Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Willing Hands
BY Betsy Morgan

Inspirations Studio (distributed in the UK by Search Press)
8 October 2019/ ISBN 9780648287360
How-To Books / Needlecraft

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Organize your sewing kit in style with this book of eight different beautiful etuis. There are also patterns for thirty-six different accessories to put into them, from scissor and thimble cases to needlebooks and thread winders.

As it says on the back there are over ninety cross stitch charts in here, using thirty-six different counted thread combinations. In short, in true Inspirations style this is chock full of the sort of projects that are a) going to be heirloom quality and b) not be for beginners. But as there are lots of books for beginners already on the market it is great to see that there is also something else for the more advanced stitcher. I have never owned or made an etui before and wasn’t sure how they were constructed, but be assured that full instructions are given. This book is laid out in an interesting way, rather like its Japanese counterparts in that all the lush photography and charts are at the front on glossy paper while towards the back more ordinary matte paper is used. Here you can find all the construction instructions and diagrams, which again are aimed at those who have the skills to construct fancy exploding boxes. Think dress pattern style rather than Search Press; trademark (and landmark) style of extensive staged photographs. Back in the glossy section each of the eight etuis has its own chapter which is illustrated with several pages of glorious color photographs, some of which are charts. Choose from one shaped like a toy chest, a twisted helix pouch, many-sided floral box, Elizabethan casket and stitching wallet (my favorites), sampler covered book shaped box inspired by the work of pioneer girls, another shaped one featuring a regal swan and a wallet that opens out. As well as cross stitch there is other embroidery and counted thread stitches, all of which are fully explained in staged photographs in their own section. If all this looks like a lot of work amassing the relevant materials Inspirations also sells kits of all the etuis on its website, although you will either need to live in Australia or be willing to spend out on postage. None of the etuis uses anything exotic or expensive, just counted linen or canvas and threads plus basic hand sewing materials; the wow factor comes from the work put into it and the beautiful designs. One for the keeper shelf.

If you cannot find a good range of embroidery 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 2020