Another Review at MyShelf.Com

A-Z of Stumpwork

By Various Contributors

     In the 17th century, stumpwork was the last and most advanced form of needlework a young lady learned. Now, it is still one of the least-known of the needle-arts and needs a bit of positive publicity. I wanted a book that would teach me the stitches and give me projects that kept the beauty of the earlier works while at the same time being modern yet timeless. That book seems to be this one!

     Firstly I think this is a real keeper that might well spend some time on the coffee table. This is such a beautifully produced book, with its lush layouts and lovely incidental motifs of old botanical prints that seem to be a feature of how-to books produced in Australia. The stitches are explained in so many clear stages that even a relative beginner could probably learn them, and there are some truly breathtaking projects that ought to make any embroiderer worth their salt grab a needle and get stitching. Only two things marred this otherwise lovely primer. Firstly, I had hoped for a brief history of stumpwork but this was entirely missing - why? Secondly, the book goes straight from the stitches to the projects, which are all quite advanced. There is no beginner's piece to ease the stitcher in, or to explain the composition of the projects, and this is a pity.

     I guess that this is mainly due to the fact that the book is not the work of one person, and it made me think of the old joke about a camel being a horse designed by a committee. But this aside, just like the young ladies of old, you too, can learn stumpwork - but I would tend to recommend this lovely primer more to those who are fairly experienced in embroidery.

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The Book

Inspirations Books (distributed in UK by Search Press)
February 2005
How-To Books/Needlecrafts
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005