Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Review: Stitches from the Garden


Stitches From the Garden / Kathy Schmitz
Bothell, WA: Martingale, c2016.
80 p.

This lovely embroidery book was a gift from my sister. I really like it; it's different from my textile art focused embroidery books -- it has quite a vintage feel and is focused on practical and domestic projects. It's also quite different from the majority of current embroidery books which focus on bright colours, chunky styles and primarily hoop art. 

The structure of the book is simple: it starts with the projects, 15 in all, and has a small section at the back of only a couple of pages giving the basics of embroidery -- both materials and stitches. The most unusual thing in this section is the demonstration of a cord-maker, as many edges of the projects in this book are finished with cord made from a full 6-strand piece of embroidery floss. It's very neat. You can find the author giving a tutorial on youtube showing how this Kreinik custom corder works, if you're interested in taking a look for yourself. 

There are two hoop art projects, and one larger framed "motto" art piece, but the remainder of the projects are practical, useful items. From an adorable pincushion that features a frieze of garden images around its sides, to the pillow featured on the cover, to a needle case shaped like an acorn house (so sweet), to a few pouches/sachets, tea towels, and a button sized needle minder, there are so many embroidery accessories and household decor items to try out here. The style is quite restrained and traditional feeling -- lots of outlines and floral images, in subdued colours. The brightest colour seems to be a traditional red. 

The cutest needle book!

It's a lovely book, with all the projects clearly explained, with illustrations showing the steps of putting together the item, aside from the embroidery parts. You can get a preview of it at Google books if you'd like to see the style of the projects and embroidery patterns. You can also get a nice clear look at all the projects at the publisher's page for this title, including a small correction to one of the patterns in pdf form on that page as well. 

Useful needleminders

If you're interested in this kind of quieter, practical embroidery, I recommend this book. The author also has a few others both with Martingale and available on her own website. There also seem to be plenty of individual patterns and kits on her website if you want to dip a toe in and just try one to start. I really appreciated this gift!


  1. This looks really good. I like the practical projects. Framing things can get expensive.

    1. I agree. This has a nice variety of things in it that are useful and would be charming gifts too.


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