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Embroidered Country Gardens
BY Lorna Bateman

Search Press
5 July 2019/ ISBN 9781782215783
How-To Books / Embroidery

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Indulge your love of nature and gardens with this beautiful book on hand embroidery. You don’t have to be a keen gardener to appreciate these lovely designs featuring gardens at their best, flowers and the creatures that live there. This reminds me of the vintage embroidery transfers my mother had collected and with which I learned the craft as a child. There is even a crinoline lady in the garden amid the buttonhole hollyhocks and French knot delphiniums!

But Ms Bateman has taken it farther than my old book showing basic freestyle stitches, as she has introduced some stumpwork, too, as well as beads, covered washers, buttons, trapunto and needlelace. This is very much a 21st century embroidery book that takes the traditional idealized garden worked in freestyle stitches and mixes it up a bit; this really brings it all to life.

Starting from the beginning, you can discover how the author works and what tools and materials you need to obtain. There is advice on buying needles, storing threads and binding a hoop as well as a section with staged photographs showing how to cover buttons and washers, transfer designs, pad designs to make them raised and more. It is all very well explained with clear diagrams and explanatory text accompanying the many photographs. I like the way the best needle for each stitch is given, and there is even a section on perfecting those tricky bullion knots.

Following this section is one giving an A-Z of garden flowers, showing the most commonly grown varieties in embroidery and explaining how they are worked. Roses get two whole pages all to themselves (most of the other flowers get a third of a page), and there are several different ways of working them using a variety of stitches. Also shown are things and creatures found in a garden that you might want to add, from archways to trugs, insects and birds together with that crinoline lady. Advice is given on how to design your own garden using very basic art materials like pens and colored pencils.

The rest of the book contains twelve projects showing how you can decorate all kinds of items using the author’s designs. In place of the usual cushions and cards are some items embroiders would enjoy making and using including an ort bag, scissor keeper, pincushion, needle case and sewing bag. My own favorite has to be the lovely clutch purse which doubles as a pencil case. Each project has a list of what you need, photograph of the item in situ and pattern/diagram. Instructions are text only in rather small print – perhaps it is as well that there are patterns for a glasses case and magnifying glass!

Even a beginner can practice the stitches and techniques earlier in the book, but the actual projects are aimed at intermediate level embroiderers who are also competent at making up items. Instructions for doing this are also given, again text only. This is a lovely book that certainly made me itch to start making that purse; one for the keeper shelf.

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




UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019