It’s the perfect time of year for cozy embroidery projects, and nothing in the world is quite as cozy as a beautiful, soft blanket! And if there’s a baby or a toddler wrapped up in it, that’s even better!
Country Bumpkin has a new embroidered blanket book coming out called Blissful Beginnings, and I’m pretty excited about it! They’ve already published quite a few blanket books, and each one of them has been a treasure in its own way. I have them all. I love them! Whether the books are used to make the blankets as designed in the books, or whether you devise some other use for the embroidery designs within, or whether you want instructions on constructing blankets that you personalize with your own embroidery designs, you’ll find these delightful blanket books a handy reference for your needlework library.
Here’s my review of Blissful Beginnings!
Blissful Beginnings: Embroidered Blankets to Cherish is a compilation of 10 projects designed by various world class needlework artists, including Carolyn Pearce (of Home Sweet Home fame) and Susan O’Connor (Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth, which is a gem of a book).
Most of the projects are blankets suitable for babies, toddlers, and tykes, but some of the projects are adorably “accent” projects that accompany the blankets.
In the quality fashion that we’ve come to expect from Country Bumpkin Publications, the beginning of the book is devoted to preliminary information necessary to getting the projects underway.
From measuring fabric and preparing it to breaking down skeins of threads into easy-to-use bundles, the first part of the book is where you’ll find all kinds of useful information for setting up embroidery projects. While the info specifically targets the making of blankets, most of it is applicable to any kind of embroidery venture.
And then we get right into the projects. Each chapter features beautiful photos of the finished project, of course! Country Bumpkin’s photography is always amazing!
This “Joy” blanket project includes instructions for making the stackable cloth bricks in the photo, too. I like the little accessory projects! If you don’t have time to make a full-fledged blanket, the little projects make super baby gifts on their own.
There’s a nice variation in the embroidered blankets in the book. They’re not all “baby” themed. I like this paisley blanket, with its multiple embroidery stitches and fillings. I could see using it as a throw blanket, and not necessarily for just a wee thing, either. This is a classy, timeless design.
In each chapter, you’ll find a list of requirements for the project, along with preparation notes on layout and setting up the embroidery. The back of the book contains pull-out patterns covered with the embroidery designs, ready to transfer, while the chapters take you through the steps to complete the project.
Instructions are given by way of artistically rendered diagrams (the diagrams throughout this book are particularly beautifully done), as well as finished photos for comparison.
It’s very nice to have clear photos throughout the book of the finished elements, too. This particular little guy comes from my absolutely favorite blanket in the book, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” – so, so cute!
At the end of the book, you’ll find in one place all the detailed diagrams for the construction of the blankets. These instructions take you step-by-step through the whole assembly process for the various styles of blankets in the book. Now, I’m not an avid seamstress (I “get by” when it comes to sewing), but I have no problem reading these instructions and understanding exactly what to do, to finish the blanket. They are very clear and accessible instructions.
You’ll also find a lovely stitch dictionary in the back of the book. I’ve become used to Country Bumpkin’s step-by-step photos in their stitch instructions, so I was particularly surprised and enchanted with these graphic illustrations of the individual stitches. They’re so pretty!
The very last part of the book is the pull-out pattern section, which I didn’t pull out, because I’m not ready to take the book apart yet!
You may also like to see the video preview of Blissful Beginnings, if you haven’t seen it yet. I like these video previews – they capture the essence of the book in a palatable video format. Country Bumpkin put together this one for us:
You can pre-order Blissful Beginnings from Country Bumpkin. It’s slotted to be available in late 2012, so that’s now through the end of December. (That being said, I’m doing a give-away next week with a few copies! But shhhhhhhh….. don’t tell anyone!)