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Stumpwork Embroidery
Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration
Kay and Michael Dennis

Search Press
29 August 2014/ ISBN 9781782211020
How-To Books/Knitting

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Have you ever wanted to try your hand at the more challenging embroidery style known as stumpwork but not known where to start? Inside these covers is everything you need to know to become proficient in this fascinating and beautiful craft.

The caption on the front says Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration, which neatly describes the contents of this book in a nutshell. You can read about the history of stumpwork, learn how to do all the stitches and find out what you need to obtain, then make some projects and have a look at some lovely finished work. This is a large format paperback with a good heft to it, meaning that it flops open on the table and stays flat. It is packed with pretty much everything you need to know on the subject, and I love the way it gets you started right away with some lovely practice pieces. This initially starts you learning the embroidery stitches and how they are used in stumpwork via some small but attractive projects with the trademark Search Press step-by-step captioned photographs. The next section shows you the more complex needlelace via more projects, this time slightly larger and more challenging ones. Then you discover how to put them together to make a scene and learn about figures. This is a modern book that interprets stumpwork in a contemporary style, so you won’t get Biblical scenes with people in 17th century dress. Instead there is a footballer, a fisherman, a fairy and other more familiar subjects. Finally there is a more challenging project, a roundel of the four seasons, all the templates for the projects and a list of stitches. See what I meant about being exhaustive? Embroiderers will be glad to note that they have most of what they need already, and gathering the rest is part of the fun. This is one of the most impressive craft titles I have seen this year and it belongs firmly on my keeper shelf. I look forward to teaching myself stumpwork, and so will you.

If you cannot find a good range of embroidery materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

Reviews of other titles by these authors

Stumpwork Figures
Stumpwork Seasons

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in Sewing World, Sew Hip, Popular Crafts and other magazines. Her craft blog is Green Thoughts
Reviewed 2014