It’s been mighty quiet here on Needle ‘n Thread for the past week – I hope you didn’t miss me too much! I missed you, though, and I’m really happy to be back today! For those who have asked, yes, I’ve been a bit ill this week, but I’m crawling out of it now, and things are getting back to normal. Thanks for all the encouragement!
To help celebrate this resurgence of energy, today I want to review a Very Energetic book for you. It’s Hazel Blomkamp’s newest book, called Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork, and let me tell you right off the bat – it’s different.
It’s not your typical needlework book. It’s a bit crazy, just like the name implies…but in a good, good way!
When my copy of Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork first arrived, I had to tackle it in several sittings. Often, I approach a book with a pre-conceived set of expectations. This isn’t always the best way to approach a book, as it tends to limit your access to the book from the start.
“Crazy Patchwork” = “Crazy Quilting Book” was my first mistake, although…
…you can understand why I had that pre-conceived notion, right? If this isn’t crazy quilting, what is?
But that’s just the thing. Hazel’s book is more – much more – than a how-to on crazy quilting.
If I were to categorize the book somehow, now that I know the book, I’d call it “surface-embroidery-and-other-needlework-meet-extreme-crazy-quilting-that-is-mostly-surface-embroidery-and-other-needlework.”
And that’s about as clear as mud.
Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork is definitely a technique book. But it combines So Very Many techniques, that it’s more of a needleworker’s creative manual. It teaches you how to do certain techniques, while opening those techniques up to some fantastically creative applications.
The foundation of the book is the notion of crazy quilting.
But it’s not just a crazy quilting book. It’s a needlework technique book, first and foremost, and then a project book, with some projects grounded in crazy quilting and some projects surface embroidery that looks like crazy quilting.
The book starts out covering materials, tools, supplies and so forth, as any needlework instructional book does.
From there, Hazel introduces us to the basic techniques of crazy quilting so that, if you choose to apply the techniques in the book to crazy quilting, you have a foundation to work on.
Then, she teaches us gobs and gobs of stitching techniques, from individual stitches…
…to stitch combinations…
…to simple and more complex needle lace techniques…
…to needle weaving techniques…
…to bead embroidery techniques…
…and more – including surface embroidery techniques like long & short stitch shading… and even tatting!
And throughout all the instruction, there are gorgeous close-up photos of beautiful embroidery samples featuring the huge variety of stitching techniques offered throughout the book.
After the techniques section, we get into the projects.
There are five projects in the book, and while they all bear some resemblance to crazy quilting, they aren’t all crazy quilting projects. Some are embroidery projects that look like crazy quilting, but don’t involve patching together fabric.
Each project has a thorough materials list, followed by step-by-step instructions for completing the project.
The step-by-steps for each project refer the reader back to the technique instructions, so that the stitcher has a thorough understanding of how to accomplish each step.
The project above, Nightshade, is a surface embroidery project. It hints at crazy quilting, but it doesn’t involve any patchwork.
There are also finishing instructions for projects that result in made items, such as a basket cover and a Christmas stocking.
At the end of the book, you’ll find all the patterns for each stitching adventure!
In a Nutshell
Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork is oh-so-much-more than a crazy quilting book, so don’t let the cover or title fool you. If you’re looking for a crazy quilting book, oh yes! It fits the bill! But it’s also a surface embroidery book, a needle lace book, a needle weaving book, a bead embroidery book, a tatting manual, and a magnificent idea book.
Like all of Hazel’s books, it’s different! It goes where other needlework books haven’t gone before.
And it’s definitely worth putting on your wish list! In fact, I’d say it’s one of those books that’s going to sell out of the first printing. Just my guess. Could be wrong. But it appeals on so many levels, that I think a lot of people are going to want it!
Where to Find
You can find Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork through the following book affiliates:
In the US, you can find Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork here, through Amazon.
World-wide, with free shipping, you can find Hand-Stitched Crazy Patchwork here, through Book Depository.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a local needlework shop with a good selection of books, don’t hesitate to ask for it there, too!