My poor bookshelves were in the throes of upheaval last month – undergoing one of those bouts of organization and purging that must happen – when I came across this gem and I realized that I had not yet shared it with you.
So today’s your lucky day!
Embroideries from an English Garden: Projects and Techniques in Surface Embroidery by Carol Andrews is an Absolute Must for the embroiderer’s library. I don’t say that lightly, either.
Actually, I wonder if I say that too many times, about too many books?
Well, whatever the case – I Absolutely Mean this book is an Absolute Must!
Why? Why another book that’s a Must?
Well, if you have any interest at all in creating realistic looking embroidery, then this book teaches you how to do that, using all kinds of surface embroidery stitches.
The book is both a project book and an instructional book.
The projects in the book are primarily floral – the title clues that pretty clearly.
But it’s the realism that Carol Andrews achieves in those floral pieces that is amazing. Her projects are really beautiful!
The techniques in the book are taught primarily through the projects. The front of the book is loaded with a variety of realistic, beautiful, garden-themed embroidery designs that are worked out in a variety of ways, though needlepainting (long and short stitch shading) figures prominently in most of them.
For each project, there’s a thread list, embroidery notes, and indications on what to stitch where and how, but most of the “how” is found in the back of the book, where each technique is illustrated.
This is part of the “how” section included in one of the projects, and you can see that it addresses each element in the project.
Some of the projects are smaller and simpler. You could easily embroider these small elements in a weekend, learning and practicing the techniques involved, before moving onto one of the larger, more complex projects in the book.
This is a beautiful butterfly! And while many books these days have instructions on needlepainting butterflies, this one, taken in isolation, is a great learning piece. And it is so realistic looking!
Some of the pieces involve beads (like these blackberries), and some involve stumpwork elements, like thread-covered berries and the like.
In the back of the book, where the individual techniques are illustrated and taught, there’s a very nice sampler that you could start with, to learn a whole variety of surface embroidery techniques that lend to creating realistic embroidery.
You can see here an example of the instructions on techniques. The author uses very clear diagrams with precise, coherent explanations to demonstrate how to work every technique in the book.
At the very back of the book, you’ll find the line drawings for all the projects.
This is an excellent, excellent book! I’ve had it on my shelf for a while, and I have no idea why I didn’t review it sooner! It was originally printed in 2006, I believe, and now it’s been reprinted and is widely available again.
You’ll find it ranks up there with the best surface embroidery books, if you’re interested in creating realistic-looking embroideries that fit into the needlepainting category – though they aren’t made up of “only” needlepainting techniques.
Definitely a book to add to your wish list, if you don’t already have it! It’s suitable for beginners and beyond.
Where Can You Find It?
You can find Embroideries from an English Garden through the following book affiliates:
In the US, you can find Embroideries from an English Garden through Amazon.
Worldwide, you can order Embroideries from an English Garden through Book Depository, which offers free shipping world-wide.
Looking for books on other needlework techniques? Want an opinion on a needlework book before you buy it? Feel free to check out my Books page, where I have reviews for over 100 needlework books that are worth adding to your library, or looking for at your local library!