some form of embroidery. From fantastically complex medieval tapestries to Grandma’s flour sack towels stitched with “Sunbonnet Sue,” embroidery has taken many forms over the decades. In her new book, The Hand-Stitched Surface, author Lynn Krawczyk aims to teach this ancient technique to a new audience. Focusing on the more artistic aspects of handstitching, both freeform and from patterns, Krawczyk’s book is a perfect introduction to what she refers to as slow stitching.
Krawczyk makes no assumptions about the skill of the reader—she begins with an introduction of necessary tools (including an explanation of embroidery floss and why the six threads are so important) and then goes on to basic techniques and stitches. The chapter on stitching not only provides the how-tos for the basic stitches (French knots, lazy daisy, etc.) but also gives examples of how these stitches can be modified, expanded upon, and combined to create more complex patterns. She also gives instructions for creating a pattern of one’s own and a description of how she approaches improvisational stitching, giving readers the tools they need to do more than just follow store-bought patterns.
The rest of the book focuses primarily on projects, many of which could be adapted for handwoven cloth. Perhaps more importantly for weavers, the book offers many ideas for how to use embroidery in ways to embellish our cloth. From sweetly embroidered buttons that would be perfect on a handwoven purse or top to using embroidery stitches to sew together the pieces of a quilt, this book will have weavers thinking about new and exciting ways to incorporate handstitching into their projects. This book is perfect for anyone who’s ever wanted to try embroidery, either on its own or as a cloth embellishment technique, but didn’t know where to start.
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