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 Passion for Needlework: Book Review


Amazon Books

Prepare yourself for Something Stunning.

I’m telling you, this book is all about beauty and presentation! If you want a needlework book to drool over, to sigh over, to practically cry over – this is it.

A Passion for Needlework, published this year by Inspirations, features a drop-dead-gorgeous collection of needlework projects that will woo you into a dreamy world of dazzling, delightful, sumptuous embroidery.

Whether you buy this book for inspiration, for instruction, or just for decoration, you’re definitely going to want it in your library (or, more likely, on your coffee table!). Put it on your Christmas wish list!

A Passion for Needlework

When I pre-ordered A Passion for Needlework from Book Depository, I really had no idea what to expect from the book, beyond one thing: I knew it would be beautiful.

Why? Because it’s coming from Inspirations. They publish the world’s most beautiful embroidery magazine. Their books have always been equally beautiful.

Meandering around one day through lists of upcoming needlework books, I came across this one. I thought, That will be a pretty book. And my readers will want to know about it. And so I’ll order it.

That’s as far as my thinking process went. I pretty much forgot about the book until it arrived week before last.

When I opened the package, I just wasn’t prepared!

I don’t know if I’ve ever been flabbergasted by an embroidery book. But I think this one did it. It’s just that pretty.

A Passion for Needlework

See, the book is huge – and I don’t mean size-wise. While it’s a nicely sized book (9.5″ x 11″, about 1/2″ thick, nice cover, good quality paper, amazing color, and a satin ribbon bookmark to boot), the huge impact comes from the photos of the needlework within.

This is a book that gets close and personal with all the embroidery!

The whole book revolves around the photography of the twelve projects that unfold inside its cover.

A Passion for Needlework

For every project, you’ll find close-up photos that show astonishing stitching detail.

This is eye candy at it’s best!

A Passion for Needlework

The projects in A Passion for Needlework range from colorful silk embroidery, to whitework embroidery, elegant monogramming, stumpwork, textured embroidery, scenic embroidery. It is quite an array!

A Passion for Needlework

For the floral enthusiast, the book is a goldmine. You’ll find Jane Nicholas’s stumpwork floral creations, Susan O’Connor’s contemporary interpretations of 17th century floral stitchery…

A Passion for Needlework

…and floral accents on delicate linen surrounding decorative initials.

A Passion for Needlework

But there’s much more than flowers here!

Jenny McWhinney’s “Falling Leaves” projects – which include a tree bedecked in autumn splendor and an owl surrounded by fall foliage – is especially captivating this time of year!

Other projects include a whitework and drawn thread piece, stumpwork berries and leaves, a highly textured beach scene, and a proud peacock in stumpwork and other techniques, from designers Deborah Love, Lorna Bateman, Judy Wilford, Alison Cole.

You’ll find Trish Burr doing what she does best, with one of her exquisite needle painted birds; a sweet stumpwork posy by Julie Kniedl; a woodland scene by Jo Butcher featuring birch bark so real you could almost peel it.

Twelve projects in all – and every one of them, gorgeous!

The book begins with a photographic overview of all the projects, with a little blurb about each one.

A Passion for Needlework

Then, it’s broken down into the individual projects.

Each project begins with a detailed list of stitches used and materials required.

A Passion for Needlework

The instructions for the project follow next, with enough detail to follow along and succeed in reproducing it.

The book is not super-heavy on instruction, though, making it more suitable, I think, for someone who is already a fairly competent stitcher – although the projects range in difficulty, so it really depends on your personal level and your motivation to work the project!

A Passion for Needlework

Some of the instructions rely more on text than on visual aids. When reading through each project from start to finish, though, the written instructions are clear. In most cases, the designer takes you step by step through each detail.

A Passion for Needlework

Some projects include step-by-step photos for the various techniques employed…

A Passion for Needlework

…while others rely on small diagrams here and there to clarify the text.

A Passion for Needlework

In the back of the book, there’s a brief stitch glossary with diagrams for all the basic stitches employed in the various projects.

A Passion for Needlework

And finally, in the very back of the book – in true Inspirations fashion – you’ll find a pull out section with all the patterns.

Pros & Cons

Well, the pros are obvious! It’s a gorgeous book. You’ll find vast inspiration here! The book is well made, it’s enjoyable to look at. The projects are varied and lovely.

On the con side, if it’s really a con, I’d say the book relies more on eye-candy to really WOW the reader, rather than on in-depth instruction. But it works! The instruction is not extensive, but like I said above, it’s enough and it’s clear. A competent stitcher should have no problem successfully completing any of the projects. An aspiring stitcher who is well-motivated should be able to handle them, too.

Where to Find It

A Passion for Needlework is available through the following affiliates and other needlework book sources:

In the US, A Passion for Needlework is available here through Amazon for pre-order.

Worldwide, with free shipping, it’s available here through Book Depository, shipping from the UK within two business days.

You can find the book available right now in the US here through Wooly Thread.

If you live in Australia, you’ll find it here, through Stitchology, where some of the projects are also available here as kits.

Christmas is Coming!

If you don’t spring for the book right now, at least add it to your holiday wish list. You’re gonna love it!


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(10) Comments

  1. So lovely – I went straight from your post to my library’s website and requested them to purchase this so we can all enjoy it!

  2. Dear Mary

    Such an array of projects and different embroidery techniques that the book A Passion for Needlework looks a very stylish book and the photos are beautiful. I like the fact that enclosed in the book are the patterns and the stitch glossary for each pattern. With such an array of projects it would suit all embroidery enthusiast and be able to teach new embroidery techniques. I shall certainly put this book on my wish list especially as Christmas is on the horizon you never know. Thanks for sharing Inspiration A Passion for Needlework with us and for the lovely photos.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. I too ordered this book because I’m a digital subscriber to the Magazine. I’m in the UK and had to order it direct. The cost of postage was almost as expensive as the book itself but I am not sorry I ordered it. I too found the book breathtaking and beautiful. I’ve already begun the autumn leaf tree project and am spoiled for choice which one to do next. This book is GORGEOUS and I love love love it.

  4. What a beautiful book! I’ve bought several Country Bumpkin project books and have yet to make one project from any of them. Isn’t that typical? You mention that there is not a lot of step by step instructions, but maybe the company assumes that the buyers will have several of the A-Z books for the detailed instructions. I certainly do.

  5. Thank you Mary.

    With that wonderful review, I have just purchased it.

    Hurry up lovely Post person.

    Take Care.

  6. Ohhh … sigh! 🙂 What a beautiful book! I have had my eye on this every since the preview emails arrived in my inbox and it is high up on my wishlist. However, the Home Sweet Home reprint arrived almost the same time and I prioritised on that for now. But there are so many beautiful projects here. I particularly love the stumpwork project and the white work design … although they are all delightful. Thanks for your review. Do you think the A-Z stitching books would fill in any of the gaps in the instructions for a less experienced embroiderer?

  7. Hm, diagram for the buttonhole stitch doesn’t look right…I think lower thread should be above the needle…maybe I’m wrong

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