Today, I’m going to review for you an absolutely luscious needlework book called Delicious Embroidery, by the mother-daughter team of Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nikki Delport-Wepener. It’s brand new on the market, and you won’t find it too widely available right now, but I’ll list some sources at the end of the article.
As the name implies, Delicious Embroidery loosely parallels a cookbook approach towards the embroidery and mixed media projects within.
It’s a fun and fascinating book, for both its instructional content and its visual content – it’s definitely one of those books that deserves Coffee-Table Status. I think even non-embroiderers would enjoy browsing through it and marveling at the contents!
If you’re familiar with Embroidered Flora & Fauna, written also by the Turpin-Delport-Delport-Wepener team, you’ll already know what type of embroidery to expect within the pages of Delicious Embroidery. Much of it is dimensional in nature and involves all kinds of glorious fibers mixed together for really interesting results.
But… some of the embroidery within is regular surface embroidery, too, so if mixed media and dimensional embroidery isn’t really your thing, you’ll still find plenty to inspire within the pages of Delicious Embroidery.
The book overall is aimed towards stitchers with some background. I’d say it’s for intermediate needleworkers and beyond, although a beginner will certainly find plenty of inspiration within and some projects that are accessible.
The book is divided into five main sections:
1. Just for Starters – which includes basic background information on tools and materials for stitching
2. New Flavours – offering general instructions and tips on working with your cloth, working with textured threads and natural fibers, working three-dimensional embroidery, and some uncommon stitches and combinations
3. On the Menu – Projects – where you’ll find 18 different projects to work, using the techniques highlighted in the book
4. Templates, Watercolors, and Drawings
5. Stitch Glossary
It’s in this first section, New Flavours, that you’ll find the majority of in-depth instruction in the book.
For example, this is where you’ll find instructions for things like transferring photocopied photos to your ground fabric…
…for embroidering with ribbon…
…for using your computer and ink-jet printer to print images on your ground fabric…
…for shading in embroidery.
There are heaps of instructional tips and techniques in this first main section of the book, covering what you need to know to tackle the projects that follow.
The projects are loosely grouped and presented as part of a daily menu, to keep things going with the “delicious embroidery” theme.
Keep in mind, not all the embroidery features food. Some of it is not food-related at all, some of it is loosely food-related (bugs, for example, as pollinators and part of the food chain) – but the theme serves as a cute organizational tool.
Each project includes finished pictures of the embroidery (like the rooster and chickens and little chicks on these egg cozies), a list of “ingredients” or materials, and an indication of the techniques and stitches used.
Dragonflies are featured in the bread-related project, which is an embellished bread cloth and napkins for the table.
So, while there’s a “Bread” section on the breakfast part of the menu, the embroidery isn’t really bread-related. It’s bug-related.
I’m just clarifying this, so that you aren’t expecting a lot of embroidered food – there is some embroidered food (like the figs featured in Embroidered Flora and Fauna, along with a other fruits, vegetables, herbs, a cupcake, and the like), but there are also flowers, bugs, teacups, ocean crustaceans, live chickens, live fish, and so forth.
In short, you’re not going to find projects for embroidered bacon & eggs, bouillabaisse, rib roast, fish & chips, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, or anything like that.
But you will find mushrooms.
Even big mushrooms!
Each project is also accompanied by a line drawing with stitch & technique placements indicated, as you can see above.
There’s a fantastic speckled trout project on the supper menu!
And there’s a lovely section on herbs, embroidered.
And of course, no day is complete without teatime! One of the projects here focuses on an embroidered antique Spode teacup and the other, on a cupcake.
Under the insects section is where you’ll find this lovely butterfly project, along with a project featuring multiple grasshoppers.
The butterfly fits in with pollinators (that’s how the authors work it into the food-related theme), but I’m not sure about the grasshoppers. How do you like yours? Chocolate covered? Or fried crispy?
In the back of the book, you’ll find the line drawings for all the projects within…
…followed by a stitch glossary made up of basic stitch diagrams.
Pros & Cons
1. While being thoroughly instructional, the book is also beautiful, interesting, and even amusing in a sense.
2. You’ll find a wide variety and range in the projects.
3. There’s all kinds of meat here for the fiber artist who likes to play with all kinds of textiles and fibers and threads and such, along with all kinds of tips for interesting approaches to embroidery.
4. You’ll find some excellent tips on some unusual stitches and combinations that can carry forward into your own embroidery projects.
1. This point depends a bit on your personality and sense of humor, I think. If your personality type doesn’t go in for fun gimmicks, you might find the book a little irritating in the way it’s set up. I didn’t notice it at first – I really enjoyed reading through the book, looking at the fiber art within, admiring the photography, and interacting with the theme. Because food blogs, cookbooks, and the foodie lifestyle are so big now, though, the food theme can seem kind of gimmicky. I like fun gimmicks if they’re cleverly done, so that didn’t bother me. It did bother a couple friends, though – they thought the book was “trying too hard” to fit an organized food theme.
This is the thing: Don’t buy the book for the theme! Add the book to your library for the ideas, instructions, and inspiration within!
2. The book is similar to Embroidered Flora & Fauna, and you’ll see some repeated information in this book. But it definitely goes beyond Embroidered Flora & Fauna with new projects, different techniques, and lots of new inspiration. If you liked Embroidered Flora & Fauna, you’ll love Delicious Embroidery.
3. It’s a little difficult to get ahold of the book right now. But I’m sure it will be more widely available soon.
Where to Find
The only place I know of right now where you can order Delicious Embroidery is through All Threads in Australia. I think it’s the first place to have it in stock!
It is published by Les Designs, which is the online home of Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nikki Delport-Wepener (located in Hong Kong, I believe), so I am sure that they will be carrying the book soon, too.
If you know of any places carrying Delicious Embroidery, feel free to leave a link to the shop below, and I’ll update the list of where to purchase the book as I find more sources for it.