Sunday, February 18, 2024

Weekend Review: Modern Japanese Embroidery Stitches


Modern Japanese Embroidery Stitches / Noriko Tsuchihashi
Clarendon, VT: Tuttle, c2022.
112 p.

I really loved this book that I found in my library's online collection. I hadn't seen it when it was first released, so am really glad it appeared there -- it is a great book. 

The embroidery style here is a bit different than many of the stitch styles found in books over the last few years. It's motif based (with fabulous alphabets) but it has an ornate, dark & mysterious feeling too. Most of the examples are either unusual, like insects or symbols, or use dark fabric grounds or threads. I like the layout and the feel of this book. 

In her foreword, the author says she was always drawn to little things as a child, and with this book she's trying to share that connection and wonder. She says, "while [these designs] are not a precise rendering of that beauty, they recreate for me that sense of wonder, and I'm happy. I think this is what handicrafts such as embroidery are all about." 

The book is organized into motifs; each chapter simply shows gorgeous photos of projects, framed or made up into other items, with a brief into to the subject and a few words on each design. These 8 sections are followed by a section on materials, tools and a stitch guide, and all the designs and instructions are at the back of the book. She includes recommended stitches and thread colours for all the designs. In her recommendations, threads are DMC, and the ribbon embroidery ideas use Mokuba ribbon, while the beading elements use Delica. But as she says, you can use whatever you like. 

The chapters are: 

  • Embroidering Patterns
  • Embroidering Plants
  • Embroidering Animals
  • Embroidering Lucky Symbols
  • Embroidering A Journey
  • Embroidering Alphabets
  • Embroidering on Patterns
  • Finishing (pouches, brooches, bags etc)

I was particularly taken with the alphabet designs. I love a good letter! These are block letters with filling stitches and they are beautiful. She shows them in different colourways with differing backgrounds and I love them all. There is even a set of numbers to go along with this. 

I also liked the lucky symbols she included, and can think of ways to adapt some of her ideas to use any of your own favourite signs and symbols. All in all I really liked this one and found it fresh and interesting. 


  1. Hi Melanie,
    Wow! The alphabet embroidery looks particularly stunning. I am very impressed with it. I have never come across a Japanese embroidery book before. Thank you for sharing,
    .... Sara

    1. Isn't that alphabet beautiful? I really want to stitch some of the designs from this book!


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!