Books on Hand Embroidery Part Three: Traditional and Contemporary Embroidery

Embroidery has been practised by traditional peoples from all over the world for thousands of years to decorate their clothing and homeware. I find its enormous variation, its history, its use of symbolism and its close ties to culture endlessly fascinating and hence, own a number of books on the subject. One of my earliest reference books was:

Embroidery: Traditional Designs, Techniques and Patterns From All Over the World by Mary Gostelow 1977

Mary Gostelow (1959-) is a great authority on the subject and I was really interested to read about her background on: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1979/07/08/mary-gostelow-a-model-embroideress/37013fe4-8415-4730-af40-03a6ce3d8002/?utm_term=.8645b401ae26.

I loved the description in the article of embroidery as ‘the magic carpet that has flown Gostelow around the world and then some’. She has certainly had an interesting life pursuing her interest in embroidery and has written a large number of books on embroidery. See: https://biblio.com.au/mary-gostelow/author/72018 for a list.

She has shared her knowledge in this interesting book with individual chapters on thirteen different regions of the world, with subheadings for individual countries within those regions: Latin America; North America; Scandinavia; Western Europe; Eastern Europe and the Balkans; The Soviet Union; Eastern Mediterranean; Sub-Saharan Africa; North Africa; Western Asia; India; China; and East and South-East Asia. I think the only area missing, apart from Antarctica, is Australia !!!

In each chapter, she describes the religious, geographical and cultural factors that have shaped their embroidery. She discusses the characteristics of local designs, styles and techniques; traditional uses of fabric, yarn and dyes; and universal themes like the tree-of-life, which are interpreted in different ways by the different cultures. The text is supported by beautiful photographs, drawings, charts and diagrams, as well as adaptations of traditional designs for projects with full instructions. It is a very comprehensive book and even though it is now over forty years old, it is still worth owning!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-26Ethnic Embroidery: An Introduction With Special Reference to the Embroidery of China, India, Palestine and Yugoslavia by Margaret Ohms 1989

A slightly more specialised book with a narrower focus on these four areas famed for their embroidery. After defining embroidery and discussing the characteristics of ethnic embroidery, she looks at the embroidery styles and techniques of each area before discussing universal motifs, which appear in all areas: the rose or rosette; the carnation; the Tree of Life; cypress trees; peacocks; and pomegranates.

The rest of the book has a practical emphasis with chapters on stitches and techniques, including: Graphs and line drawings; borders; counted work; spot motifs and embroidered bags. For anyone interested in ethnic embroidery, especially that of China, India, Palestine and Yugoslavia, this book is fascinating.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-28

World Embroidery: 25 Original Projects From Traditional Designs by Caroline Crabtree 1993

Another book on ethnic embroidery, which has a very practical approach. Caroline  presents a variety of projects based on original designs, patterns and motifs with a brief history of cultural influences and detailed patterns and instructions for eight different areas: Australia; North America; Central and South America; West Africa; North Africa and the Middle East; Central Asia; India and Bangladesh; and Thailand.

Projects include: Clothing, bags, curtains, cushions, rugs, footstools, pictures, bed and table linen and box lids.

She explores a large number of different techniques, including cross stitch, appliqué, needlepoint, mirrorwork and surface embroidery. It is an excellent book for showcasing the wide range of different embroidery styles, as well as introducing the reader to more obscure terms like ‘namdha’, ‘bandhani’ and ‘kantha’. You will have to read the book to find out what they are!!!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-27

Embroidered Textiles: A World Guide to Traditional Patterns by Sheila Paine 1990/ 2008

The ultimate reference guide to traditional embroidery!

Sheila Paine (1930-) is another embroidery expert, who has led an amazing life through her research. See: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/4191764/A-life-richly-woven-with-discovery-and-design.html.

She is a world expert on ethnic textiles and tribal societies, especially the lives of tribal women, and has written a number of books on embroidery. See: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/155813.Sheila_Paine.

I love this book! It is so comprehensive and has wonderful photographs! It is divided into four sections titled:

Guide to Identification: Embroidery origins can be identified by regional characteristics: the items embroidered, their cut and fabric; and their decorative materials, stitching, motifs and styles. Sheila examines the embroidery of the Far East (China, Korea, Japan, Indo-China and Oceania); the Indian sub-continent (India and Pakistan); Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan); the Middle East (Iran, Gulf States, Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Turkey); West, Central and East Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Liberia, Chad, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Africa); North Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco); South East Europe (Greece and Greek Islands, Cyprus, the Balkans and  Albania); Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Caucasus); the Baltic States (Poland, Lithuania and Latvia); Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland,Denmark and Iceland); Central Europe (Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic); Western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal); North America (Native American tribes); Central America (Mexico, Guatemala and Panama); and finally, South America (Bolivia and Peru).

The Decorative Power of Cult: Universal designs and motifs and their differing depiction in different cultures. They include: the Great Goddess and her acolytes and associated symbols; Other symbols of fertility; the Tree of Life; the Tree of Knowledge; the Hunt, including notes on horned and antlered animals and shamanism; Birds; and the Sun.

Religion and Its Patterns: Embroideries from cultures practising Taoism, Buddhism; Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

The Magical Source of Protection: Discusses the use of embroidery to protect against evil spirits and includes headwear, breastplates and stomachers, shoulders and sleeves, and the sexual region, as well as edgings, seams, pockets, the neck and the hem. Protective patterns include the triangle, zigzag and rhomb; circles and their derivations, numbers and  the hand and fish and are particularly powerful when repeated or positioned strategically or by adding additional protective materials like tassels, beads, sequins, coins, mirrors and shells. Colour symbolism and the power of red is discussed, as well as key times, when ritual and embroidery play a major part: birth, marriage, burial, funerals, mourning, headhunting, festivities and holy places.

In the back is a dictionary of stitches, a glossary of terms, a bibliography for further reading and a list of museums and embroidery collections, as well as notes on collecting embroidery. This is a fabulous book and essential for serious students of embroidery history and ethnology.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-31Embroidery From Palestine by Shelagh Weir 2006

A much smaller and more specific book, focusing on the beautiful embroidery, appliqué and patchwork practised by rural Arab women in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its origins and influences, cultural context, main types of ornamentation, materials used, different styles and techniques from Galilee, Southern Palestine and Bethlehem, and changes over time are discussed before a detailed appraisal with full colour photographs (general and detailed closeups) of twenty embroidered items, including coats, dresses, jackets and veils. Palestinian embroidery is just so beautiful!BlogEmbBooks3018-07-12 16.57.58Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region: Harpies, Mermaids and Tulips by Sumru Belger Krody 2006

Written by the Associate Curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collection of The Textile Museum to accompany a major exhibition (with the same name in March 2006) of embroidered textiles of the Aegean and Ionian islands and the Epirus region of Greece from the early 17th century to the early 19th century. See: https://museum.gwu.edu/harpies-mermaids-and-tulips-embroidery-greek-islands-and-epirus-region.

The Textile Museum, Washington DC, is a specialised museum focusing on traditional embroidery and was founded by George Hewitt Myer in 1925. This amazing collection contains more than 20 000 textiles and related objects, representing 5000 years and 5 continents, including the cultures of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Indigenous America. It is well worth visiting its website at: https://museum.gwu.edu/textile-museum.

This book catalogues and describes the huge diversity of embroidery from this relatively small area and the uses, distinguishing characteristics and method of production of embroidery styles in each area, as well as examining its political, economic, social/ cultural and foreign influences (Greece, Venice and the Ottoman world).

The book is divided into the different areas: Crete, Cyclades and Northern Dodecanese, Rhodes and the Southern Dodecanese, Skyros  and the Northern Sporades, Epirus, the Ionian islands, and Argyrokastron (Southern Albania) and Chios. Chapters are divided into sections: Function and Form; Method and Motif; and History and Influence.

This is a very comprehensive and beautiful book with fabulous full colour photographs of seventy items produced for the bridal trousseau and used in domestic life: Traditional dresses, skirts, blouses, bedspreads, valances, pillow cases and bed tent curtain panels, complete with detailed close-ups of embroidery stitches and techniques.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-29Bright Flowers: Textiles and Ceramics of Central Asia by Christine Sumner and Guy Petherbridge 2004

Another catalogue, which accompanied a fabulous international loan exhibition of the same name of colourful urban embroideries and glazed ceramics from the state museum collections of Central Asia, which we attended at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney in 2004. See: https://maas.museum/event/bright-flowers-textiles-and-ceramics-of-central-asia/ and https://www.smh.com.au/news/Review/Bright-Flowers-Textiles-and-Ceramics-of-Central-Asia/2005/02/03/1107409979750.html.

This beautiful book introduces the reader to the Silk Road countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, its different peoples and cultures, influences and history, its ancient craft traditions, the role of embroidery and daily lives of women, the symbols and materials used, and the different style and techniques of embroidery and their changes over time.

There are many fabulous colourful photographs of brightly embroidered or ikat-dyed clothing in bold designs (boots, hats, coats, dresses, robes, headdresses and veils), elaborate tribal jewellery and stunning bed linen, prayer mats, mirror bags, fans, horse blankets  and embroidered wall hangings named suzanis after the Farsi word for needle. The latter are chainstitched  with a tambour in handspun, natural dyed silk thread on background handwoven cotton in symbolic designs including the fertility symbols of pomegranates, flowers and moons and jagged points to protect the owner from evil. They are absolutely gorgeous!

There is also a large section on ceramics, the flowers of the kiln – its history, glazing styles, potters and wonderful pots dating from the 9th century. It is certainly a very interesting book!

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Books about Contemporary Embroidery Artists

There are some amazingly talented contemporary embroiderers and the following books showcase their inspiring work .

Annemieke Mein (1944-)

I am starting with a book about an Australian artist, Annemieke Mein (1944-), whose work I have loved for a very long time and which we have seen exhibited in the Gippsland Art Gallery in her hometown of  Sale, Victoria.

The Art of Annemieke Mein: Wildlife Artist in Textiles by Annemieke Mein 1992

A keen environmentalist and lover of nature, Annemieke embroiders beautiful artwork based on her local flora and fauna: Coastal banksia, eucalypts, wattles and pittosporum and birds (white-faced heron, gulls, silvereyes, fantails, blue wrens and fledglings in nests), frogs, reptiles (Eastern water dragon), marine creatures (sea urchins, barnacles, mussels and kelp) and a wide variety of insects (dragonflies, grasshoppers, lacewings, beetles, wasps, mayflies, sawflies, butterflies and moths, and caterpillars and cocoons).

Her work is naturalistic, three-dimensional and highly textural and she uses fabric painting and dyeing; appliqué, quilting and trapunto; pleating, moulding and sculpting, felting, spinning and weaving; plying, stiffening and wiring; and machine and hand embroidery in limitless combinations on silk, wool, fur, cotton and synthetics to create her distinctive sculptures, wall hangings and wearable art.

These works are showcased in the book, along with notes about the flora and fauna depicted, her thoughts on its design, the techniques and materials used, the development of the piece from initial sketch and fabric swatches to the completed artwork and the history of the piece.

I love the way she often mimics natural history illustrations with the inclusion of pencil sketches and outlines in the background; her setting of the creature in its natural environment and the liveliness of the composition and sense of movement; and the 3-D nature of the work, as well as all her different textures, which make you want to touch her work, and her muted natural colour palette. She is an incredibly talented artist, who also produces bas-relief bronze sculptures as well!

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You can see more of her work on her website at: http://www.annemiekemein.net.au/contents.htm. In particular, check out her slideshow on: http://www.annemiekemein.net.au/Video.htm. Click on the purple highlighted link for Superb Blue Wrens.

Jane Hall    http://clothofnature.com/

Jane is the British equivalent of Annemieke Mein, both in her natural subject matter (British flora and fauna) and the three-dimensionality of her work.

The Art and Embroidery of Jane Hall: Reflections of Nature 2007

This is a beautiful and very inspiring book. Jane loves to work with silk in its natural undyed state, then mixes and merges dyes, which she paints onto the fabric in a loose painterly style, often crumpling the fabric as she works.

In her first chapter, she discusses the materials she uses: the fabrics, needles and threads, wires , frames, found objects like beach combings, semi-precious stones, seeds, dried flowers, lichens, insects and feathers, which she keeps in old printers’ trays; and artistic tools used in fieldwork (camera, sketching pencils and sketchpad) and her studio (drawing boards, water colour pencils). She also discusses her main subjects: Butterflies; Insects (Dragonflies, Lacewings, Bumble Bees, Ladybirds and Spiders); Flowers and Leaves; and Figures and Fish, with brief notes on their depiction and construction.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-34

However, the majority of the book is devoted to a detailed discussion of her artworks: their inspiration and conception and their articulation and development, with closeup photographs of particular techniques or points of interest in the particular work. These artworks include:

Cloth of Bark: Bark, Lichen, Nests and Moths;

Snowdrop Illumination: Snowdrops, Borders; Lacewings, Beetles and Butterflies;

Clematis Reflection: Bine and Butterflies;

Sea Pink: Background; Flowers; and  Frame;

Falling Leaves: Leaves and Butterflies;

Sunshine: Butterflies and Background;

Leaf Fall: Leaves and Fish;

Hope: Angel; Feathers; Lacewings; and Background;

Asrai: Mermaid and Background;

Autumn Reflection: Umbels and Leaves; Background;  and Butterflies;

Through the Seasons: Umbels and Leaves; Foliage; Beetles; Moths; Lacewings; Cranefly and Cobwebs;

Daisies: Daisies; Butterflies; and Daisy Chain;

Winter Reflections: Background; Frame; and Angel;

Dragonfly Dance: Stream, Dragonfly; Forget-me-nots; and Moths;

Sunlight: Aconites and Butterflies;

Day Spring: Anemones; Stitchwort; Red Campion; Herb Robert; Speedwell and Butterflies.

Her work is so detailed and exquisite and is a celebration of nature and a wonderful source of inspiration, rather than a detailed instruction guide.

Helen M  Stevens (1956-)     http://www.helenmstevens.info/

Helen is another very well-known British embroiderer, who has written many books and does beautiful work, though it is more two-dimensional and in this respect, more traditional than the previous two contemporary embroiderers.

The Embroiderer’s Countryside 1992

This book, and consequently her artwork, is divided into the different aspects of the countryside: Spring Hedgerow; the Woodland Floor; Summer Meadows; the River Bank; Autumn Leaves; The Vanishing Heath; and Winter Evenings. In each section, she discusses their main features, with colour plates of her artworks and notes to illustrate her rendering of each feature.

She imparts her knowledge generously in a chatty conversational style and gives the reader plenty of food for thought. The appendix covers the practicalities: Lighting; Frames and Hoops; Materials and Threads; Transferring Designs; and Mounting and Framing the Finished Work.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-36

Her love of the British countryside and all its inhabitants is obvious in her lovely depictions of trees and flowers; churches and houses; birds and insects and very cute field mice, hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits and weasels. I particularly liked the dramatic contrast of the bright silk and metallic threads against a black plain background.

Helen M Steven’s World of Embroidery 2002/2007

This next book is presented in a similar format, but with a larger scope with chapters titled: Sea Fever; Europa; The Sands of Time; New Worlds; City Lights; The High Country; and Xanadu. Like the previous book, inspiration comes from Nature, but also  travel, history, literature and mythology, and the imagination. It has allowed her to explore all her passions and show the limitless font of inspiration for embroiderers and artists.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-35Again, the appendices include:

Basic Techniques: Shadow Lining and Voiding; Featherwork; Embroidery Stitches; Floating Embroidery; Etching; Dotting and Dashing; Miniaturizing; and

The Practicalities: Identical to the previous book, but with extra notes on Twisting Floss Silk; Using Blending Filaments; and Working Large Canvases.

Ellen Anne Eddy  http://ellenanneeddy.blogspot.com.au/

Ellen hails from the United States and also loves her natural world, but she uses the sewing machine to produce her embroidered artworks. Her style is quite bold and modern and very colourful.

Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy  1997/2005

While the previous artists used their artwork to illustrate particular techniques or points of interest, Ellen presents her artworks straight up at the beginning of the book, followed by technical information on:

Materials: Cottons; Sheers; Stabilizers and Battings;

Threads: Embroidery threads; Metallic threads; Thick threads; Novelty Yarns; and Utility Threads;

Tools: Sewing Machines; Maintenance; Needles; Darning Feet; and Basting Guns;

Designing in Colour: Colour Theory; and Hand-Dyeing Fabric;

Background Fabric: Pieced Backgrounds; Thread Effects; Stippling; Outlines and Contrast; and Shading Appliqués;

Drawing and Design: Design Plan; and Copyright Laws;

Machine Embroidery: Threads; Stitches; Controlling Distortion; Embroidered Appliqués; Three-Dimensional Appliqués and Machine-made Lace;

Making Sheer Magic: Cutaway Appliqué; Fused Appliqué; and Encased Edges;

Applying Embroidered Appliqués;

Stitching in Free-Motion: Contour Drawing; Stippling; and Signatures;

Embellishing the Quilt Top: Stitched Details; and Machine Beading;

Building the Perfect Quilt Sandwich and Quilting with Free-Motion Techniques; and Rehabilitating Troubled Quilts: Steaming; Blocking; Getting Even; Fixing Wavy Quilts; Gathering into the Binding; Rebacking; and Adding Rod Pockets.

There is so much information in this book and I like its organized presentation. It is a terrific book, especially if like me, you are new to machine embroidery!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-37

In my final post on embroidery books next week, I am featuring some terrific pattern books, which I have used many times in my hand embroidery journey!

Books on Hand Embroidery Part Two: Stitch Dictionaries and Specialised Guides

Every  embroiderer needs one or two books, specifically on embroidery stitches, though most of them also discuss materials and other techniques. Here are some suggestions:

Stitches For Embroidery by Heather Joynes 1991

Stitch samplers are a great way to practice technique and the colourful sampler at the beginning of this book showcases the twenty embroidery stitches taught. Here is a photo of one of my children’s beginner samplers.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1897 The use of these stitches and their differing visual effects, according to application and the use of different threads, is then illustrated in portraying lines; different textures (including the depiction of feathers and  resin); the filling of shapes and a variety of subject matter from leaves and foliage; stems, trunks and branches; flowers, trees, sky and clouds, water and architecture. The photo below shows a variety of effects using the same stitch (seed or running stitch), but with different thread combinations and colours.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1883 Stitch combinations and patterns are also discussed in detail, along with hints about getting it all together in a finished design. The photo below also shows the variations in the same pattern, which can be produced with the application of different combinations of thread colour. BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1887 An excellent book for beginner embroiderers.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-12

A-Z of Embroidery Stitches Country Bumpkin Publications 1997

A comprehensive guide to over 66 stitches and their variations, as well as a number of different embroidery techniques including wool and ribbon embroidery, cutwork, shadow work, Bokhara and Roumanian couching , making eyelets, faggotting, laidwork, and needle weaving. There are lots of hints throughout the book on transferring designs; materials and needles; threading needles; threads and hoops; finishing and framing; thread painting and even, left-handed stitching. I liked this book for its presentation, each stitch with its own page of photographed step-by-step diagrams, variations and suggestions for use.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-16Readers’ Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches: Photographs, Diagrams and Instructions For Over 260 Stitches by Jennifer Campbell and Ann-Marie Bakewell 2006

An even more comprehensive coverage in a neat simple compact format. The book is divided into five sections:

Starting To Embroider: the Basics:  Fabrics, threads, needles and hoops and frames; Blocking; Using designs and charts; and basic stitching techniques (fabric preparation, threading a needle, beginning and ending a thread and working comfortably);

Embroidery on Fabric: Surface embroidery (crewel work, cutwork, shadow work, candlewick, metallic threads, quilting and appliqué; raised work and creating a design);  Counted thread work (cross stitch, Assisi work, Blackwork,  drawn thread work, pulled fabric work, and Hardanger embroidery); Beadwork and all the basic embroidery stitches, divided into line, chain, crossed, blanket, feather, isolated, couching, satin, woven, woven filling, insertion, drawn-thread and pulled stitches;

Smocking: Techniques and stitches;

Embroidery on Canvas: Materials, techniques (Florentine work or Bargello, Berlin woolwork,  and Long stitch); and all the basic canvas stitches, again divided into categories: Diagonal stitches, Cross stitches, Star stitches, Straight stitches, Fan stitches, Square stitches, Braid and Knot stitches and Loop stitches; and

Finished Embroidery: Caring (Cleaning, ironing and storing) and display (mounting, framing, lining and hanging).BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1898All stitches are well explained with annotated diagrams and coloured photographs. An excellent dictionary of embroidery stitches for both the beginner and more advanced embroiderer. It is so much fun playing with all the different stitches and colours!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-14

And for the more serious embroidery student:

Encyclopaedia of Embroidery Stitches Including Crewel by Marion Nichols 1974

There are ten basic families of stitches in this book: Straight, Back, Chain, Buttonhole or Blanket, Fly or Feather, Cross, Knots, Composite, Couched or Laid, and Woven. The stitches in each family are further divided into six categories of progressive difficulty, starting with the basic stitch and developing increasingly sophisticated variations. These stages are as follows: Isolated (Basic stitch), Line, Angled, Stacked, Grouped and Combined.

A sampler chart and a summary of the progression of stitches is included at the beginning of each family chapter, followed by individual pages for each stitch and its variations, with  illustrations and step-by-step instructions and notes on rhythm, uses and helpful remarks. A very logical and comprehensive guide!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-18

The Stitches of Creative Embroidery by Jacqueline Enthoven 1987 Revised and Enlarged Edition 1996

A mix between an embroidery guide and a dictionary of stitches, I quite liked the more personal chatty style of this book with its all lovely stitch samplers, historical photographs and gallery of applications. Jacqueline divides her stitches into five groupings: Flat, Looped, Chained, Knotted and Couching and Laid Work. She also has notes on finishing and using embroidery samplers; creating borders; working with geometric designs; working on plain and printed fabrics; embroidering flower shapes; joining and edgings; and suggestions for the use of embroidery on clothes, wall hangings and space dividers, and table cloths and runners and cushions.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-17

More Specialised Embroidery Guides

Mark Making in Textile Art by Helen Parrott

The basic premise behind this book is that embroidery is basically mark making or drawing with a needle and thread instead of a pencil. It covers the journey from inspiration and ideas to marks on paper and in stitch and finally, the completed artwork.

The first few chapters focus on marks- their characteristics (shape and direction, scale,  location and placement, colour, texture and form, origin and purpose, relationship to time, number and variability, and repetition and density); and observation, recording (sketching and photography), collection and storage.

Next, mark making on a range of different papers with pens, pencils and crayons; using resists; monoprinting with finger patterns, textured surfaces and blocks; and framing and presenting works. Below is a photo of my unconventional stitch sampler portraying Blanket and Chain stitches, including Detached Chain and Lazy Daisy stitches.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1889Stitch marks follow with notes on needle and thread selection, hand-stitched marks (running stitch, including radiant and spiral stitch patterns; loop stitch; knots and ties including reef knots and French knots); machine-stitched marks (free-machined marks,single marks, massed stitch marks, all-over stitch marks, continuous lines, dots webs and tufts, layered stitch marks, and working with single or mixed and contrasting colours). My creativity really went wild with my next piece of experimentation!BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1893The final chapters cover sources of inspiration, using a sketchbook, choosing a focus, materials and equipment, threads and fabrics, sampling, building a reference collection,  and finishing work; strategies for living a creative life, including  time and work spaces, health and safety, motivation and breaks, membership of groups and resolving creator’s block; and lists of resources ( materials and equipment), suppliers, organisations and inspiring places to visit in the United Kingdom. BlogFeltBooks2515-06-16 14.41.37

With lots of practical exercises, this book is all about experimentation and exploration and developing your own creative voice and potential. The cushion above is another form of stitch sampler in both the vase and the different flowers!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-19Embroidered Purses: Design and Techniques by Linda Tudor 2004

Embroidery has been a perfect medium to decorate bags and purses for millennia. In fact, as far back as 2400 BC, Assyrians carried medicine in special bags called ‘naruqqu’, one of the facts I learned from reading this interesting book. It starts with an examination of the history of purses, as well as different purses from around the world. Did you know that 17th century sweet purses contained perfumed powders to counteract bad odours and were hung from the belt and secreted in the folds of the skirt, while Chinese men and women also wore incense purses around the neck or waist, no doubt for a similar reason.

The next chapter discusses the role of the purse as a container and the process of purse design- its shape, sources of inspiration, equipment, material, pattern making, colour, decoration and finishing. I loved Emily Jo Gibb’s horse-chestnut purse, Conker, found in the Victoria and Albert Museum. (https://www.emilyjogibbs.co.uk/archive/ and https://www.textileartist.org/emily-jo-gibbs-interview-immediacy-of-textiles/). She too is a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and teaches regularly at West Dean College, United Kingdom.  Quite inspiring, as I have always wanted to design a purse based on the seedpods of Native Frangipani!

The book goes on to examine different types of purses: simple two-sided purses, folded purses, reverse-appliqued silk clutch purses, gusseted purses, drawstring purses and box purses, including patterns and variations and a gallery of photographs.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-20

Finishing techniques, including making bias strips, rouleaux and borders; bound edges; using bondaweb and cutting bonded fabrics; English and Seminole patchwork; lace making; canvaswork; cords, handles and tassels; embellishments with embroidery stitches and beads; and fastenings are all discussed. Finally, there is a list of purse collections around the world, including The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK  (www.vam.ac.uk) and the Museum of Bags and Purses, Tassen, The Netherlands: https://tassenmuseum.nl/en/collection-exhibitions/collection/.

The Art of the Handbag: Crazy Beautiful Bags by Clare Anthony 2013 is a similar book, which I would love to read one day!

Embroidered Garden Flowers 1991 and Embroidery From the Garden 1997 by Diana Lampe

Perfect for craftspeople with a shared love of the garden AND embroidery! Diana Lampe has written six books, however I only own the first and the third. See: http://dianalampe.com.au/ for a list of her embroidery books. She is one of Australia’s most successful non-fiction writers having sold more than 120, 000 copies of her books worldwide. She is also a passionate food writer with some delicious recipes on her website as well! But back to my two books!

Both books follow a similar format and can stand alone on their own merit and be used separately. After initial chapters on materials and equipment, design and proportion, finishing and framing and sewing notes, Diana describes various designs and projects, accompanied by colour photographs and keyed diagrams.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-21Her first book Embroidered Garden Flowers 1991  contains designs for a Traditional Cottage Garden, a Spring Garden, a Spring Garland, embroidered initials, flower samplers and some gift suggestions (lavender sachets, towels, coat hangers, Spring baskets, pin cushions,brooches, jumpers, cushions and handkerchiefs), while Embroidery From the Garden 1997 focuses on South African flowers with designs for a Strelitzia Garden, a Protea Garden, a Garland of South African Flowers, another flower sampler and more projects (table linen, brooch, coat hanger, spectacle case, cushion, pincushion, needle case and mirror).BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-22A large section of her books is devoted to a Flower Glossary, detailing threads, number of strands and stitches and method, with explanatory diagrams on each page. Not only plants are featured. There are also embroidery instructions for gardener’s friends (pussy cat, butterfly, spider and web) and pests (snail), as well as built features in the garden like flagstones, pergolas and terracotta pots.

The flower glossary is followed by a Stitch Glossary, with instructions and diagrams for each type of embroidery stitch. The appendix includes a list of flowers in each garden design, as well as the DMC threads used; and detailed notes on framing.

Finally, three books on 3-D embroidery!

Stumpwork Embroidery: A Collection of Fruits, Flowers and Insects for Contemporary Raised Embroidery by Jane Nicholas 1995

Stumpwork is a style of heavily padded and raised embroidery, practiced from 1650 to 1700 in England, where it was called known raised or embossed work, but now given new life and exposure by Jane Nicholas. She certainly does beautiful work and has made an extensive study of the subject in response to the dearth of comprehensive instruction at the time .

In this definitive guide, she discusses:

Materials and Equipment: Fabric, threads (cotton, silk, synthetic and metallic), needles, hoops and frames, beads and sequins, wire and miscellaneous treasures;

General Instructions: Raised applied fabric or needlepoint shapes; padded needle lace or embroidered shapes; raised detached fabric, needle lace or wire shapes; methods for working leaves and stems; attaching wire to the main background; padding with felt; using paper-backed fusible web; transferring designs to fabric (tracing paper and pencil, carbon paper, basting); and finishing techniques (framing and mounting inside a box lid, in a paperweight, or on a brooch); and

Individual Elements: Making acorns;different types of flowers, leaves, vegetables and fruit/berries; insects: bees, butterflies, crickets, dragonflies, ladybirds, hoverflies and spiders; hedgehogs, owls and snails;

With ideas and detailed instructions for embroidering different designs for a variety of projects from brooches to pictures and mirror frames, as well as a Stitch Glossary of all the embroidery stitches used in the back of the book.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-23

Embroidered Flora and Fauna: Three-Dimensional Textural Embroidery by Lesley Turpin-Dleport and Nikki Delport-Wepener 2008

This lovely book develops 3-D embroidery even further with the depiction of flora and fauna. I really like their style, which I feel is more informal than the previous book. It’s a wonderful book for texture, using lots of different types of threads (stranded cotton, perle cotton, soft or tapestry cotton, flower thread, tapestry wool, crewel wool, crazy wools, yarn, chenille, boucle, round rayon cord, flat knitted rayon ribbon, space-dyed and variegated threads, quilting threads, silk, viscose, linen and metallic) and ribbons (silk, organza, rayon and satin) and techniques (Trapunto, Casal Guidi and corded quilting from the Italian Renaissance; goldwork and stumpwork from the Elizabethan Era; Jacobean crewel work; Victorian ribbon work and tucks and pleats; tassels, fringing and ribbon roses from the 1920s and contemporary hand and machine embroidery, ribbon work and smocking).

Tools and materials are listed in The Sewing Basket, followed by a large section on basic techniques, including photo transfers, fabric preparation, scale and shading, working with textured threads, appliqué, wire work, stumpwork, trapunto quilting, ribbon work, beading, machine stitching and working with felt, net and metallic threads.

There are also some beautiful embroidery designs for application to:

Kitchen and Dining Room: Tablecloths and tray cloths, serviettes and place mats, tea towels and aprons, oven mitts and pot holders, tea cosy and mesh food cover;

Bedroom: Sheet sets and pillow cases, quilts and duvet covers, hangers and tissue box covers;

Bathroom: Bath sheets and towels, laundry and cosmetic bags;

Living Areas: Lampshades and curtains, cushions and throws, pictures and picture frames, and embroidered boxes,book covers,  flower arrangements and fire screens; and

Clothing: Pyjamas, beach gear, jeans and children’s clothes.

They are divided into 12 colour groupings: Oyster, yellow, salmon, pink, red, burgundy, brown, lilac and lavender, blue, indigo, and grey, black and white. Materials, instructions and colour photographs are provided for each embroidery design, with a stitch glossary and design patterns in the back of the book. I particularly loved the Gerberas, the Light Sussex Rooster and the Barred Owlets! It is a really beautiful book!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-24

Three-Dimensional Embroidery: Methods of Construction For the Third Dimension by Janet Edmonds 2005

In this original and specialised book, Janet explores a wide range of construction methods, including coiling with wrapped cords, building with flat pieces, fabric manipulation with tucks and gathers and using heat-reactive or dissolvable fabric to create 3-D forms, including boxes, bags and advanced geometric shapes and freeform embroidery pieces.

After initial chapters on the design brief, research, mulling time, the design process and a wide variety of materials, tools and equipment, different construction methods are discussed, including practice exercises and projects:

Constructing with Flat Pieces: Geometrics; squares and rectangles; gift boxes; triangles; cylinders; and strips and slices and freeform.

Continuous Lengths: Coiling with wrapped cores; and freeform building;

Manipulated Methods:

Fabrics: Gathering, tucks and pleats, darts, stuffed shapes; heated acrylic felt or Tyvek; and knitting and weaving;

Paper and Wire techniques;

Beads;

Soft: Stuffed fabric tubes; and wrapped or rolled fabric;

Hard: Tyvek; clay; plastics; wood; wire; and commercial beads;

Finishing Techniques: Edges and rims; wire armature; wood or card base; wire support; feet; and lids.

Like the first book in this post, it has an experimental bias and is all about exploring new boundaries!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-25

Next week, I will be featuring books about some wonderfully creative and talented contemporary embroiderers, as well as informative books about ethnic embroidery around the world.

Books on Embroidery Part One: General Guides

After years of experimenting with different arts and crafts, I have settled on embroidery as my favoured form of artistic expression, specifically hand embroidery. It is basically a form of drawing with thread and allows for much creative freedom in interpretation of subject matter, as well as a degree of three-dimensionality if desired.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1878 As can be expected, I own many wonderful books on the subject, which I have divided into four groups (and hence posts) from basic embroidery (this post) to more specialised how-to guides and stitch dictionaries (next week); beautiful volumes showcasing the work of other talented embroiderers, as well as those from the past and different cultures (third post on embroidery books); and a plethora of pattern books and designs (last post). Here is another simple example of drawing with thread:BlogEmbBooks2518-07-12 13.26.20 Please note that while some of these books may briefly mention machine embroidery, it is not really my thing, so there are very few books on this subject in this post.

How-To Guides For Hand Embroidery

The Essential Guide To Embroidery Murdoch Books 2002

Written by a number of contributors, this is a good basic introductory guide to the wide range of embroidery techniques and styles from counted techniques (cross stitch, blackwork and canvas work) and openwork (pulled and drawn work, Hardanger and cutwork) to surface stitchery (whitework, shadow work, silk shading, crewel work, free embroidery and machine embroidery) and embellishing the surface (stumpwork, ribbon embroidery, goldwork and beadwork). Here is a photo of my cool colour palette threads.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1868There is also a good introduction with information on needles; sewing machines; embroidery frames; tools; fabrics; threads; embellishments; basic techniques; working from charts and diagrams; making up; sources of inspiration; developing design ideas; exploring colour palettes; and painting fabrics. Below is a photo of more tools of the trade: Pins and needles, scissors, ruler and embroidery hoops of varying sizes.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1872 Each section on the different techniques includes its history, characteristics and different forms; stitches and techniques, including sources of inspiration and helpful hints; and projects based on the specific technique. This is an excellent book for beginners, as well as showing the wide diversity of embroidery styles and applications.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-3Anchor Complete Embroidery Course by Christine Marsh 1998

A very useful practical guide for beginners, starting with a discussion of materials and equipment (needles, fabrics, threads, frames and other equipment); preparing and transferring designs (soluble pen, transfer pencil, dressmaker’s carbon or tacking); working with patterns, charts, and embroidery hoops and frames; starting and finishing; and mounting work, before providing a teaching course of increasing complexity.BlogEmbBooks20%DSCN1874 Beginning with Just Five Stitches (backstitch, French knot, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch and blanket stitch), it progresses from chapters on stems and outlines, knots and dots, and chains and loops through to solid and open fillings, borders and bands; and mix and match (combining techniques, adapting designs and changing materials and colour schemes). This sampler shows the use of chain and running stitch.BlogEmbBooks2518-07-12 13.25.18

Each stitch is well-described with three clear and easy-to-understand  step-by-step diagrams and explanatory text and is complemented by attractive practice projects with creative options. This is an excellent book for the beginner embroiderer!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-4

While there are a huge number of embroidery books written by some very talented artists, these are a few that I have found particularly useful.

Winsome Douglass (1919-2016)

Winsome was a very talented artist and a wonderful teacher, who wrote three books on embroidery and toymaking in the late 1950s, which have all since been reprinted.

Discovering Embroidery  1956/ 2010

This is my embroidery bible ! Not only does she describe and teach all the stitches (basic, more complicated and filling stitches) well, but she has delightful designs and patterns for projects from pincushions, tea cosies, wall pockets, cushions, boxes and cloth trays to bags, belts, caps, and toys like my felt embroidered balls, shown in the photo below.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-112 She has notes on colour schemes and design, designing with cut paper, appliqué and shadow work, needle weaving, quilting and smocking, and finishing (hems, edges, cords, tassels, fringes, handles, fastenings).

BlogEmbBooks2518-07-12 12.08.52

This book is so inspiring, as is her other book in my craft library: Toys for Your Delight 1957/ 1973. I would also love to buy her book: Decorative Stuffed Toys for the Needleworker 1984.

Barbara Snook (1913-1976)

Another favourite embroidery teacher, who wrote a large number of books on embroidery; soft toys and puppets; fancy dress costumes and masks; and children’s clothes and stitching in the 1960s and 1970s through to the 1980s. I own two of her books:

The Creative Art of Embroidery 1972

After an excellent introduction to the history; the different national styles of embroidery (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Roumania and Yugoslavia); tools and equipment, especially threads and fabrics; and a library of basic free embroidery stitches, Barbara discusses lettering, alphabets and monograms; beads and sequins; and designs and finishing touches, as well as other techniques like cutwork, counted thread work, drawn thread work and machine embroidery. Throughout the book are designs and patterns for projects including Christmas decorations , tablecloths and mats, sheet and towel sets, aprons, pictures, bags, spectacle cases and children’s clothing.

BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-5

Learning to Sew 1962, 1985

Aimed at 9 to 12 year-olds, this is a terrific book for teaching children to sew. Part One covers the basic equipment, material and stitches, as well as making seams, hems and bias binding, while Part Two examines pattern and colour, sources of inspiration, and  the development of basic designs. The majority of the book is devoted to Part Three and the provision of working diagrams for a number of projects from aprons and bibs, table cloths and tray mats, tea cosies and oven cloths, towels and cushion covers to cases, pin cushions, bags, toys and children’s clothes. Text is minimal with the tuition provided by wonderful simple sketches and fun designs, which make it a very attractive book for the beginner embroiderer as well!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-6

Like Winsome, she also wrote books on soft toy making, which I would dearly love to own one day:  Bird Beasts and Insects 1974  and  Creative Soft Toys 1985.

Another excellent book for teaching children to embroider is :

Simple Embroidery by Marilyn Green 2003

This spiral-bound book, complete with threads, needles and an embroidery hoop, teaches 11 basic embroidery stitches: Straight stitch; couching stitch; whip stitch; cross stitch; satin stitch; stem stitch; back stitch; split stitch; chain stitch; lazy daisy stitch; and French knots. It provides instructions on materials and tools; getting started; and transferring designs, as well as including iron-on transfers and lots of inspiring ideas and examples of work using these stitches. It is colourful and fun and very child-centred!BlogEmbBooks25%DSCN1851Jan Messent (1936-)

Jan is a very talented embroidery artist and textile teacher and also writes historical romances under the pseudonym, Juliet Landon. I love her style and own three of her books, the others being listed on her website: https://www.janmessent.co.uk/janmessent.

The Embroiderer’s Workshop 1988

When this book was first published, it was not always possible to attend embroidery courses due to distance or time constraints, though today’s internet has come a long way in rectifying this problem. This useful book acts as an embroidery primer, as well as encouraging lots of experimentation through a series of practical exercises. It examines pattern, colour, drawing,  the development of design and themes in great detail, as well as discussing fabrics, stitches, and display and presentation.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-8

Embroidery and Animals 1982

This book features one of my favourite subject matters: animals and nature. Chapters look at the historical depiction of animals in embroidery; sources of design (nature, books, museums and natural history museums) and collecting materials; types of design (realistic or naturalistic, stylised or decorative, symbolic, abstract); pattern and colour; and ways of presenting a design, before focusing in on the animals (and their associations) themselves:

Fantastic beasts, heraldry and Christian symbolism;

Tiny creatures (butterflies and moths, bees and wasps, beetles, worms and snails);

Underwater life (microscopic organisms, sea anemones and sea urchins, jellyfish, starfish, shells and fish );

Amphibians and reptiles (frogs and toads; lizards, geckos and chameleons, snakes, crocodiles and turtles, tortoises and terrapins);

Birds (waterbirds, tall birds, domestic fowl, owls and parrots); and

Mammals (wild animals, domestic animals, ceremonial animals, African animals, circus animals).

Each chapter includes wonderful illustrations for design, cross stitch interpretations and examples of other artists’ work, as well as suggestions for  the development of themes and the use of the design in projects. A very inspiring book!BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-9

I would also love to own her books titled: Design Sources For Symbolism; Design Sources for Pattern; and finally, Jan Messent’s World of Embroidery 1996.

Thanks to all the previous artists, embroidery is now considered to be a very valid contemporary art form. The next two books are written by contemporary embroidery artists and teachers to help embroidery students achieve their creative potential.

The Art of Embroidery by Julia Barton 1990

After a brief introduction to the history of embroidery, materials and equipment are examined in great detail: papers, pencils, conté and pastels, paints and brushes, fabric paints and dyes, fabrics, threads, needles, fabric markers and frames. Design sources (nature and museum studies) and approaches are examined next with discussions on landscapes, enlarging designs, textures and colour, followed by chapters on drawing and painting and transferring the design to fabric (fabric paints and markers; transfer paints and crayons; and design transfer methods (prick and pounce; and tacking through tissue).BlogEmbBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-67

Stitchery forms a major part of the book with exercises and projects based on linear, textural, and pattern stitches. Other techniques are also examined: Cut paper designs, quilting, appliqué, machine embroidery and the use of embroidery for jewellery and ornamentation. In the back is practical information on using a embroidery frame or hoop; damp-stretching; mounting and framing; and making a cushion cover.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-10

Jan Beaney (1938-) and Jean Littlejohn

A very creative, productive and influential partnership, known as Double Trouble (formed 1997)  (http://doubletrouble-ent.com/), both women are highly respected and internationally known textile artists and teachers, who have been members of the 62 Group of Textile Artists for many years (Jean since 1963).

See: http://www.62group.org.uk/artist/jan-beaney/  and http://www.62group.org.uk/artist/jean-littlejohn/.

Between them, they have produced  over 27 books and 7 DVDs. See a taster at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGY_FjMoQEM  (In Action) and https://vimeo.com/49293912 ( In Stitches).

It is also worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZdfqRXBkZY and visiting https://www.textileartist.org/jan-beaney-and-jean-littlejohn-interview/.

The Art of the Needle: Designing in Fabric and Thread by Jan Beaney 1988

A very comprehensive guide to developing a design from its initial inception (observation, drawing, repeat patterns and border designs, circular patterns, scale and proportion, designing within shapes or out of context, themes, texture and colour) through to its completion with chapters on fabric paints (silk paints and gutta, permanent fabric paints, masking techniques and  transfer fabric paints) and embroidery techniques (transferring design to fabric, applique, darning, machine embroidery, openwork on water-soluble fabrics, patchwork, quilting and making an embroidered panel) and stitches. It again is a very inspiring book with beautiful colourful photographs showing the huge potential of the medium.BlogEmbBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-11

Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn have also written a book on Constance Howard, an embroiderer born in 1910, whose work I also love and who also taught and who wrote a number of books on embroidery (Conversations with Constance Howard 2000).

Another old book I would love to read is: Contemporary Embroidery Design by Joan Nicholson 1954/ 2011.  Joan was a leading figure in the revival of stitch crafts from the 1950s to the 1970s, inspiring many future embroiderers, including her daughter Nancy, a contemporary embroidery artist  and teacher with a strong online presence (https://nancynicholson.co.uk/), who has written her own book Modern Folk Embroidery 2016. I recently bought a tin decorated in Nancy’s distinctive style!BlogEmbBooks3018-07-12 12.08.59For more about the book, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEuMKlK1fXc   and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZxsJcvJOuQ.

And to see more of Nancy’s work, it is also well worth visiting: https://fishinkblog.com/2014/04/18/nancy-nicholson-embroidering-nature/.

The internet is a great source for embroidery tutorials and inspiration, including Pinterest, the websites of embroidery guilds, courses and other embroidery artists, as well as being able to access very old needlework books on sites like:  https://archive.org ;  http://openlibrary.org ; https://library.si.edu/ and http://www.gutenberg.org.

Some old books worth chasing up are:

Album de Broderies au Point de Croix by Therese de Dillmont 1890 (https://archive.org/details/albumdebroderies01dill or https://library.si.edu/digital-library/book/albumdebroderies02dill

An Embroidery Pattern Book by Mary E Waring 1917 (https://archive.org/details/embroiderypatter00wari or https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25215987M/An_embroidery_pattern_book) and

Art in Needlework: A Book about Embroidery by Lewis F. Day and

Mary Buckle 1900. Reprinted 2018 (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/28269)

Next week, I will be discussing a selection of stitch dictionaries, as well as some more specialised embroidery guides.

 

Fabulous Felting Books

I adore felt, not just for its tactile and visual appeal, but also its versatility, its organic nature and its history and romance. In fact, when I was studying a Diploma of Textile Art at Box Hill TAFE, I based my main exhibition piece (postcard format) on the reverse appliqué technique of the Kyrgyz shyrdaks of Central Asia, learning so much about felt and its history in the process!  Here are two photos of my work from that exhibition: BlogFeltBooks50%nov 2010 295BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.41.25I first saw these beautiful appliquéd felt rugs, which are traditionally used to furnish nomadic yurts, at Ada’s Place in Millthorpe, New South Wales, and fell in love with their bright bold colours and symbolism. Here is a photo of Ada (taller) and her sister Kathleen in front of one of their shyrdaks.BlogFeltBooks50%midmay 299Unfortunately, the gallery closed in 2013: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/1804338/ada-closes-iconic-millthorpe-gallery/.

You can see more examples of this beautiful craft at:

http://www.feltrugs.co.uk/

and   http://kyrgyzfelt.blogspot.com.au/.

Felt can also be used to make clothing, hats, bags, cushions, flowers and toys and you will see some of my felt creations throughout this post. I have also attended a number of workshops, which I will also describe along the way, but first the books!

 

History

Nomadic Felts by Stephanie Bunn 2010

https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/dept-seminar-power-felted-cloth-through-time-and-space

I came across anthropologist Stephanie Bunn’s name a number of times during my internet research for my exhibition piece, so this book was a must! In it, she describes the ancient history of felt, its traditional production and use throughout the world and the cultural beliefs and symbolism behind the patterns.

Felt has existed for thousands of years and felt fragments have been found in grave chambers in Çatal Höyük, dated 6500 BC; felted hoods and socks on the Urumchi mummies of the Tarim Basin, China, dated 2000 BC; and appliquéd felt wall hangings, coffin linings, clothing, saddle cloths, blankets and bridles and swan pillows stuffed with deer hair, found in the grave chambers of the Pazyryk Kurgans of the Altai Highlands, Siberia, and dated from 600 to 200 BC.

It has played a central role in the lives of nomads from Central Asia, Mongolia and parts of the Middle East, the lightweight, portable and highly insulating wool being used for tent walls (yurts), floor coverings, decorations, bags and clothing.

After the Medieval period, felt became a well-established tradition in Europe with felt boat caulking and other felt objects from the 9th to 13th Century found at Haithabu on the German-Danish border; British felt hats from the 15th Century; and Scandinavian gloves and socks and Russian valenki (felt boots) from the early 20th Century.

Traditional feltmaking is still practiced by Central Asian and Mongolian nomads, as well as practitioners in Turkey and Iran, while experimentation by contemporary artists is producing some wonderful garments and toys.

This fascinating book looks at its extensive history, the science behind felt and the wide variety of feltmaking techniques and traditions. She particularly focuses on the Turkic and Mongolian feltmakers of Krygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekitan, Turkmenistan and Xinjiang, as well as Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan and South-East Asia, and the closely related styles from Afghanistan and the Caucasus: their influences and their belief systems and symbolism. With fabulous photos and illustrations supporting the text, it is such an interesting book, not only for feltmakers and textile enthusiasts, but anyone interested in archaeology and history, anthropology, different cultures and the Silk Road!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-57

Production

If you only have room for one felting book in your library, the following book is an excellent reference guide.

Uniquely Felt: Dozens of Techniques From Fulling and Shaping to Nuno and Cobweb. Includes 46 Creative Projects by Christine White 2007

This highly comprehensive book covers all aspects of felt making.

The introduction defines the different kinds of felt (fulled knitting, wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting, cobweb felting, carved felt and yarn felt); history; suitable fibres; the chemistry behind felting; and the whole process from fleece to felt. It also includes instructions for a simple needle felted ball and a Featured Artist page, an inspiring inclusion, which is found at the end of successive chapters.

The next chapter covers tools: wool; soap; screens; rolling mats; plastic resists; scales; water; templates; and felting machines, as well as notes on designing a studio and  working posture.

Chapter Three introduces beginner projects like making cords (photo below) and spikes; loops and beads; jellyroll trivets; buttons and balls.

Chapter Four: Learning the Basics covers working with roving; making prefelts; wet felting; calculating shrinkage and a Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as projects like place mats and table runners, blankets and cushions.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-92Chapter Five really examines the raw material, wool: where to find it, how to test its feasibility and materiality; making felting samples and the types of fibres and sheep wool, including a swatch gallery. Projects include math mats, place mats, carved coasters, upholstery yardage and a boot tray.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-85After mastering simple 2-D items, developing felters will be keen to try out making 3-D seamless felt, which is the main topic of Chapter Six. Two flat halves are separated by a resist, the fibres at the side being joined in a seam during the felting process. The different types of resists (open/closed) and materials used, seam considerations and shrinkage rate and template size are discussed in detail.

Pillow covers, book covers, slippers and boots, vessels, sculptural objects (like the photo above and below made using an old butter cooler as a resist) and a myriad of creative bags can be produced in this way, not to mention hats, the subject of Chapter Seven, from berets and head-hugging cloches to hoods, wide-brimmed hats, fedoras and some very artistic and creative examples. Hat sizes; making hat templates; using hat blocks, and stiffeners and embellishments are all discussed. Anita Larkin is a sculptor, who uses felt to create some amazing 3-D vessels and objects. https://timelesstextiles.com.au/artist/anita-larkin-2/.

late sept 047Felt can also be very light and airy with the inclusion of silk (Chapter Eight: Nuno Felting) and holes (Chapter Nine: Cobweb Felting). Both chapters include definitions and detailed notes on techniques, as well as projects like scarves and shawls, vests, hats, cushions  and curtains.

My first experience with felting was helping a friend make a raw sheep wool floor rug, using an old bamboo blind as a roller and Chapter Ten on larger projects would have been very useful, though the emphasis of this chapter is really more on making felt garments: tops and vests, tunics and dresses, and skirts, as well as including  notes on garment patterns and templates. Jorie Johnson (http://www.joirae.com/)  makes some beautiful contemporary clothing and is the featured artist in this chapter. Another wonderful felt garment designer is Norwegian artist, May Jacobsen Hvistendahl, whose work can be seen at:  http://www.filtmaker.no/eng/index.html.

It is really fun making felt with others, as it can be a time-consuming process and it’s a great way to bond not only the fibres, but also community and friendship ties, as discussed in the final Chapter Eleven, along with teaching feltmaking, community projects like rugs, felting weird and wonderful creations for theatre, and framing and finishing felt. There is an extensive glossary and list of artists, resources and relevant websites in the back. An excellent book!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-60

It is also well worth joining a felting group like Victorian Feltmakers http://www.vicfelt.org/ or the Feltmakers of WA: http://www.feltwest.org.au and attending a few workshops to master the practical aspects. I belonged to the Victorian Feltmakers and some of the memorable workshops I attended were:

Phyllis Hoffman: Felting a Scarf July 2010 / Felting a Hat August 2010.

BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 051Great fun, as I did these workshops with some of my fellow students from my textile course at Box Hill TAFE. BlogFeltBooks50%late july 2010 029 I was so impressed with my friend Heather’s hat!BlogFeltBooks50%july also 002 Phyllis is a great teacher too! You can find out more about her at: https://www.stonehousegallery.com/phyllis-hoffman.html.

Elizabeth Armstrong: Felt Art Dolls August 2010

Like me, Elizabeth LOVES colour (see her fabrics below) and I absolutely adored this inspirational workshop!BlogFeltBooks50lt 014BlogFeltBooks50lt 017She is so enthusiastic and fun! Here she is behind our workshop dolls. The grey bird dolls are samples of her work.

 

On the first day, we made our material using prefelts, roving, yarn and even chiffon ribbon, then the next day, we had to take a deep breath and cut into our beautiful precious homemade fabric, then assemble and embellish the dolls with embroidery, appliquéd felt pieces and hand-painted faces. Below are photos of my fabric pre- and post-felting.BlogFeltBooks50lt 015BlogFeltBooks50lt 016 I loved my earth goddess Gaia, even though I forgot to sew in a base!BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.40.37BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-98 Elizabeth’s website is: http://elizabeth-armstrong.blogspot.com.au/.

Sue Pearl: Crazy Felt Critters  February 2012

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Sue Pearl gave a workshop at the Victorian Felters and  we were very lucky to be able to attend. My strange alien creature left a bit to be desired, but gave me a feel for creating 3-D toys.BlogFeltBooks50%IMG_9937

Sue’s website is at: http://www.feltbetter.com/. But now,  back to the books…!!!

Felt To Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists by Sheila Smith 2006

Another excellent guide covering similar topics to the previous book: Hand-rolled felting; making prefelts; nuno felting, 3-D hollow forms; cobweb felting and needle-punched felting, but also has a big section on design with detailed discussions on colour, texture, line, shape and pattern.

There are instructions on colour mixing; using acid dyes; rainbow dyeing; making fibre paper; shibori; low-relief designs; using Markal Paintstiks; stencilling and printing. Projects include book covers; bags; cords, toggles and balls.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-58

Felted Bags, Boots and Other Things by Cendrine Armani 2007

Making bags and boots are so well explained in this book with step-by-step notes, supported by excellent colour photographs of all the tools and each stage of each process: Flat felting; felting with a template; mixing colours; cutout motifs and insets; lining bags; inserting magnetised clasps and eyelets, embroidery; and making balls and pendants, and that’s just the first section!

The rest of the book is devoted to 56 bright and colourful projects from pencil cases, pouches and purses to jewellery, felt flowers, slippers and bags. It is certainly a very inspiring and practical book and makes you want to leap out there and start felting!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-69

Felted objects can also be needlefelted using a dry felting process or stitched from flat felt pieces and/ or embroidered, as showcased in the next four books. The first book describes dry felting, which uses felting needles to work wool roving into shapes, while the other three books create flowers and toys from patterns cut out of sheets of wool felt, stitched together and embroidered.BlogFeltBooks2017-08-28 18.04.28Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give and Hug by Jenn Docherty 2008

While I haven’t done much needle felting (it’s a bit too time consuming for me!), it is good to have a book, which describes all the tools and techniques, as well as a number of small projects from flower pins and gumdrop rings to belts, coasters, book covers, purses and toys like the cute ones on the cover. A good book for crafters, who love felt, but don’t want to work with water!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-64

Felt Fresh Flowers: 17 Stunning Flowers to Sew and Display by Lynne Farris 2007

A very useful book for the middle of severe Winter, when the garden is fast asleep and nothing much is happening in the way of blooms! We are very lucky here in Australia in that many of our native plants flower in the Winter and our milder warmer climate still allows for the blooming of camellias, violets and Winter honeysuckle. We still get heavy frosts in our garden though, so I am still attracted to the bright colours of the felted flowers in this book, though I am more likely to use them to embellish bags and hats!

Basic tools, materials and techniques are covered before detailed instructions for a range of blooms from African violets, gerberas, geraniums and daffodils to lilies, roses, iris and sunflowers. I particularly liked the tulips, nasturtiums, magnolias and tropical anthuriums!

BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-62

Felties: How To Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends by Nelly Pailloux 2009

A sweet little book on making felt toys. Starting with brief notes on tools, templates, stuffing, sewing and embroidery, it contains patterns for some very cute and obscure creations from the sweet little Babushka Doll, the Mushroom Girl, Sleepy Fox and Pensive Rabbit to the Pirate Mouse, Hoodie Wolf, Retro Alien and Sun-Loving Rat!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-63

Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor 2003

Salley Mavor (https://weefolkstudio.com/) is well-known for her imaginative fairy worlds and creative appliquéd and embroidered felt purses, bags and brooches.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-61

I made my daughter a felt bird purse using one of her patterns.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-04 09.49.18 I also love the appliquéd felt work of artist Renee Harris. See:   http://www.reneeharris.net/Pages/GalleriesMenu.html.

Here are some photos of my felt appliqué work, which you will no doubt recognise from previous posts: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFeltBooks2517-12-06 08.18.25Steiner education is big on felt for all the same reasons that I love it. It’s a natural organic material, has wonderful colours and texture, is easily worked by children and makes imaginative and creative toys! I recently visited their shop, Winterwood Toys, in Warranwood, Victoria, to check out their beautiful felts.BlogFeltBooks2518-03-19 11.39.05

It is always a wonderful and inspiring experience, as is a digital visit to their website: https://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/!

BlogFeltBooks2518-03-23 17.16.40They stock wet felting supplies and a huge colour range of hand-dyed and commercially dyed 100 percent pure wool felts (photo above), as well as toys, patterns and kits and books, many of which hail from Germany, the birthplace of Steiner education, as well as the origin of some wonderful felt designers and creations like the toys and Christmas decorations sent to us by our daughter Jen, who has been teaching in Germany for two years.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.41.16Here are three felt books, which I have bought from Steiner shops over the years.

Creative Felt: Felting and Making More Toys and Gifts by Angelika Wolk-Gerche 2007/2009

Another good basic guide to felting, but with an emphasis on felting with children and imaginative play, a key tent of Steiner education.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-59 The history of felting, different fibre types, setting up the workplace, preparing the wool, natural dyeing, the basic felting process, creative possibilities (mixing colour, collages and felt pictures, modelling and embroidery) and felting with children are all topics covered in the first section of the book, followed by lots of suggestions for felt projects: Hats and jewellery; slippers and hot water bottle covers; felt envelopes and gift wrap; book covers and treasure pouches; juggling balls; dolls and accessories; toy animals and puppets; and Easter rabbits, seasonal toys and dioramas and Christmas decorations.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-112Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys by Petra Berger 1994/2001  

More Steiner toys and child-oriented projects are included in this book.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-67 They include wooden and felt gnomes, angels, flower children, fairies and dolls, jesters, finger puppets, ducks, butterfly mobiles, snails, dogs and cats, horses, mice and balls, as well as felt pictures and books, jewellery, bookmarks, boxes, egg cosies, purses and cases. Here are some egg cosies and felt toys, made by my children when they were young, as well as some finger puppets.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.35.35BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.34.43BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-79I love making felt toys and would not be without the next book, which I have used to make camels and pigs for my daughters!

Sew Soft Toys : Using Natural Fibres by Karin Neuschütz 1996/2007

After a brief discussion of sewing with natural fibres, stuffing materials, and tips for sewing and stuffing toys, it gets straight into instructions for the toys themselves: Dogs and cats; mice and rabbits, farmyard animals, marine animals, African animals, and bears, foxes and weasels.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-65 They are lovely patterns with excellent clear instructions and illustrations and the toy animals are just so cute! Below are photos of Jen’s camel and Caro’s piglet, which I embroidered as well!:

BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 012 BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 014I could easily make every animal in this book! And perhaps over the years I will, gradually recreating my husband’s old family Christmases!BlogFeltBooks2515-10-13 15.06.45Over the years, I have also made embroidered birds and fruit, Christmas angels and dear little felt mice, as seen in the photos below.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-22 08.55.47BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.34.34BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.31.53BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 046BlogFeltBooks3015-04-22 08.56.18 - CopyAK Traditions (https://aktraditions.com/pages/about-us) in Prahan, Melbourne, Victoria, is another source of wonderful Central Asian felt toys, some of them featured in the photos below:BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.41BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.19And finally, some of my favourite books for felting inspiration! These books are wonderful and showcase the imaginative work of two contemporary European feltmakers, as well as showing the enormous creative possibilities afforded by felt!

Filz Spiel: The Felted Play by Annette Quentin-Stoll 2010

Annette is a German artist (born 1978), who was introduced to felt in Finland, and she produces the most amazing sculptured hats, bags, costumes, vessels, games, toys and puppets, based on cones and spheres, concertina folds and pleats, elastic structures and even the incorporation of marbles.BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-70 I just loved her Rainbow Worm, her Dragon and Elephants, her mouse finger puppets, snail and star rings, animal bags and spiky swim hats and seed pod vessels. She has also written three other felt books: Filz Ornament (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzornament/); Filz Experiment (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzexperiment/) and Filz Geschichten (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzgeschichten/).

Gentle Threads: Felts of Judit Pócs

Judit Pócs (born 1976) is a Hungarian artist, whose work I simply adore!  She dyes the raw wool before felting and like the previous artist has a fabulous sense of colour and fun!BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-73 She too makes weird and wonderful sculptured hats, exotic colourful bags and fabulous toys, all featured in this book, as well as in the gallery on her website: http://pocsjuditstudio.hu/gallery2/.

I also own her inspiring video:

Video: On Gentle Threads About Feltmaking by Judit Pócs and István Rittgasser 2007.

It is a wonderful accompaniment to the book and is spoken in Hungarian and English.BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-72 In it, Judit generously demonstrates the making of a rug, based on the felt origin myth of Noah’s Ark, as well as a scarf, a bag, two of her amazing sculptural hats and a wonderful stylised crested lizard. She makes the magical process of felting all look so easy, even though her work is incredible skilful! There are also delightfully quirky animations and the catchy music of Krulik Zoltán, the founder and leader of Hungarian ethnomusic band Makám (www.makam.hu).

To view stills from  the film, see: http://www.filmkultura.hu/regi/2008/articles/films/szelidszalakon.en.html.

I  will finish with a gallery of my felt cushions, which you will recognise from previous posts.BlogFeltBooks2016-08-22 14.53.46BlogFeltBooks2017-03-28 14.02.24BlogFeltBooks2518-04-25 12.07.18BlogFeltBooks2016-11-15 12.55.50BlogFeltBooks2016-02-23 13.13.36

 

Books For Winter: Crochet Books

A short post this time as I am not really a crocheter, though I still do own a few reference guides for those odd times I feel inclined! The basic technique is so simple really and requires so few tools and yet stunning effects can be achieved, like the beautiful super-fine scarves designed by Sophie Digard. See: https://www.dncinternational.com.au/sophie-digard and https://www.lilypond.net.au/collections/frontpage.

I have bought a tiny crochet hook and crochet cotton to try and make something like her amazing creations, but have yet to master the basics, so this first book is very useful for a beginner like me!BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-19 09.20.45Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs To Wear by Jane Davis 2001

As with all good craft books, it starts with the basics:

Tools and Supplies: From the simple hook in a variety of sizes, stitch markers and tapestry needles to an enormous variety of wonderful yarns of different types, sizes and textures;BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.04.14Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations; Gauge; Crochet Hook Size; and US and European equivalents. It can all be a bit confusing to the beginner, as terminology varies between the US and Europe. This is an American book, the basic stitches listed below being the American forms, so I have put their European equivalents in brackets.

Basic Stitches: Holding the yarn and hook; Making a slip knot and chain; Slip stitch (Single Crochet); Single Crochet (Double Crochet); Half Double Crochet (Half Treble Crochet); Double Crochet (Treble Crochet); Half Triple Crochet; and Triple Crochet (Double Treble);

Basic Techniques:  Crocheting in rows of stitches; Chain space; Joining into a ring or at the end of a round; Changing colours; and Variations and Advanced Stitches. I made a knitting/ crochet roll for all her hooks and needles for my daughter, who is a crocheter!BlogCrochetBooks2017-09-07 13.26.49The remainder of the book is devoted to projects, so the techniques can be learnt and mastered, from evening bags, granny squares and edgings to scarves, mittens and hats and larger vests and tank tops.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.01In the back is a Stitch and Pattern Symbol Library, showing the picture symbols, which often accompany written instructions. While I am sure they are probably very straight-forward and easy, I have yet to master these!BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.30

The Harmony Guides:

Volume Six: 300 Crochet Stitches 1986/ 1998

Volume Seven:  220 More Crochet Stitches 1992/ 1998

While I do not own any of their knitting guides (Volumes One to Five), I do possess the last two volumes, which are both devoted to crochet. Published by Collins & Brown in London, they use the European terminology and abbreviations: Chain stitch (ch); Slip stitch (sl st); Double Crochet (dc); Half Treble (htr); Treble (tr); and Double Treble (dtr).

Volume Six covers all the basic stitches, as well as lace patterns; motifs; filet; clusters; shells; textured stitches; spikes, stars and relief stitches; puff stitches; knobbles and bobbles; loops; openwork and lace patterns; filet crochet; motifs, edgings and trimmings and an introduction to Tunisian crochet, while Volume Seven includes all-over patterns; more edgings and trimmings and motifs; and Irish style and Tunisian crochet.

BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.54

In both books, the Introduction covers:

Basic Stitches;

Making Crochet Fabric: Working in rows; Joining in new yarns; Fastening off; Changing colour; Working in rounds; and Joining motifs;

Stitch variations: Groups or shells; Clusters; Spikes and stars; Raised (Relief) stitches; Bobbles; Popcorns; Puff stitches; Picots; Lace loops; Corded crochet; and Crossed stitches and Linked stitches;

Techniques: Placement of stitches; Working into chain spaces; Working around the stem of a stitch; Working between stitches; ; Right side and wrong side rows; Starting chains and pattern repeats; Working in colour; Tension/ Gauge; Shaping; Joining seams;  and Pressing and Finishing;

Following Crochet Patterns: Terminology and abbreviations; Working from a diagram; Filet crochet from charts; and Colour work with charts.

All the stitches are well described and supported by stitch diagrams and colour photographs.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.49

99 Granny Squares To Crochet Published by Leisure Arts 1998

Granny squares are fun and a great way to practice your crochet skills, as well as having a wide application from vests to bay rugs and throws.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.30 While published by an American company, the stitch guide refers to treble rather than triple crochet, further confusing the beginner. My best advice is to use the terminology specified by the particular crochet book! But fortunately for me, all instructions are written with no fancy stitch diagrams! There are colour photos of all the motifs on the middle pages and the front and  back covers.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.37

200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Fresh Looks For Roses, Daisies, Sunflowers and More by Claire Crompton 2011

Being a keen gardener and floral arranger, it was inevitable that I should be attracted to this book!! And it is certainly a lovely addition to the crochet library!

It starts by describing the wonderful variety of natural, blended and synthetic fibres available these days, as well as examining colour palettes and different yarn textures and weights, before discussing tools and equipment, including a crochet hook conversion chart; and gauge and swatches for fabrics, trims and motifs.

Basic stitches are illustrated and described, using US terminology, though again here, they use the term treble rather than triple, followed by more complex stitches including shells and fans; clusters; puff stitches; popcorns; and picots.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.41There are sections on:

Following written crochet patterns (including abbreviations and US/UK equivalents) and crochet charts with symbols for fabrics, trims, and motifs and flowers;

Being creative with colour : Inspirations; Changing colours; and Working in stripes;

Making Crochet Fabrics: Foundation chain; Working into loops or chain stitches; and Working in rows;

Making Crochet Motifs: Inspirations; Motif centres; Shapes of motifs and flowers; Joining motifs; and Sewing or crocheting seams.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.50

The book is then divided into four major parts: Flowers, Trims, Fabrics and Motifs, each introduced  with inspirational ideas for their use and containing a large variety of patterns, each accompanied by colour photographs, keys and stitch diagrams. For example, flowers can be made into bunting like in the photo below, which is based on the pattern for Six-Petalled Flowers, as well as necklaces, corsages and decorative pieces to embellish bags or hats, while trims can be used to edge scarves, blouses and skirt hems.BlogCrochetBooks2017-07-16 12.24.22 Crochet fabrics can be assembled into cushion panels, scarves and lavender sachets and motifs can be used for Christmas decorations; jewellery, decorative collars and embellishments for clothes and bags. In the back is a list of contemporary suppliers, complete with websites.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.42

My final book completes both my knitting and crochet book posts, as it addresses both art forms.

Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet by Prudence Mapstone 2002/ 2004

Once all the basic techniques and principles are mastered and understood, experimentation is possible and the rules can be broken in the interests of promoting creativity! Any stitch or technique from either art form can be incorporated in the one work and the work grows organically, governed only by the moment or the availability of materials in your yarn stash, resulting in a truly unique and creative piece.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 12.25.20

It is such a great way of using up all those odd balls of wool or spur-of-the-moment single purchases, because you were seduced by the colours or texture and couldn’t resist! Ply, gauge and dye lots are totally irrelevant with freeform artwork and fine lightweight yarns can be doubled, tripled or combined with another thread.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 09.19.25

It is also a lovely way to explore colour combinations. Prudence provides detailed notes on colour and yarn choice and fabrication, as well as helpful hints for success,  instructions for aftercare and an appendix of abbreviations, yarn equivalents (for Australia, UK and USA), knitting needle and crochet hook size conversions (Imperial or Old UK/ Metric and USA).BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 13.47.23She includes some patterns for elements that can be joined together, as well as lots of inspirational colour photographs of garments and goods made with her freeform techniques from hair bands, hats and bikinis to vests and jackets and  footstools, cushions and bags. While you wouldn’t necessarily wear all of her garments, there are some colour combinations that are quite lovely and it certainly does show you the vast potential of the medium! Be adventurous and take risks and above all, have fun!!!!

Next week, we are off to Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for our annual Winter pilgrimage for the Four Ws: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Weather!!!

Books For Winter: Knitting Part Two

Continuing on from last week’s post, I am now featuring books written by knitting designers and containing some fabulous patterns.

Passion for Colour: Designer Knitting With Natural Dyes by Sarah Burnett 1990

While I could have included this book in my post on Natural Dyeing Books, I decided to reserve it for this post, as it has some great patterns, one of which is a Fair Isle pattern for a child’s cardigan, which I started for my toddler daughter, but unfortunately never completed! However, I had so much fun with colour combinations during its pursuit! It is a delightful book, even though a little dated now, and was one of the first to really showcase designs against their sources of inspiration.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.17The first section titled: Cooking With Colour describes the natural dyeing process: Equipment, mordanting, natural dyestuffs, dyeing methods and how to produce a range of colours from reds, pinks and wines to navy, greys, ochres and walnuts, yellows, greens and indigo blues of varying shades and hues.

I didn’t actually dye my wool for the cardigan, but bought some very fine four-ply Rowan yarns in a range of colours from Mostly Mohair in Richmond, Tasmania. I couldn’t decide between the brights and the pastels (a perennial problem for me, as well as probably being a major frustration for the patient, long-suffering saleswoman!), so I bought both colour ranges, including a wide variety of blues: navy, deep turquoise, royal blue, jacaranda blue, soft blue and aqua blue, as well as olive and full green; rust red and deep red; gold and bright yellow; and cream. Here is a photo of the back of the cardigan.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.32 I loved experimenting with colour combinations in practice swatches like this one in the photo below, before making a final decision on the next row of the cardigan. I probably should undo it all and reuse the wool for another project, unless a grandchild comes along first!!!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-18 07.42.40In this book, there are also some very feminine patterns with blowsy full sleeves, frilled edgings and peplums, and bold patterns and brilliant colour. I particularly loved the Paisley Jacket and the Fritillary Jacket, both of which I could still easily wear and knit (though perhaps not so easily!). I also loved the pattern of the Rambling Rose Cardigan, though would probably try to combine its rose pattern with the longer style of the Paisley or Fritillary Jackets. The Sunflower Jacket is also very attractive with its bright happy colours and bold design.

The glossary at the back includes notes on needle size, knitting in the round, tension, using charts, Fair Isle technique, blocking, different grafting methods, ribbing, pleats and making those beautiful Dorset Crosswheel Buttons used in the patterns.BlogKnittingBooks3018-02-07 15.25.30

Sarah continues to knit and design ad her more current work can be seen at: http://www.naturaldyecompany.com.

Kristin Nicholas: Kristin Knits: 27 Inspired Designs For Playing With Colour 2007

A good book for all those knitters, who are seduced by all those lovely colourful yarns in the wool shop, but don’t necessarily feel super-confident about improvising with colour! It’s a lovely bright colourful book with some terrific projects from easy garter stitch scarves with pompoms and tasselled mitre-cornered stockinette scarves, embroidered with flowers, to bold bright Navajo-inspired afghans, a variety of colourful striped hats, socks and boot toppers, gloves and mittens, and jumpers and cardigans.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 09.00.22She has a great sense of colour and makes your fingers start itching to begin one of her projects! Also included are notes on colour and design; experimenting with swatches; Fair Isle techniques; steeking; mitred corners; tension and gauge; duplicate stitches; decorating with embroidery; making bobbles, tassels and pompoms; stitching seams; sewing in zippers; and blocking and finishing garments. I am so tempted to stop writing and go and make her Autumn Leaves Socks instead!!! You can learn more about her on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwghwh9_4dM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TI9SRIVJNg.

.Kaffe Fassett (1937-):

Glorious Knitting: Over 30 Exclusive Patterns 1985

Family Album: Knitting For Children and Adults 1989

Kaffe’s Classics: 25 Glorious Knitting Designs 1993

If you love colour and pattern, you will definitely have come across Kaffe Fassett’s name in your knitting journey! He shot to fame with his first book Glorious Knitting in 1985 and proceeded to write further books on knitting like Family Album and Kaffe’s Classics, all of which I own, as well as delving into the equally colourful worlds of needlepoint, patchwork and quilting, painting and ceramics, and even mosaics.

This man is so enthusiastic , energetic and inspiring and a wonderful ambassador for colour and craft! He has designed knitwear, tapestries, quilts and fabrics, costumes and stage sets, and was the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1988, the exhibition so popular that it went on to tour nine countries: Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and Iceland.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.59.25

He has written more than 40 books and has hosted a number of craft-related television and radio programs for the BBC and Channel Four, including his own show Glorious Colour. He has also featured in a a large number of videos, which can be seen on his website at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/publications/videos/.

It is also well worth reading his biography Dreaming in Colour: An Autobiography 2012. See: http://www.kaffefassett.com/2831-2/, a brief précis of which can also be found at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/about/.

But back to his books, though I must admit that I have not actually knitted any of his patterns, which are probably a bit too complex for me- in fact, I am probably more likely to stitch one of his needlepoint designs, as embroidery is more my forté!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.21

Glorious Colour features patterns for garments based on Stripes, Steps and Zigzags, Diamonds, Stars, Squares and Patches, Circles and Flowers, while Family Album features: Squares and Plaids; Circles and Dots; Stripes and Boxes; Brushes and Combs; Stars and Mosaics; Flowers and Bows; Cables and Flags; Turks and Harlequins; and Diamonds and Patches.

Kaffe’s Classics revisits 25 of his classic originals, inspired by Japanese art, Chinese landscape paintings, Islamic tile work, Turkish kilims and Spanish architecture and originally published in Rowan Collections, rather than his own books. They are beautiful garments, though very much a product of the 1980s and 1990s.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.29

Kaffe has designed knitwear (see: http://www.kaffefassett.com/gallery/knitwear/) for Rowan Yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/) for more than 30 years to showcase their beautiful yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/yarns). They produce seasonal pattern collections, as well as a large number of publications and patterns.

Jo Sharp :

Knitting Emporium 2000

Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.

Australian Jo Sharp also produces beautiful luxury yarns in wool, silk, cashmere and cotton in an extensive range of natural shades. See: https://www.knit.net.au/.

She has also published some wonderful patterns and pattern collections and books, two of which I own: Knitting Emporium 2000 and Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.50

I love her sense of colour! Knitting Emporium has some lovely patterns, especially Solstice, Tashkent and Millefiori. I made my husband his one and only jumper (knitted by me! He does own more jumpers!!!) using her pattern Antipodean, though the shoulders probably should have been adjusted slightly for him.  I also used her hat pattern for Balthazar as a basis for the hats below, though using a mixture of yarns I owned.BlogKnittingBooks30%DSCN1488BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1508BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.39.30 Even though they are not Jo Sharp yarns and I incorporated stripes as well, I think the hat still reflects the exotic essence and colour of this pattern.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.02.39

Knitting Heartland  is equally inspiring with some beautifully coloured designs for children, which I will definitely try when I become a grandma!!!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1499 I did use the pattern Phoebe’s Bag when making crochet flowers for my hat and scarf ends (photos above and below).BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.38.38Zoë Mellor

Another well-known and successful knitwear designer, who has written a number of books, including:

Head To Toe Knits: 25 Colourful Accessories For Your Home and Children 1998

Animal Knits: 26 Fun Handknits For Children and Toddlers 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.06

Again, wonderful bright colours and a great sense of fun! I loved making her Wee Willy Winky Hat  in Head to Toe Knits and could easily knit some of her other patterns, especially the Cat Hats with their striped ears, the colourful bags and cushions and the Reindeer Scarf and Hat.32271755_10156215149454933_8570604297115402240_nI adapted her pattern for the Harlequin Hat, enlarging her basic pattern and knitting stripes instead of harlequins.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.24.46Animal Knits is also great fun with some very appealing patterns like the Animal Bootees, based on rabbits and bears; the cute Farmyard Cushion; the sweet Ladybird Hat and all the delightful jumpers, jackets and toys. I could easily knit all the patterns in this book!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.30Louisa Harding : Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories To Knit 2007

Another favourite book, to which the last statement also applies. This is a delightful book, especially for gifts and smaller items.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.22 I have knitted quite a few of the patterns, including: the Embellished Mittens; Victoria Fingerless Mittens (three times!); and Cecily Beanie (below in order) !

Very soft and feminine, her designs often use cashmere wool and more of her patterns can be found on her website at: https://www.yarntelier.com. Below is a photo of my daughter in her Alice Beret and Victoria Fingerless Mittens, both from the book.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-23 13.13.01

Cat Bordhi: A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting 2005/ 2007

I love trying knitting patterns, which look like they are difficult and couldn’t possibly work, and yet if you trust the process, do work out and end up being really quite easy, once you get the hang of them! Cat Bordhi’s Infinity Moebius Cowls are a case in point!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.57 It’s all in the cast-on technique, but once that is mastered, it is just a matter of circular kitting to the end. Fortunately, there are some excellent YouTube clips to support this book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.40Having made this cowl three times, my most successful was with a soft mohair wool with a fair amount of give, so it stretches easily as I twist it twice around my neck and it feels so comfortable and soft!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1493 The cowl can also be worn with one twist round the neck and one over the head if it is particularly cold!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1494The basic technique can also be used to make needle cosies; magical baskets; sling bags, including a Jester Tentacle Bag and Hat, Moebius Bowls and Cluster Bowls, and Feline Bliss Beds and Kitty Nests, all patterns given in the book!

Curly scarves are also a pattern, which looks like it couldn’t possibly work, but does and is really very simple. See: https://knitting-crochet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knit-spiral-ruffle-scarf-0133365/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.04 My next challenge is this teapot cosy, knitted by my friend Heather. I love the colour combination of hot pink and orange, but I have chosen more natural greens. It involved learning and mastering a new casting-on method for me, working out how tight to pull the carried thread to achieve the correct density of folds and then making absolutely sure that the thread was always carried to the back side of the work! I’m currently on my fourth attempt!!! While I cannot find the original source of my pattern, it can also be found at: https://www.the-knitting-wool-store.com/grannies-tea-cosy-pattern.html.BlogKnittingBooks2518-03-21 12.31.25

Another challenge I would like to try one day is body knitting with arms rather than needles! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FapvTEjbR9M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6vj_JnWy8.

Finally, some knitted toy books…!!!

Kath Dalmeny’s World of Knitted Toys 1998 features animals from all over the world: the Jungle; the Australian Outback; Down on the Farm; The Deep Blue Sea; Forest Friends; On Safari; and the Snowy Regions. Patterns can be knitted in two sizes- ‘clutch’ for a child’s hand and ‘cuddle’, big enough to be hugged.

Patterns can also be adapted to produce other animals. For example, the polar bear pattern can be adapted to create a panda, while a sea lion can be made using the walrus pattern. There are even patterns for humans, complete with an entire wardrobe and accessories. I made a pig for my daughter and would like to try some of her other patterns. The koalas and kangaroos and joeys are so cute and I would love to make the turtle and penguins!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.03.16

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh 2009  is another very inspiring book. The term was originally coined from the Japanese words ‘ami’, meaning ‘knitted or crocheted’ and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘stuffed doll’, and while big in the crochet world, it was adopted more slowly by the knitting community, with very few patterns on knitted amigurumi. This book goes a long way in addressing this shortfall with lots of fun small creations like vegetables and fruit; hermit crabs , octopus,sea stars, jellyfish and black-devil anglerfish; snails, praying mantis, ants and spiders; and weird and wonderful cryptids-krakens, jackalopes and the famous Loch Ness monster, Nessie! They are certainly very cute and appealing, even though some of them look fairly challenging!!!BlogKnittingBooks4018-04-17 11.03.09Hopefully, some of these books might have inspired you to start knitting for the season or maybe you are a crochet fiend, in which case my next post will feature my favourite crochet books! In the meantime, Happy Knitting!!!32501206_10156215149564933_5986553767691026432_n

Books for Winter: Knitting Part One

Now that it’s Winter, it’s an ideal time to get out those needles and wool, cosy up in front of the fire and start knitting! While I am definitely no expert in the art form, hence I suspect my large number of books on the subject, I have still managed to make quite a few scarves and hats over the years, which I will feature throughout this post, including the odd challenging and stimulating technique! I actually did do a brief course in knitting at TAFE years ago, some of whose samples are also featured in this post!

Here are some of the knitting books in my craft library, which I have found particularly useful! Because this post is quite long, I have divided it into two posts: General Knitting Books (Beginners and Advanced) this week and Designers and Patterns (including toys) next week.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.47.42General Knitting Books

Beginner Knitters

How To Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete With Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects For Your Home and Family by Debbie Bliss 1999

An excellent book for the beginner, the Introduction covers yarns and equipment and instructions for working from a pattern and knitting a tension swatch, to holding the yarn and needles, making a slip knot, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, the basic stitches and the first of a number of simple projects throughout the book to familiarise the reader with the techniques.32476691_10156215149529933_7249506115308748800_nChapter Two covers single and double rib, picking up stitches, making a stitch and cast-off buttonhole, as well as a simple stitch pattern library.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.34.37While Aran knitting, with its intricate cables, twists and bobbles creating amazing textures, is the subject of Chapter Three, personally I was more drawn to the colour workshop in Chapter Four with its emphasis on Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques. Joining in yarn, securing ends, weaving and stranding, working from a chart and working in the round with circular needles or a set of four needles is also covered.BlogKnittingBooks2518-05-13 13.38.47Chapter Five focuses on lace knitting, with instructions on yarn overs, additional decreases and making lace edging, as well as a lace stitch library of pretty lace patterns. While I will probably never do the complicated -looking entrelac knitting, it is still good to know that I can learn how-to in Chapter Six! I am more likely to use Chapter Seven, which discusses all the decorative details like embroidery, Swiss darning, loop knitting and fringing, the use of sequins and beads, making pompoms and cords, and finishing a garment with a decorative hem.

For more experienced knitters, there is a Design Workshop in Chapter Eight, which discusses design  principles and how to design a simple sweater, making sweater calculations, patterns and motifs, edgings and designing for children.

The final chapter appropriately focuses on finishing the garment: Making up and joining pieces, seams, picking up dropped stitches, unravelling, finishing fabrics by blocking and pressing and caring for knitwear.

Standard knitting abbreviations and yarn weights are included in the appendix, along with a list of stockists.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.27

The Encyclopedia of Knitting: Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitches and Inspirational Designs by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths 2000

Another excellent book covering the basics, it is divided into three parts:

The Essentials: Materials, basic skills, and essential and additional know-how, including four different cast-on methods, knit and purl, garter and stockinette stitches, seven cast-off methods, picking up dropped stitches, shaping a garment with increases and decreases, picking up stitches, reading patterns and charts, understanding gauge, making up, hems and facings, fastenings, grafting, turning rows and bias and chevron knitting.

The Stitch Collection advances from basic knit and purl and ribs through cables, twists, bobbles and leaves and lace to stranded colour knitting, intarsia and special effects like cross-stitch and embroidery, incorporating beads and sequins, loops, slipstitch colour knitting, motif entrelac, tucks and pleats and circular knitting. The chunky cowl below was knitted in seed stitch on circular needles to a free pattern called Marian by Jane Richmond. See: http://www.janerichmond.com/products/marian-cowl.

BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1507BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.49Design and Inspiration covers the fundamentals of the design process: Measuring and number crunching, planning repeats, motifs and patterns, combining colour and cables, circular yokes and designing a cardigan, as well as a gallery of vintage patterns from the 1920s to the 1960s, multicultural influences, contemporary designers, colour and texture and knitting for kids and for fun.

In the back is a key to chart symbols, needle sizes and abbreviations and a glossary and index.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 10.58.18Knitting: Over 20 Exciting Projects For you To Make For Home and Family  Published by  Treasure Press 1986

This simple old book was my introduction to knitting back in my early married days and I am including it, because it was the source of my very first completed project and introduced me to the art of Fair Isle Knitting.

There is a brief history of knitting at the start, followed by information on different types of yarns and needles, needle sizes, basic skills and shaping, advanced techniques like cables, bobbles, buttonholes and colour work, reading patterns, tension and abbreviations and stitch symbols.

Stitch patterns include ribs, Aran patterns, colourwork, lace, slipstitch colourwork and lacy edgings.

There is also a small section on finishing off, laundry symbols, aftercare, design and decorative finishes.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.01.37

The rest of the book is devoted to patterns for a variety of sweaters and dresses, baby layouts, cushion covers and bedspreads and a beautiful Fair Isle trio of socks, gloves and hat, the latter which I knitted for my two girls- the book’s bright version for Caro in the photo below and a softer version in pastel blue, pink and green mohair for Jen.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.27.30

And lastly, for the kids…!

Fun With Wool Published by the Australian Wool Corporation 1981

An oldie, but a goodie, from which my children learnt to knit. It starts with Finger Knitting and  French Knitting with a homemade nancy, though we used the old wooden cotton reels with four nails in the top, as well as plying, plaiting and twisting cords and making wool collages.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 07.42.53Basic Knitting is next with easy  illustrated instructions for casting on and off, knit and purl stitches, stocking stitch and rib, increasing and decreasing, joining seams; reading a pattern, tension, pompoms and tassels and embroidery stitches.

There are many suggestions for knitted projects from jewellery, finger puppets and toys to pencil cases,tennis racquet covers, patchwork throws, scarves, hats and mittens, and simple jumpers made out of squares and rectangles.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.22.43

There are also chapters on basic crochet; simple weaving using cardboard looms or picture frames, forked branches and even cross of two sticks to make a God’s Eye; and basic spinning using a pencil or spindle. Here are two photos of my children knitting scarves- 14 year old Caroline knitting a bright colourful scarf for the Armidale Winter (above) and our 20 year old university student Jenny, who made us all long red scarves in the even colder Canberra Winter.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.46 She also commemorated her knitting forays in this cute illustration and even her own song- ‘The Long Red Scarf’!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.52More Advanced Knitters

The Handknitter’s Design Book: A Practical Guide To Creating Beautiful Knitwear by Alison Ellen 1992

While probably a bit advanced for me, this book is perfect for knitters, who want to create their own designs! It starts by examining the precedents of knitting- its history and traditional techniques; different kinds of yarn: wool, alpaca/angora and cashmere, cotton and linen, silk, synthetics and more unusual material like string and ribbon, rags and waste packaging; the properties of stretch and drape; choosing needles, tension and basic knitting techniques with all the possible variations including casting on and off; picking up stitches and colour knitting. The swatches below feature in order: Simple Cable Ribs (Cable to the left; Cable to the right); Horseshoe Cable; and Plaited Cable.

Texture, colour and patterns (horizontal/vertical and diagonal stripes; grids and checks; dots and repeat motifs; geometric; motifs; pictorial/floral and abstract/ random) are examined in great detail in Chapters Four to Six, while Chapter Seven focuses on shapes and details: block patterns; calculations and measurements; adjustments for different body shapes; shape variations-chevrons; waisted shapes, peplums and frills; skirts; sleeves and cuffs; armholes; necks; collars; openings; buttonholes and loops; pockets; and joins and seams. Below is a photo of a beautiful Broken Cable Pullover, which I bought thirty years ago and which still attracts admiring comments every Winter!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1491The Stitch Library is an excellent reference guide to over 50 different types of knitting stitches and is followed by a few projects, which can be used as a starting point for your own individual designs, with basic patterns for triangular and diagonal shawls; simple jumpers, cardigans and hats; and cushions.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.35

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore 1988

While designing my own garment from scratch is probably beyond my capabilities, I do love colour and am much more prepared to take up the challenge of Fair Isle knitting, with which I have had a lifelong love affair! In fact, we even spent a weekend staying at a bird observatory lodge on the Fair Isle, when we visited the United Kingdom in 1994. While we were there, I bought a beautiful warm polo neck jumper from some local knitters, featured in the photo below.BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1498BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1497Alice Starmore is a foremost authority on Fair Isle knitting and I own two of her books, one of which I have already featured in my post on Design Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.41

While Charts for Colour Knitting has a distinctly multicultural feel with traditional and adapted patterns from all over the world, her Book of Fair Isle Knitting is specific to this beautiful little isolated island, with the first chapter giving a brief overview of the island’s history, as well as the origins and development of its unique style of stranded knitting.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.28.33

In Chapter Two, she discusses Pattern: the different types; reading pattern charts and creating patterns with a pattern library for Peerie, Border, Large, Allover, Norwegian Stars and Seeding patterns. Chapter Three focuses on Colour: its effect on and use in design with a gallery of different colour combinations for inspiration, while Chapter Four really gets down to the nitty-gritty with an emphasis on Technique: Circular knitting; Tension/ gauge; Casting-on; English and Continental knitting methods; Weaving in strands and corrugated ribbing; Increases and decreases; Steeks (the Scottish word for bridging openings like cardigan fronts or armholes when circular knitting); Joining knitting; Trimmings (buttonholes, pompoms, fringes and cords) and the care of Shetland wool garments.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.29.24

The Wardrobe of Patterns contains patterns for ganseys, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, vests and accessories (tammy, gloves and mittens), so the readers can gain confidence before embarking on the final section titled: Creating Your Own Designs, definitely a section for the more advanced knitter than myself!!!

It discusses measurements, drawing a plan, gauge, calculating stitches and rows, fitting patterns into widths/ lengths, centreing patterns, and  progressing from design to working instructions.

There are notes on designing tammies and caps; a gansey with a gusset (love the phrase!); gansey variations; cardigans; and variations in the shape and style of necklines, sleeves and lengths.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.17

An excellent reference guide for anyone interested in developing their knowledge and skill in Fair Isle Knitting!

Next week, we will feature books on knitting designers and their patterns.