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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A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers – Book Review


Amazon Books

A while before Christmas (golly, the holidays went by fast, didn’t they?), I made a list of a dozen hand embroidery books that would make great gifts.

On that list were a few books that I haven’t reviewed yet for you, and today, I want to share one of them with you.

You see, it’s a gorgeous book. It’s the kind of book that inspires thoroughly. The kind of book that makes you say, Wow! I want to do that!

And it’s unique in many aspects, which makes it doubly desirable.

The book I’m talking about A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox, published by Search Press.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

The cover caught me.

I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

But sometimes – especially with needlework books I’m not familiar with – the cover is what sells the book to me. And this can be a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve bought books with stunning covers that have stellar content and I’ve never regretted the purchase. I’ve bought books with hideous covers with stunning content and I’ve never regretted the purchase (though I have wondered about the cover. Why?).

But you know those books with the gorgeous covers that promise so much but don’t deliver? They just make me sad.

This is not such a book! This book seduces with an eye-catching, vibrant cover, and then goes on to deliver all its promises, and then some.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

What I like especially about A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers is that the author goes beyond silk ribbon.

This is a multi-media approach to silk ribbon embroidery. Within, you’ll find explained and illustrated several unique techniques that will take your silk ribbon embroidery well into the realm of art.

And while there are other books in this genre that also take a multi-media approach, A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers makes the approach much more accessible in my mind (through very good instruction), and much more artistic.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

What do I mean by more artistic?

Hmmm. How to explain? Ann Cox appeals to the inner artist in all of us, by teaching us how to use paint effectively. She shows us how to mix colors and apply them to backgrounds and to ribbons, to change the whole look of the original medium we started with.

I’m no great whiz of a painter (to say the least), but deep down in the Secret Recesses of My Innermost Heart, I’ve always yearned to be one! So I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated reading the sections on painting, and I learned a lot from them!

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about painting whole scenes, complex backgrounds, beautiful gardens in bloom or seascapes and landscapes.

The type of painting in this book is well-placed accent painting – either background elements (like leaves or greenery) or delicate touches to silk ribbons, to give them more depth and to bring them to life.

The book is divided into two sections. The first part of the book is dedicated to the introduction, the materials, and the basic techniques that are used in the projects.

The second part of the book is dedicated to projects – 32 floral pieces, arranged (hence the title) from A-Z. Every letter of the alphabet, save Q, is represented – from Aquilegia and Asters all the way down to Zantedeschia (you thought I’d say zinnia, didn’t you? so did I!)

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

Here, you can see some of the instructions in the first part of the book. They’re all like this – step by step photos, with clear explanations. This approach makes the techniques in the book accessible even for the beginner.

And this is why I love Search Press’s books. They really do crank out some of the most thorough instructional books for arts and crafts.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

You can see that basic techniques are the focus of the first part of the book – everything from preparing your ribbon, to threading ribbon onto a needle, to starting and ending ribbons…

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

…to stitch instructions accompanied by extra tips and even troubleshooting:

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

If your stitch looks like this, this is what you’ve done wrong, and this is how to correct it.

Very thorough!

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

After the basics, the flowers!

At the beginning of this section, there’s a lovely visual index – each flower project is pictured a little larger than postage stamp size, so you can flip right to the project that appeals to you most.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

Each project is accompanied by many close-up photos, a pattern, materials list, and instruction for completing your own floral masterpiece.

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

The photos are exquisite – and they show all the details!

The floral projects range from luscious exuberance…

A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers by Ann Cox

…to serene, understated elegance.

If you love ribbon embroidery, stumpwork, and multi-media techniques, you can’t go wrong with this book.

I think it’s one of those books that you can visit again and again for new ideas, approaches, and inspiration. And with the incredible number of projects included in it, there’s a lot of scope for practicing and perfecting the art of silk ribbon embroidery.

Where to Find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers

You can find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers available through the following book affiliates:

In the US: A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers through Amazon.

And, world-wide, you can find A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers through Book Depository, with free shipping.

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If you’re looking for more books on hand embroidery – including stitch dictionaries, books on specific techniques, books on the history of embroidery, embroidery in fashion, embroidery designs – why not browse through my Embroidery Books page, where you’ll find plenty of embroidery-related books to fire up your own muse!


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(17) Comments

  1. Hi Mary
    Thank you for the review because i was looking forward to buy this book.
    Just now bought this book after reading your review!

  2. Dear Mary

    The A-Z of silk ribbons looks a really great book I love the different types of flowers and I really would be interested in the accent and greenery painting, with so many flowers and styles and techniques to choose from you would never get bored with trying these. Thanks for the review Mary and for sharing this lovely book with us, I’m seriously thinking of buying this for future projects.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Hello, Mrs. Corbet,
    I’ve been seriously considering learning ribbon embroidery. This looks to be a great book; thanks for the review!
    Would you suggest any particular books on ribbon embroidery for someone who wants to start learning the technique and has no experience in the area?

    Thanks a lot!
    Sarah 🙂

  4. I just received this book last weekend. You’re right, it is a lovely book. Having never attempted silk ribbon embroidery before, I need all the help and information I can get. I really appreciated her information about painting the ribbons. It seems more economical to create just the right shade than to search for it and it does seem to add a wonderful, natural quality to the finished product. Of course, I haven’t tried any of this yet. I got the book before I ordered any supplies. I also ordered her other book, Silk Embroidery for Beginners,but the photography and detail in this book are superb. Thanks for putting both of them on your gift list!

  5. Mary,

    I’ve had this book on my wish list for at least a year but couldn’t make up my mind to buy it myself. Now, after your review, I know I must. Thanks so much…I just love your book reviews.

  6. What lovely flowers. Wouldn’t it be fun if millinery became fashionable again and we stroll in an Easter Parade, hats adorned with every silken spring blossom imaginable?

  7. Mary,
    Okay, I’ve added this one to my wish list also. I love ribbon embroidery. This book seems to take it to the next level from your review. I like the idea of painting the ribbon also. I guess I need to start saving up my pennies.

  8. Just be aware that Search Press seem to be re-publishing the A-Z series previously published by Country Bumpkin. If you already have any of their A-Z books, check before purchasing Search Press ones with the same name… it will probably be the same book in a new guise.

  9. I decided that I have quite enough embroidery books and that I was not going to put any more on my wish list. Yeah, and we both know what has just happened, don’t we?!!!

  10. Somehow I have missed this book! The A-Z books have taught me so much already, so I now need this one too. I have already gotten some paints and brushes, but I had never been satisfied with my results. I welcome this new volume. Thank you so much for the review!

  11. G’day Mary,
    That’s the one! Book Depository beaut price for Australia. It’s a done deal. Thank you.
    Cheers, Kath.

  12. You know, you really need to quit reviewing gorgeous, useful books here because I don’t actually need any more books on my wish list.
    Of course there is an easy way to get it off my wish list (and into my hands…)

  13. Hi Mary,

    I have only just embarked on my embroidery journey around June last year and as a complete beginner I find your website and newsletters fantastic, they are both informative and often amusing. I have bought a few books and I find your reviews helpful. I notice you have reviewed quite a few books that aren’t on your books page yet. It is so handy to see all the reviews and their ratings on one page, will you be updating it soon? I look forward to your newsletter arriving in my inbox every morning. Thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge with us.

    Kind regards, Karen.

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