Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Book Review: Redoute’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr


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I just acquired another excellent embroidery book – and I know this one is going to be a favorite! The inspiration for purchasing it came from Elmsley Rose, whose enthusiasm for embroidery has “recharged” me – now I’m all fired up for some upcoming projects! (Oh, if she only knew what she has started!!) This book is perfect for anyone who loves embroidered flowers and who is interested in learning needlepainting techniques.

Redouté’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr is essentially a book on needlepainting flowers originally painted by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, a French painter of Flemish background famous for his botanical artwork.

Redoute's Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr

Besides being an excellent resource for producing some gorgeous embroidered flowers, the book covers all the essentials of good needle painting techniques – those little nuances that make en embroidered work look positively realistic. The book begins like most other embroidery books that focus on projects: materials such as fabric, threads, hoops and frames, needles, and so forth are briefly discussed, as well as transferring techniques. “Briefly” is the operative word – Trish’s book doesn’t go into a lot of detail on the background information for getting started on a project, but the essentials are all there.

Then, you get a break down of the various stitches used in the projects in the book, with an extensive focus on long and short stitch as well as an adequate look at all the other stitches that help bring a needle painted project to life. The stitches are illustrated, some with drawings, some with photographs. The explanation of the stitches is good – not elaborate, but again adequate, especially for those already familiar with embroidery. She focuses as well on important aspects of stitching, such as direction and shading techniques.

Redoute's Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr

To get you familiar with the stitches and how they work, Trish follows the stitch glassary with a starter sampler which covers all the basic stitches. It’s an attractive piece in itself and would make a fun and varied embroidery project.

Redoute's Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr

Then, Trish launches into “The Projects.” This is surely the best part of the book! Seventeen of Redouté’s flowers are drawn out and broken down into really “doable” projects. There are three good-sized, nicely laid-out pages devoted to each project. Each project includes a list of materials required, a line drawing, a photograph of the completed embroidered flower, a list of DMC thread suggestions, and – what I really like – a pencil-shaded drawing of the piece, so that you can see exactly where the shades change. In addition to this, on each project there is usually another line drawing of the flower, with certain areas shaded to show you what areas should be padded and how.

Stitch directions are not indicated on the flower patterns (this is where she falls short of Tanja Berlin’s instructions), but the photographs of the embroidered piece are close-up and very clear, so that you can see the stitch directions on the finished piece. Very handy!

Redoute's Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr

In addition to the material lists, the patterns, and the photo of the embroidered piece, you also get general instruction on how to work each section of the pattern.

The book is quite stunning, and for the intermediate embroiderer is a great way to launch into needle painting. The directions are clear, the pictures are fantastic, and Redouté’s art looks fantastic in thread!

(It would make a Great Christmas Present, too!!!)


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(11) Comments

  1. Thread painting is one of my favourite embroidery techniques and this book would probably make it into my top 10 of embroidery books. I also like Trish Burr’s other book Long and Short Stitch Embroidery: A Collection of Flowers. In my opinion, these two books, have the best examples of thread painting in print, at least the type of thread painting that I prefer doing myself. I also like the newish book Beginner’s Guide to Silk Shading by Clare Hanham. I think it has really good instructions especially for beginners. However, I am not that taken with the examples. I would much prefer stitching the projects in Trish Burr’s books.

  2. In the Hanham, it’s the picture (not a project) of a Boswell work, with the bird and the rose, right at the beginning of the book, that I really like. I’d like to do it some time.

  3. Trish Burr has a new book out Long and Short Stitch Embroidery and it is better than the first one. she is also due to bring out other one on animals. Odette in South Africa

  4. Thanks, Odette –

    I heard from Trish, announcing her new book which should be coming out early summer (May / June). I’ll definitely be reviewing it!

    I like both of her books so far, very much. They both have a lot to offer anyone interested in long and short stitch, thread painting, and general embroidery technique and design.

    I’m really looking forward to the next one!

  5. Which one book would you recommend for a beginnner of thread painting….Long and Short Stitch Embroidery or Redoute’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery?
    I am an experienced stitcher but not in this technique….it’s beautiful.

    1. Hi, Marlene – I’d actually suggest Trish’s new book, Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas for Beginners. You can find my review here: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2011/08/needle-painting-embroidery-book-review.html – what I like about it is that the projects will take a beginner in this technique through simple to more complex projects, and all the instruction is right there in the book! Trish also sells (on her website – linked in the review) fabric pre-printed with the designs in the book, so you could actually forego the whole transfer process and get right into stitching. Hope that helps! ~MC

  6. Just received this book from my husband for Mother’s Day, as a play on the classic gift of a bouquet of flowers. It will be a bit before I feel confident enough to try the projects, but it’s a gorgeous inspiration to have around!

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