Sunday, March 24, 2019

Weekend Review: Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops: a bend-the-rules primer / Rebecca Ringquist
New York: STC Crafts, c2015
160 p.

And now for a modern book of embroidery all about the art and craft of contemporary embroidery, made accessible for beginners! This is a really neat primer to all kinds of freestyle embroidery. Rebecca Ringquist is known for her Dropcloth Samplers, an etsy store that makes pre-printed sampler kits. She's written this book as a slightly more involved instructional aid, and it even comes with its own little dropcloth sampler tucked into the back cover in a little envelope. So cute! And such a good way to be able to start something if you're new to stitching and don't already have suitable fabrics and/or transfer pens etc -- just open, press the folds out, hoop it and start! (assuming of course that you've also bought yourself some threads and needles already!)

She's very encouraging for new stitchers, showing the messy back of her hoop early in the book to reassure readers that the neat, knot free, nearly reversible back of lore isn't necessary with this style of embroidery. Even that back is quite beautiful in a modern way. And she shows a wide range of stitching knowledge, from the basics of how to make a stitch or transfer a design, to using more non-traditional kinds of threads or surfaces in interesting ways.

Something I have not seen in other current embroidery books is a chapter on machine embroidery. But here she goes over a very basic look at how machine stitches can add to your embroidery projects. She shows how machines can be used for thread sketching (free motion embroidery) and how machine stitches can meld with your hand stitches in a project.

And there are 20 neat, unusual projects including but also going beyond wall art -- like these brooches made out of vintage belt buckles -- such a fun, colourful idea.

This is not a book of patterns to stitch and hang in a hoop. It's a much more free-form, artsy, and as the subtitle notes, Bend-the-Rules kind of guidebook. It's bright, colourful, not twee in any way -- full of unique and creative projects, lots of encouragement for those starting to stitch and unique approaches for those who have been stitching for a while. I love this one; I've had it for a while and really enjoy flipping through it now and again for an encouraging refresher. 


  1. What a fun book this sounds like. I’m definitely intrigued. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. Hope you enjoy it! It's definitely more freeform and artsy than traditional. That's what I love about it.

  2. Hi Melanie. Do you know .. I have this book on my bookshelf! I did a week long class with Hannah Lamb from UK when she came out to Australia a couple of years ago, and it re-ignited my interest in stitching. I thought at the time that this book looked lovely - and it is. The idea of 'Mark making' with stitches was taking off. I have always tended to do stitcheries with back stitch and French knots. Should actually use this book and broaden my skill set. But books .... I just love looking at them.

    1. How lucky for you to do a class like that! I do love to learn new skills, but like you say, I also just like having books around to look at!

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