Once upon a time, when I was a kid (ok, back in the late 1900’s – like, 1999 – when I wasn’t really a kid), I came across The A-Z of Bullions on my sister’s bookshelf.
My next-oldest sister has always been My Hero when it comes to churning out arts, crafts, real cooking, and pretty much All Things Handmade. If she turns her hand to something that requires Making, she’s generally successful at it.
Heirloom sewing (this hand embroidered First Communion dress, for example) was one of her first loves. Long before I ever got into real embroidery, she was stitching bullion knots on her children’s clothes.
But then, that’s because she’s So Much Older than I am.
It’s no wonder, then, that, once upon a time back in 1999, I found the A-Z of Bullions on her bookshelf.
And given my growing infatuation with embroidery, it’s equally no wonder that I absconded with it.
This is the book that taught me how to work bullion knots easily and with confidence.
And it’s one of the many A-Z books that have been recently republished by Search Press, this one under the title of A-Z of Embroidered Motifs.
A-Z of Embroidered Motifs, newly republished by Search Press, focuses primarily on small embroidered motifs and vignettes that incorporate bullion knots.
The book appeals to embroiderers from lots of different angles. If you’re a crazy quilter, if you like dimensional embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, stumpwork, and the like, if you love to stitch gardens, or if you just like stitching small things here and there, now and then – you’ll love this book!
The book begins with the basics, including general information on threads, needles, fabrics, hoops, how to transfer designs, and tips for lefties.
From there, it launches into step-by-step instructions for starting and ending threads, and for working various types of bullion knots – the basic bullion, bullion loops, couched bullions, tapered bullions, very long bullions, and different bullion roses.
Throughout the book, you’ll find short articles on bullion embroidery from various contributors, like Kris Richards (you can find a beautiful bullion rose embroidery design by Kris here, available as a free download), Lesley Turpin-Delport and Susan O’Connor.
The rest of the book? It’s devoted to the motifs, of course!
The motifs are divided into the following types: An alphabet, animals, Australian animals, Christmas, Flowers, Food, Miscellaneous, Nursery, Roses, and – (no, really!) – Transport.
Transport might sound like a strange category for embroidery, but it’s filled with delightful little transportation-related motifs, from sailboats to airships (or blimps) to hot air balloons, bi-planes, helicopters, and rockets!
Each motif in the book is accompanied by a materials list (if you want to re-create it exactly as shown in the book), a stitch layout guide (what stitches are used where), a pattern, a photo of the finished motif, and, often, a small watercolor rendition of it.
Some of the motifs are larger than others and can stand alone as little embroidery projects, like the flower cart above…
…or – my favorite! – the fishing frog.
Other motifs are smaller, perfect for accenting children’s clothing, for adding to larger projects like samplers or embroidered gardens, for making embroidered ornaments and the like, or just for a little special embroidered touch on… just about anything!
The animals in the book, by the way, are all just adorable – from cats to butterflies, bees to squirrels, ladybugs, poodles, ducks, bunnies, sheep, lions, wombats and more – there are heaps of bullion animal motifs!
In the back of the book, you’ll find a section of clear line drawings for each motif, so that you can trace out guidelines on your fabric.
All in all, A-Z of Embroidered Motifs is a jolly fun book! The instruction is excellent, and with over 120 motifs to embroider, it offers a glorious amount of stitching entertainment!
Pros & Cons, in a Nutshell
In the book, you’ll find great instruction on all kinds of bullion knots, used in all kinds of ways. You’ll find lots of little designs that can be used individually for quick projects or that can be grouped together into your own design concoctions. And of course, the book is beautiful.
The book does not instruct on any other stitches used in the various motifs. There aren’t a lot of other stitches used, though. Those that are, are basic stitches (in fact, you can find instructions for all of them here on Needle ‘n Thread, for free). If you have a stitch dictionary on hand or access to the internet, this won’t really be a drawback.
Where to Find A-Z of Embroidered Motifs
If you happen to have a local needlework shop that caters to a broader spectrum of stitching interests than most, you might find it there.
But if you’re like me and you have to seek out your embroidery supplies online, you can find A-Z of Embroidered Motifs through the following book affiliates:
Worldwide, you can find A-Z of Embroidered Motifs through Book Depository, with free worldwide delivery.