I reviewed Trish Burr’s embroidery book, Redoute’s Finest Flowers in Embroidery, a while back, but perhaps I should have preceded that with her book, Long and Short Stitch Embroidery, A Collection of Flowers, since it focuses more on the method of long and short stitch needle painting. Well, as I’ve been getting my library in order, I’ve been pulling out favorite books for easier access, and this just happens to be one my faves. So I thought I’d tell you about it!
If you haven’t seen Trish’s Long and Short Stitch Embroidery: A Collection of Flowers, you should look it up and at least see the cover. It’s a work of art. Featured on the cover is a flaming lily, a gardenia and some other blossoms, all worked in needle painting (or thread painting) techniques. The cover is gorgeous, and it’s hard to believe that the flowers on it are indeed embroidered and not painted.
The primary stitch used in this kind of work is long and short stitch. The key to making the work look so realistic is the direction of the stitching and the shading achieved by the color selection and the stitching.
In Long and Short Stitch Embroidery, Trish takes the embroiderer (whether beginner, novice, or advanced) through the basics of long and short stitch. She has an excellent section titled “Tips for Improving your Long and Short Stitch,” which any embroiderer interested in this technique would find useful. Perhaps the best tip is something that I figured out only after quite a bit of this type of stitching, but you’d get better results from the very beginning if you knew it in advance: the concept of drawing extra guidelines for stitch direction, then stitching a directional stitch along each guideline, and then going back between the directional stitches and filling in. This helps your stitches move gradually along the angle you want them to turn. It’s a great tip, and nice to know when you first set out! Besides this, she covers other useful hints to make your stitching look perfect.
Besides covering the basics of materials and set-up, Trish takes the embroiderer through excercises in getting used to long and short stitch – filling in, for example, a simple petal shape. Then she takes you step-by-step through slightly more complicated shapes, showing how to effectively place your stitches and shade the shape. From there, she launches into smaller flower motifs, and then – wow! – a terrific selection of gorgeous flowers!
Each larger flower project includes a line drawing of the flower to use as a pattern; another line drawing that shows the angle or direction the stitches should flow in; a full color, close-up photo of the finished project already stitched; and, in most of the larger flowers, close-ups of different parts of the flower so that you can see it actually stitched and compare it to what yours should look like. And these pictures are INCREDIBLE! Really beautiful stuff!
She also includes a list of DMC and Anchor thread numbers, which makes it really easy to assemble the threads needed for any project in the book – you don’t have to color-match!
My favorite flower in the book is the Protea. It’s amazing! It reminds me of an artichoke, but so beautiful, with vibrant pinks, whites, and greens. Actually, there isn’t any project in the book I don’t like!
The projects would be suitable for any finishing that you would work surface embroidery for – household decor, book covers, whatnot – but they make such a striking finished piece that I would be inclined to frame them! They would make beautiful accents on the walls around the house, and anyone who saw them would look at them in wonder. “That’s embroidered??!!” (I love it when people say that!)
So if you’re not familiar with Trish’s book, take a gander! You’re bound to be impressed! If this is your type of technique, you’ll be glad to have the book in your library. You can pick it up through Amazon for less than $13!
Incidentally, rumor has it (although I haven’t received my copy yet) that this month’s Inspirations magazine features a project by Trish. I’m really looking forward to that!
She’s also coming out with a new book this summer. I believe it’s on crewel work, and it should be fantastic. If it’s the quality of her other books, we have something great to look forward to!
If you’re looking for other embroidery book reviews, check out my list of needlework books I’ve reviewed here on Needle ‘n Thread. You can also check out my bookstore link (Amazon affiliate program). I own every book that I review on Needle ‘n Thread or that I have listed in my bookstore. If you have any questions about any of them in particular, just contact me!