Sunday, July 7, 2024

Weekend Review: Mindful Embroidery


Mindful Embroidery / Charles Henry & Elin Petronella
Salem, MA: Page Street, c2020.
157 p.

I have followed Charles & Elin on IG for a long time, and was pleased to find their book recently. This is a book focusing on sketching with thread, essentially -- it is a series of projects in their most well-known style, street scenes from across Europe. 

It begins with a short intro and a guide to fabric, transferring patterns, and stitches. They are proponents of simple stitches to create work with impact -- all the projects can be completed if you know five basic sttiches: straight, backstitch, split, satin, and french knots. Instructions for all five stitches are shown, with photos, at the beginning of the book. It really is accessible to beginners, although to get the polished results of their final projects, some practice will likely be necessary. 

I enjoyed this book - it's different from many of the embroidery books I have looked through recently, as it's focused on images that are black and white and sketched, mostly, although colour is included in some of the projects with a bit of satin stitch or french knot detail (often florals, but also a cool tile detail). They talk about combining stitches for different effects, ie: multiple rows of straight stitch give a different look that just one row, and also show how the number of strands you choose can affect the visual result. (they use DMC stranded floss as their main thread), It's a different way of approaching stitching, rather than simply covering ground with full strands of floss. I'm really impressed by the artistic impression of this style of stitching. 

Each of the projects has a pattern you can trace off, plus a colour and stitch guide. There are easy ones, are more advanced ones, with the levels marked - and I found them all appealing. I like this style of stitching, and have always enjoyed following the authors' embroidery journey. This book has solid, unique content that makes it worth owning, even if you already have a bunch of stitching books! 

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