A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth by Susan O’Connor, published by Country Bumpkin, was released, and today, I want to show you the book up close. It’s a beautiful book featuring a beautiful project – but it’s more than that!
The main project featured in the book Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth is a gorgeous wool blanket divided in diamond-shaped panes, and displaying a selection of hand embroidered flowers that reflect the style of the Elizabethan era (the Renaissance in England). Susan O’Connor, whose embroidery designs always capture my eye, has really written a winner of a needlework book with this one! It is fantastic – the book is beautiful in every sense of the word, and the designs within are versatile.
While it is certainly a project book – a how-to book – it is so pretty that it deserves a nice spot in your home for display. It would look great on the coffee table! The quality of the book is Country Bumpkin quality – they do produce the most gorgeous needlework books!
The blanket itself is striking: diamond shaped panes reminiscent of Tudor windows, the black panes outlined with gold stitching on a cream ground speckled with the colorful flowers. It’s a very sophisticated design.
The book begins with a short history of the Elizabethan era. There’s not a whole lot “new” in this section – it’s your typical text-book history that doesn’t delve into primary sources. The section following the “history” moves into the textiles of the era, and this much more interesting. Here, you’ll discover the significance of the flowers featured in the book.
After this brief introduction, instructions are given on setting up the blanket project, placing and embroidering the panes on the blanket.
But what if you’re not really into making and embroidering blankets? Oh! Never fear! This book is a perfect multi-project book for anyone who loves embroidered floral designs, all of which are suitable for a variety of needlework techniques.
The book is broken down by floral motif. Each section on each floral arrangement begins with a clear color photo of the finished floral design.
The floral design is followed by a materials list and stitching instructions. Paternayan wool is used for the embroidery on the blanketl. But for those not interested so much in wool embroidery, never fear – there’s a handy thread conversion chart in the back of the book.
Besides the general stitching instructions for the whole motif, there are step-by-step photos for the different stitches used in each motif. If you appreciate other Country Bumpkin publications (for example, the A-Z Series of Needlework books), you will certainly like these step-by-step photos.
Oooooooh. My Absolute Favorite in the Whole Book is this Pea & English Daisy design. I just love it! I love the greens, I love the peas, I love the daisies, I just love this motif! It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
After the larger floral motifs comes a section on smaller designs. These are like a little sampling taken from the larger floral designs – they’re little, sweet, perfect designs that could be stitched individually (relatively quickly) for a variety of applications, such as needlebook covers, pin keeps (as shown in the book), or whatever your imagination can devise!
Following the embroidery instructions are the instructions for constructing the blanket. One reader mentioned that these instructions are a bit confusing. After reading through them, I think that someone who has constructed blankets or quilts before would find the assembly instructions clear enough. They aren’t necessarily written for an absolute beginner, but I do think they are manageable.
The thread conversion chart towards the end of the book gives color numbers for DMC stranded cotton and Au Ver a Soie silk (Soie d’Alger). The author specifies the difference in stitching, should you choose a different thread to work with.
Some suggestions are given for individual projects with the small motifs. Very pretty! I love the addition of the gold spangles around the flowers.
And finally, the last section of the book is filled with all the line drawings, as well as drawings that indicate stitch direction.
All in all, the book is everything I was hoping it would be! The designs are so pretty, and oh, the possibilities! Silk shading, stumpwork, goldwork, whitework – the designs are versatile and easily adaptable to other techniques.
You can find Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth at several places online:
Country Bumpkin Publications – located in Australia; the book costs AU$34.95. For those ordering outside Australia, be prepared to pay shipping costs and, where applicable, customs duty.
The Book Depository (Thanks, Irene!) – this is located in the UK, but shipping worldwide is free. I ordered a copy from here ($21.81) and had it within a week.
Amazon UK – Though not available on Amazon in the States yet, the book can be found on Amazon UK for £13.27 (US$20.22 right now).
And, finally, this weekend, I’ll be giving away a free copy of Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth, so keep an eye out for the give-away!