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Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living Paperback – August 10, 2010
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"Readers of Alicia Paulson's blog Posie Gets Cozy know she's got a magic way with a needle and thread, making creations so lovely you want to marry them. Until that's legal, you can make your own life a bit cozier by picking up a copy of Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living." --BUST
About the Author
ALICIA PAULSON learned to stitch as a child, but developed a passion for embroidery while recovering from a bad accident in 1998. She spends her days in her home studio sewing, crocheting, embroidering, and designing a small, ever-changing collection of original crafts and patterns called Posie: Rosy Little Things, and writes about them at her blog, Posie Gets Cozy. She is the author of Stitched in Time: Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share from the Creator of Posie Gets Cozy (Potter Craft, 2008).
Born and raised outside Chicago, she now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two-time Nurse of the Year Andy Paulson, R.N.; two comfort-obsessed cats; and the lovely, long-suffering Cardigan Welsh corgi, Clover Meadow Paulson. Find them all at www.AliciaPaulson.com.
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The projects range from the very simple to the very complex, but most are in the realm of "easy" to "medium"-- this would be an ideal book for a new embroiderer, but also an inspiring one for someone experienced in needlework, because the projects are amazing. I was relieved to find that she gives details like what size of needles she prefers, since I wouldn't know where to start. The projects are both modern and old-fashioned at the same time-- they look up-to-date, but they have a pretty, old-fashioned sensibility. And they're things that are actually useful and beautiful, not just a bunch of motifs that the embroiderer has to find a use for. There are, of course, cross-stitch samplers and decorative pillows, but you'll also find a tablecloth, a kerchief, hot-water-bottle holders, curtains, an apron, a tote bag, a photo-album cover, pillowcases-- you get the idea. These are things that can be used in everyday life. The photography is gorgeous, the tone is friendly, comforting, and easy to read, and (like her blog) very warm and personal-- you come away feeling like you wish you lived down the street from Alicia and glad that she's sharing her expertise and enthusiasm with you. :) Obviously I can't say enough nice things about this book-- anyone who reads "Posie Gets Cozy" or who enjoyed Stitched in Time, or who just wants some good embroidery projects to do, will love this one. It's pretty, practical, helpful, and inspiring.
The patterns are also very versatile. A creative stitcher could use parts of a headband pattern to make a bookmark, for instance, or take a motif from a sampler and stitch it onto a shirt. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Best of all is Alicia's writing style, which is never cloying, but always warm, heartfelt, friendly and informative. Her love of sewing and creating comes through vividly. I read through the general directions carefully and I think they would be very helpful for a beginner. I'm an experienced needleworker, but I also found some ideas and tips that I hadn't thought of. There is also a source list in the back for supplies and patterns, if you live as I do in an area with no needlework stores.
I'm looking forward to tackling my first project from the book--the hard part will be deciding which one to do first!
She provides detailed explanations for every project, but in such a way that feels like inspiration rather than recipe. For example, there is a baby-sized quilt with adorable farm animals. Although I don't personally have a need for a baby quilt gift at the moment (phooey! :) she wrote the instructions in such a way that I can use her idea for the snowman embroidery blanket I'm already making, and it would be easily modified into a pillow, which would be awesome, too.
The book is divided into three parts: Decorative Embroidery, Counted Cross Stitch, and Crewelwork. She goes over the types of threads and needles to use for each, but what I love about her books is that she takes it beyond "craft guide" when she flat out tells you things like, "I use a #5 crewel needle". It really makes you feel like you're learning from a very talented girlfriend, rather than simply reading a compendium of facts and information.
Every section contains projects for beginner to advanced, and her diagrams and detailed stitch directions are extremely helpful. I've been practicing the stitches in the appendix, as I'm fairly new to the medium, and there are plenty of stitches I'd never done before (including padded satin stitch, fly stitch, and woven circle stitch) and I was able to easily figure them out using only her written directions and diagrams. I do wish that her blanket stitch directions included how to start and end it (it can be so tricky sometimes!!) but that's information easily found online, so that's a pretty picky point.
Most importantly, the book is full of projects that Alicia brings her aesthetic to, which means that every single item is something I want to make! Many have a folk art inspiration, and some are worked onto gingham (with its natural grid) so even if you're nervous to transfer a pattern, there's plenty to get started with here.
Most recent customer reviews
Everything is so pretty. I could just look at it all day. Very inspiring.Read more