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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.