I am so excited about the new A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery recently published by Country Bumpkin! So excited, in fact, that just thinking about it gives me goose bumps! I want to tell you all about it, and tell you what I especially like about it!
This past summer, Country Bumpkin released a new book in the A-Z needlework series: A-Z of Goldwork with Silk Embroidery. I have lots of goldwork books – lots and lots, actually – but this one catapulted itself to the top of the list with the first read-through. When I first saw it, I was infatuated with it – but after reading it thoroughly twice, I think it’s True Love!
First of all, like the other books in the A-Z series, this book is full of photos – over 650 step-by-step photos on different goldwork techniques and silk embroidery techniques. The bulk of the book is goldwork, and the instructions are written and photographed in a way that makes what is a more complicated embroidery technique accessible to practically any level of embroiderer.
What I especially like in the book:
1. The section on starting and finishing: there’s a thorough going-over of different techniques for applique. The book details how to work the embroidery (for example, on a linen ground) then cut it out and apply it to ground fabric. This is really helpful, especially if you’re interested in historical needlework or ecclesiastical embroidery. The photo instructions clarify different ways of achieving a professional finished edge…. very, very nice! I love this section.
2. The book covers thoroughly different methods of padding – another area of great use to the historical or ecclesiastical embroiderer. Padding over card, felt, and other material (such as string) is covered thoroughly.
3. Step-by-step pictures of S-ing with purls over pailettes… and S-ing in general.
4. Clear photos (and options) for couching twists.
5. And wow – a pretty thorough section on Or Nue, with side boxes of excellent tips for mastering this exquisite technique.
6. A thorough section on goldwork filling techniques.
7. A thorough section on different ways of working with purl – including all types of fillings and different stitches that can be worked with purl.
The book is full of information besides the above points, but those are the topics in the book that I like best.
There’s a section at the front of the book that covers the different types of metal threads, as well as the tools necessary for goldwork. I’ve found this information in other books, too, but hey – it’s nice to have all the needful information in one book!
Scattered throughout the book (in true Country Bumpkin fashion) are stunning examples of goldwork – photos that will make your mouth water!
In the back of the book, there’s a nice design gallery, with instructions for the various projects featured there, from a beautiful golden butterfly, to a strawberry pincushion, to the gorgeous flower border that’s featured on the cover of the book. There are several other designs and projects featured here, and they all have patterns, supply lists, and instructions. It’s a great section for finding a good goldwork project if you’re just delving into goldwork, or for getting the inspirational juices flowing, if you want to design you own project.
There’s also a nice index in the back of the book, which is always helpful.
The section on silk embroidery covers the basics of silk work as it would be combined with goldwork – so you get individual stitches (reminiscent of stitch instructions found in other Country Bumpkin publications), and you also get techniques, such as silk shading. This is just a small section of the book, though, so don’t expect in-depth information on techniques like thread painting. You’d find better information on that subject, for example, in the A-Z of Thread Painting, or in Clare Hanham’s Beginner’s Guide to Silk Shading. Still, the section in this book is useful, and it fits, because it addresses the typical types of silk embroidery often found with goldwork.
A little glitch in the book: on pages 10 and 11 there’s a little editing problem. The instructions for making a velvet board (for cutting your metal threads) are repeated under the heading “how to prepare a sling” (for plunging threads). So the sling instructions aren’t there, but Country Bumpkin has posted the instructions for making a sling for plunging threads on their website, if you’re looking for them.
Final analysis: Golly. I love this book. It’s at the top of my Favorites List! If you’re considering venturing into goldwork for the first time, this is the book to have. If you’ve ventured into goldwork, but want to expand your knowledge of the art, this is the book to have. If you’re an expert at goldwork… ok, fine, maybe you don’t need it! But… it’s a pretty darned good book for reference, I think.
Where can you find it?
You can find it through Country Bumpkin, but if you’re in the States, the shipping is a bit pricey. Look for it in States through Wooly Thread. I’m sure there are other local needlework shops that will carry it, too, so ask your needlework shop if they have it or can order it for you.
I think this book is a good investment, if you have even the slightest interest in this type of embroidery. If I could combine all the enthusiasm that I’ve ever felt for individual books all together into One Big Gush of Enthusiasm, this would be the book I’d do it for!
If you don’t have it yet, get it – or put it on your Christmas list!