Seems like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Whitework with color?
Whitework with Colour is Trish Burr’s latest embroidery book – and it’s a doozy! It’s a hard-cover, large project and instructional book that incorporates techniques that normally would be seen in whitework (as in, white-on-white embroidery), but that, in her book, are worked in a combination of whitework threads and colored threads, employing many surface embroidery techniques that are often seen in whitework.
So, while technically, Whitework with Colour does not concentrate on whitework per se, the techniques, materials, and approaches to the actually stitching are reminiscent of whitework. Trish’s ingenious incorporation of color brings to life the varied and vivid embroidery projects in the book.
Let’s take a look at the book in detail, shall we?
Whitework with Colour by Trish Burr is a hardcover book publishing by Sally Milner.
The book features a collection of embroidery projects that have a unique look to them. You can definitely see a relation between the projects in the book and the design elements found in products of the coloring book / zentangle craze in the arty-crafty scene of today. They’re mostly contemporary designs full of striking patterns that work well for exploring texture, shading, and fillings in embroidery.
Not all the designs are super contemporary, though. You’ll also find some very traditional looking Jacobean-type designs in the book, if your tastes lean more towards the calmer, classic design styles.
Still, they’re all approached in much the same way, as far as the embroidery goes – each design seems to exude that zentangle-coloring-book look that’s in right now, giving them a contemporary flair that’s different and fun.
The book begins with all the background information you need to work any of the projects in the book, or to work pretty much any surface embroidery project.
Tools, fabrics, threads, project set-up – it’s all covered in the first section of the book, and this is followed by a section on techniques and a section on color.
If you’re especially keen on instruction, you’ll find some great instructional treasures in the techniques section at the beginning of the book.
The instructions for various approaches to satin stitch, for example, are solid gold. A lot of folks are intimidated by satin stitch, but Trish lays out very good advice on how to produce beautiful, professional-looking satin stitching, whether in shapes, on curves, padded, and so forth.
There’s also a section on color.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Trish’s work with color! Her book, Colour Confidence in Embroidery (reviewed here), is an excellent resource for embroiderers.
But when it comes to a book this size, focusing on a specific style of embroidery, chances are, you are drawn to it by the projects within, so let’s talk projects!
Each project section contains everything you need to know to work the project: a photo of the completed project, line drawings of the design (with stitch and color layout), materials list, and stitching instructions. You’ll also find extra hints and tips scattered here and there to help you complete each project successfully.
There are 17 projects in the book, ranging from classic Jacobean-esque embroidery designs…
…to “still life” designs (simple flowers, complex flowers, vase, a teacup with flowers and the like)
…to contemporary and lively designs (here’s a nod to the 70’s – and who doesn’t love a Bug?)
…to vibrant landscape designs that flow with movement….
…to wildlife designs. A lion, a zebra.
Of course, we are talking about Trish Burr here, whose needlepainted birds are simply amazing, so I wasn’t surprised to find a bird in the mix, too!
Each project has its appeal! I suspect that stitchers will be drawn to the projects that reflect their own tastes in design style (which is always the case).
In short, though, there’s pretty much something for everyone here. It’s quite a spectrum of subjects for stitching, but they’re all tied together with the very unique look that Trish has developed in her explorations of whitework embroidery techniques mixed with color.
While satin stitch plays a major role in all the projects in this book, and while other stitches (line stitches, lattice fillings, seed stitches) play a role as well, I have to say, it’s always Trish’s needlepainting (long and short stitch shading) that makes my little stitching heart sing!
Her shading is always exquisite, no matter what project it’s featured in!
In a Nutshell
Get it! You’ll love it!
I’d classify this book primarily as a project book, more than a technique book. The techniques employed in the projects are techniques typical of surface embroidery in general, so if you already have a handle on surface embroidery, it’s definitely the projects you’re after in this book! At the same time, you’ll learn a lot from the technique section and the color section, whether you’re a beginner or a an advancing stitcher.
Overall, it’s the projects in this book that are the main attraction. And the projects are, in short, enticing. They’re appealing on so many levels – texture, color blending, filling, design styles – so many points of appeal!
The book is suitable for beginners and beyond. Even if you’re just starting out with stitching, you can tackle the projects in this book. Some are larger and more complex than others, and some are great for just starting out.
The projects – they’re gorgeous, they’re fun, they’re unique. And there’s plenty of instruction to go along with them, making it accessible to all levels of embroiderers.
The book is affordable.
Not many! I’m not a huge fan of hardcover project books, because they don’t always open and lay out as easily, but binding and such aside, the project content is what it’s all about!
Where to Find It
You can find Whitework with Color available through the following book affiliates:
In the US, Whitework with Color is available here through Amazon. It is due for release on March 7, 2017 in the US, and you can pre-order it now.
Worldwide with free shipping, you’ll find Whitework with Color available now, through Book Depository.