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Embroidered Kitchen Garden
Vegetable, Herb & Flower Motifs to Stitch & Savor
BY Kazuko Aoki

Search Press
30 September 2019/ ISBN 9781940552408
How-To Books / Needlework

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Gardens are popular subjects for embroidery and have been so for centuries. But they usually focus on the floral side of nature and neglect the other important group of plants found in gardens – vegetables! This book redresses the balance with patterns for use in the kitchen and anywhere else associated with this type of plant.

I guess the fact that vegetables are usually just seen as ingredients has made them seem rather ordinary. But take a closer look and see how attractive many of them are, plus of course, many also produce pretty flowers of their own.

Like all the books I have seen that originated in Japan, this one follows a particular layout. At the front are photographs of all the projects, followed by the instructions and patterns. This means you get to whet your appetite with pages of colorful examples of embroidered vegetables before getting down to the more practical aspects. This is a book aimed at the embroiderer who already has a working knowledge of freestyle stitches and knows what tools and materials you are going to require. There are two pages of this type of information plus stitch diagrams, the latter helpful to anybody, as it shows which stitches you are going to be using.

The patterns vary from rows of small plants suitable for borders (or a sampler showing the layout of a kitchen garden) to whole page drawings and everything in between. Lines are black and very fine; the author suggests you trace them onto the fabric over dressmaker’s carbon using a stylus, which is what I always do. Each pattern has lines to show which stitch to use, and which color of DMC floss.

Choose from traditional garden favorites such as tomatoes, carrots, onions and potatoes. or more contemporary choices such as edible flowers, sprouting seeds, okra and komatsuna. Also included are patterns for garden tools and visitors like birds and insects. There aren’t any projects to make, but any of these patterns would be ideal decorating a tote bag to take to market, apron, napkins, tea cosy and anything else for use where actual vegetables might also be making an appearance. For anybody who wants to grow the actual plants there is a list at the back. This does not give the actual species used but the common name (ie carrot, parsley etc), scientific name and where it originated. An attractive book for anybody who likes to cook, garden and embroider.

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