Mandala is a Sanskrit
word meaning “circle”, and these beautiful round
motifs are a part of Buddhist and Hindu religion. Recently
they have gained popularity for more secular reasons, but
are still a meditative and calming practice which is why they
feature in so many coloring books. Embroidery is also a soothing
hobby, and so putting the two together makes sense. The result
is a book of twenty-four gorgeous patterns.
I was sold just looking at the lovely image on the cover,
and although the word “beginner” is not actually
used I reckon this book is suitable for one. The mandalas
are stitched using just ten simple stitches, and there are
instructions on how to use a hoop and other basics. The stitches
are explained with some very clear diagrams each with a caption
complete with the sort of helpful hints you don’t usually
see in books of stitches but which are very useful for beginners.
You don’t need much either; just cotton fabric, floss,
a hoop and off you go (although if you really are new to this
I recommend practising on a scrap of cloth before tackling
a pattern). There are twelve large (about 6”) mandalas
and twelve small (about 2”) ones, each shown stitched
and as a color diagram which gives the stitches used and DMC
threads. At the back are the iron-on transfers complete with
instructions on how to do this, including how to do this in
other ways. The patterns themselves are so pretty, each one
colorful and stitched in four to ten different colors. At
the beginning is a page showing thumbnail images of all of
them for easy selection, the designs featuring flowers, paisleys,
abstracts and Christmas motifs. Not all are stitched on white
which is good, and there are some ideas as to what to stitch
them onto if you don’t just want to leave them in hoop
frames. The smaller designs can be shown off in the new Dandelyne
frames and worn as jewelry. A delightful book that makes me
eager to start stitching, and one which will appeal to many
levels of embroidery expertise.
If you cannot find a good range of embroidery materials locally
try www.searchpress.com for a list of suppliers.
A UK stockist of Dandelyne mini hoops is www.cloudcraft.co.uk
and even if you aren’t in the UK in the words of this
supplier “We ship all over the lovely world”!