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Ideas For Appliqué
The Appliqué Artist's Workbook (Milner Craft Series)
BY Eileen Campbell

Sally Milner Publishing (distributed in the UK by Search Press)
3 April 2018/ ISBN 9781863513883
How-To Books/Quilting

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Liven up your quilting and other textile projects with some appliqué. Learn how to do several different types and decorate your work further with hand and machine embroidery. Create lively backgrounds with several paint techniques and have fun using many traditional and modern materials to achieve some stunning effects.

This is a beautiful book filled with wonderful photographs of Ms Campbell’s award winning work. Turn to the back to see fifteen amazing quilts that look too awesomely professional to be doable, but then turn to the front and get stuck into the projects. Broken down into manageable chapters it is soon easy to see that it is not so difficult, although this is not a book for beginner textile artists but those with more sewing experience. The subtitle on the cover says “The appliqué artist’s workbook” and this is a good description. Although there are none of the trademark Search Press projects with their many captioned step by step photographs it is not hard to make use of the examples. Learn how to use iron-on interfacings and set up your machine for both appliqué and embroidery. Work through various exercises and see how the beautiful quilts were created, then have a go yourself with the traceable patterns. It is surprisingly straightforward – and a lot of fun – when broken down into short projects, and all the latest products are put through their paces. Find out how to use Angelina fibers, foils, paintsticks, fabric pencils, rubber stamps, make tassels, use real flowers and more. There is quite a lot of reading in this book and sometimes a few more pictures might help, but on the whole the photographs are very well chosen. For example a fabric is shown with images printed on it with some being cut out and the next photograph shows the cutout neatly appliquéd with other simple shapes. I particularly love how the author shows that even the most advanced seeming piece is made up of quite simple shapes. This is definitely one for the keeper shelf, and highly recommended.

Although a total beginner might be daunted by the sheer number of stitches, they could learn all the basics (and more) from this useful book. As well as the stitches there are sections on all the essential topics from what you need to start through to choosing fabrics, working from charts, using a hoop and finishing off. Turn to the back for a short section looking at various types of embroidery, both freestyle and canvas. Each short description contains photographs and diagrams to whet the appetite, plus lists of stitches associated with the style and a brief history. The bulk of the book is given to the stitches themselves, which are divided into two sections (fabric and canvas) and helpfully showcased at the front in a stitch selector. The stitches are grouped in families eg line, chain, blanket, smocking, loops, pulled etc which makes searching for a stitch suitable for a particular effect or style easier. Each stitch is shown photographed, and then how to work it is shown in one or more colored diagrams. These are very clear because they are drawn with the thread a contrasting color to the background, which also contrasts with the white page. They are also large enough to be easily seen, and backed up with written instructions. At the base of the page the stitch’s uses are given, plus any notes. There is an index at the back, and a page showing more embroidery books by Search Press so you can take your knowledge further. There are no patterns or projects but this is not that type of book; instead this is one you will never finish working through which is suitable for every level of embroiderer. Highly recommended.

If you cannot find a good range of textile art and quilting materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

Reviews of other titles by this author

Japanese Flowers in Appliqué


UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2017