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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Yuki Sugashima on The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden


Amazon Books

Yuki Sugashima is an embroiderer from Japan, who writes a beautiful blog Y*Handmade (previously, The Barefoot Shepherdess).

I’ve been reading Yuki’s blog for a long time, since it was Barefoot Shepherdess. Her photos are always gorgeous! And her embroidery is always delicate, clean, neat, and simple – it’s easy on the eyes. She has a lovely style.

Several years ago, Yuki wrote a couple guest posts here on Needle ‘n Thread about dyeing threads. You can find those articles here:

On Natural Dyeing, Part 1
On Natural Dyeing, Part 2

The Big News is Yuki’s new embroidery book, The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden. It’s been recently published and made available in the US and the UK, and it is proving very popular.

I asked Yuki to write about the book for you, so you can hear a little bit about her work and about the book itself. So, here you go – a little bit about Yuki and some photos from her new book. (You can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Yuki Sugashima The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden

It was about six years ago when I first started embroidery. At the time, my crafts of choice were knitting, spinning and natural dyeing. You may even have read my previous guest post here on natural dyeing.

But around that same time, I found a box of embroidery floss among my old craft supplies that I had saved from making friendship bracelets in grade school. Remembering that embroidery was something I had always wanted to try, I thought — why not now?

From the beginning, I was eager to stitch my own designs. With a love of nature and a background in floral design and natural dyeing, I instinctively turned to flowers and other botanical motifs for inspiration.

From local wildflowers to elegant blooms at the florist, or a guidebook of flowers to botanical motifs that are traditionally popular here in Japan, they offer endless potential for lovely embroidery. For, the simplest of flowers can transform into a design that is elegant or cute, modern or classic all depending on the combination of stitches that are applied. It’s no wonder that years later, I’m still fond of stitching flowers– and why my book focuses on these, my favorite subjects.

Yuki Sugashima The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden

The Hand Stitched Flower Garden is a reflection of my passion for flowers and embroidery, designed to encourage others thinking about trying embroidery to get started and introduce techniques beyond the basics to those looking to advance their skills.

The book consists of two parts: a collection of motifs to stitch and project ideas for using those designs. The motifs section is arranged by season and features a variety of botanical motifs with insects here and there, for fun.

These motifs range in difficulty from simple ones using just a few easy stitches to ones that use materials like ribbons and beads or dimensional techniques. So there’s a little bit of a variety of things to provide a taste of different avenues to explore and to show that knowing one extra method can really expand the possibilities.

The projects section features items for the home and fashion accessories, namely, things that can be used in everyday life. I tend to be a practical person and wanted to offer ideas that would be useful in some way, so an embroiderer can enjoy using the finished piece as much as the stitching process.

The projects are generally simple and straightforward to construct to make it easy to adapt them to different motifs and materials. They are intended as blank canvases on which an embroiderer can stitch her favorite motif.

Yuki Sugashima The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden

A simple sketch. A few basic stitches. And most importantly, a will to give it a try. Those, along with fabric, needle and thread are all you need to get started.

Having tried my fair share of handcrafts in the past, I know that sometimes, it takes a little something to go beyond just admiring and planning to try something out. Through this book, I hope to provide that little nudge and introduce you to various stitches and techniques and the effects that can be created with them, so you too, can discover your favorite methods and develop a stitching style that’s all your own.

Yuki Sugashima The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden

Thanks, Yuki!

I have to admit, as soon as I knew Yuki had a book coming out, and as soon as it showed up as a pre-order, it was on my list. I’m still waiting for my copy of The Hand Stitched Flower Garden to arrive – I can’t wait to see it in person! I’ll review it here on Needle ‘n Thread for you, a little bit down the road.

I’ve noticed it’s proving to be a popular book (you can always tell, based on how fast the first batches move through places like Amazon, Book Depository, and the like). So, if the book strikes a chord with you, I’d get it now rather than later!

Where to Find

You can find The Hand Stitched Flower Garden through the following book affiliates:

In the US, you can find the hard-copy version through Amazon, here.

You can find the paperback version through Amazon US, here. Keep in mind that the paperback version on Amazon US is coming from the UK, so the shipping times will be much longer.

Worldwide, you can find the paperback edition of The Hand Stitched Flower Garden through Book Depository, with free shipping.


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(15) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    The Hand Stitched Flower Garden sounds really good and great for everyday projects which would make lovely Christmas or other presents and I look forward to your review Mary on the book. The photos on your home page are lovely and simple thanks Yuki for sharing your site with us look forward to your book. Thanks Mary for sharing Yuki’s new book and site with us it looks really good.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Hi Marie,
    Yes, a really interesting book, his approach can positively help especially for the use of points in a personal conception. Except that I and English, we are not really friends, I try yet …
    Thank you Marie

  3. I just ordered the hardcopy version at Amazon. I’ve been hoping something would inspire me since I’ve been in a stitching slump for a while. Maybe this will do the trick. I visited her blog very briefly and will be returning. So elegant and peaceful and beautiful. Sigh!

  4. Ohhhhh, Yuki’s blog! Besides the fact that her work is perfection itself, it’s very soothing to read and wander around her site.

    Awhile back, on the old blog, she won my heart when she posted about using her son’s Lego blocks to make a support for her embroidery frame. I’d once done the same thing for my quilting hoop, so I felt rather vindicated and decided that she must be a genius.

    “The Hand Stitched Flower Garden” is on my wish list…maybe Santa will bring it for me? 😉

  5. Hi
    The Hardcover version says over 45 beautiful projects & the other says Over 40, which is correct?
    Do both books have the same number of projects? Is the content identical in both versions?


  6. Hi Mary
    I have Yuki’s book which I bought in france but unfortunately it doesn’t recommend any suppliers – which is frustrating. Are you able to advise reputable sites to buy – I am particularly interested in the embroidery frame with thumb tacks.

    Follow you on Facebook with great interest.

    Best wishes

  7. Every time I open “The Hand Stitched Flower Garden” book it’s like a ‘discovery garden’ full of emotional delight, even if I haven’t threaded a needle. One of the best books on the market to embroidery dainty, lovely flowers. Jo

  8. thank you for your website. It is really good for a beginner to learn about embroidery. I started about 5 months ago and took on the Party in Provence. On the way, I learnt about different types of linen and was “forced” to do repetitive stitching. I then discovered the pleasure and satisfaction that embroidery gives. Party in Provence is finally finished. I am very pleased with it. Now – what do I do with it? Thinking of making a cushion or part of a quilt.
    Again, thank you and I look forward to your weekly emails

    Gaik Foong

  9. Hi Mary! I just received a copy of this book because I loved the Spring Snowflake Scissor Case and I want to make it. The problem that I’m having is Yuki listed 3 mm white silk ribbon and I can only find 2mm & 4mm. Would you kindly make a suggestion on which size you would use or if you have a source of 3mm? Thank you so much, Mary!

    1. I don’t use a lot of silk ribbon – and when I do, it’s 2mm or 4mm. Can you substitute one of those and get an equally good outcome? Probably ! 1mm isn’t that much of a difference, unless the design is absolutely miniscule. Otherwise, I suppose you might look for Japanese silk ribbon suppliers, as they might have that size.

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