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Joyful Stitching
Transform Fabric with Improvisational Embroidery
Laura Wasilowski

C&T Publishing (distributed in the UK by Search Press)
19 March 2018/ ISBN 9781617455674
How-To Books/Embroidery

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


This is the ideal book for anybody who thinks that embroidery is too “quiet” for them. Perhaps it conjures up images of florals and practical items such as tea towels? As it says on the cover with this book you can learn how to “transform fabric with improvisational embroidery” and have a lot of fun in the process.

As soon as I saw the bright, folk art inspired image of a bird on the cover it made me want to start stitching. As the author says in her introduction, you can really bring fabric to life with embroidery, and the projects in here all demonstrate this. Most books on freestyle embroidery use 6-strand floss on cotton or linen, but this one uses perle thread on silk, wool and felt. The author also uses many variegated skeins, which adds a lot of the liveliness and also omits having to buy a very large number of shades of each color. The book starts with a brief overview as well as a section on what you need and how to use it. This includes how to use perle thread, methods of transferring designs to silk, wool and felt, and buying the right needles and fabric. Each stitch is then shown in several good-sized captioned photographs; these are easy to follow and I like the contrast between thread and fabric. Stitches are listed alphabetically and comprise all the basic freestyle stitches plus a few useful extras. The rest of the book contains the six projects which are wonderfully bright depictions of an apple, bird, heart filled with flowers, stylized plants, hand of fortune and a landscape with a house and lake. Each project covers several pages and contains a fair number of captioned photographs, list of what you need complete with a photograph of the threads, plus instructions on finishing. The projects are pictures rather than functional items to be enjoyed as they are. US embroiderers can buy the variegated threads, hand dyed fabrics and even kits of the projects in the author’s online store; those in other countries will need to look elsewhere. This aside, I found this to be a beautiful and inspiring book, ideal for anybody of any level who wants to see where freestyle embroidery can take them.

If you cannot find a good range of embroidery materials locally try for a list of suppliers. have one of the largest ranges of embroidery supplies (including plenty of perle threads) and they ship to over 75 countries.

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