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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Joyful Stitching – Book Review


Amazon Books

Happy Monday! Or should I say, Joyful Monday?

Because today, I’m going to show you a delightful little embroidery book for folks especially interested in folk-style embroidery on wool.

The book is full of bright, cheery color, fun stitches, instruction, and happy projects to stitch!

The book is called Joyful Stitching, and it’s by Laura Wasilowski, of Artfabrik. We’ll take a look at the book up close, and I’ll give you pros, cons, and resources! Come along…

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

It is joyful, isn’t it? The cover alone makes me happy!

Joyful Stitching offers a bright and colorful, simple approach to embroidery combined with wool felt and appliqué.

It’s a relatively short book (64 pages), published by C&T Publishing.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

The book covers 21 embroidery stitches and six projects to create from beginning to end. There are some tips on finishing as well, and some instruction on appliqué.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

As all good embroidery technique and project books do, Joyful Stitching starts with some basic information on fabrics (wool felt in particular), threads (Laura produces her own line of overdyed threads available on her website, but any cottons will work!), tools, and other supplies.

Throughout this section, the author includes tips on organizing threads and materials, along with other good information on getting started.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

There’s a good section on transferring embroidery designs to fabric, and specifically to wool felt, which can be a tricky business. After all, you can’t really trace with wool felt!

Laura offers a few good options for transferring – which, incidentally, can easily be translated into transferring on other difficult fabrics (like dark fabrics or very heavy fabrics).

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

The stitch instructions in the book are presented in step-by-step photos.

Besides the clear instructional steps, these pages jump out in vivid color, too!

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

The projects in the book are simple in form, but a perfect little ground for practicing stitches.

Each project begins with a materials list. We get to see the full finished project, plus plenty of closeups, throughout the instruction.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

Laura leads the reader step-by-step through stitching the project, with explanations and tips along the way.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

The projects in the book consist of the colorful apple you see above, this exuberant heart, a hand, a little house landscape, a folk art garden or bouquet, and, of course, the chipper bird and worm on the cover.

In form, the designs are very simple. It’s the interpretation in different stitches and colors that bring the simple designs dramatically to life!

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

The Folk Art Garden project is where you’ll get a real sense of appliquéing with wool felt, and there are good tips to help you along the way and to put into practice on your own designs.

Joyful Stitching - Book Review

At the end of the book, there’s a simple presentation on finishing ideas – though there are other finishing tips within the projects themselves.

And, finally, you’ll find the line drawings for the projects in the book.

In a Nutshell

A really fun book! If you love wool felt, appliqué, a folksy look, embroidery, texture, and color, Laura’s projects will be right up your stitching alley!


Lovely presentation in color, good instruction, fun projects, very accessible to beginners and terrific even for advanced embroiderers who want to simplify and rev things up with a lot of color!


Not many! The book is a little short, as far as some project books go, but it is reasonably priced and it does what it promises to do – it presents you with some vibrant, happy embroidery projects and takes you step by step through them.

Resources and Where to Find It

Joyful Stitching is available through the following book affiliates:

In the US, you’ll find Joyful Stitching listed here on my Needle ‘n Thread Recommendations page on Amazon.

Worldwide with free shipping, Joyful Stitching is available here through Book Depository.

If you’re looking for hand-dyed threads and fabrics perfect for the projects in Joyful Stitching, you’ll find a nice variety available through Laura’s online shop at Artfabrik.

Looking for more Needlework Book Reviews?

You can find a whole list of books I’ve reviewed here on Needle ‘n Thread on my Books page! Granted, I need to update the list, but if you’ve not browsed it before, perhaps you’ll find books that you’ve been curious about and would like to know what’s inside them!

Hope you have a joyful week! And speaking of joyful, on Wednesday, I’ve got a really beautiful free pattern coming up for you! See you then!


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(7) Comments

  1. I have purchased hand-dyed pearl cotton from Laura (Artfabrik) twice now and will do so again in the future. The hanks are quite large, but split with a friend, they are a good size at a good price! The bright colors and quick-change variegation make them perfect for making interesting and realistic leaves and flowers in my crazy quilting embroidery.

  2. Dear Mary

    Joyful Stiching is as the name suggests a really colourful interesting embroidery book. An unusual embroidery book which is great for those who like wool felt and and simple unusual designs. Thanks Mary for sharing with us Joyful Stitching and for the photos and links on where to purchase the book.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. I’m so glad you reviewed this book, Mary! It’s a delight to page through, full of vibrant color. Stitch instructions, as you say, are excellent, with written instruction as well as pictures. (You can tell Laura teaches.) So it’s a great book for beginners. But anyone who wants to design her own pieces can find instruction and inspiration here: Laura tells readers, and shows them, how to create their own designs using her “improv embroidery” approach. Once you see how it’s done, doing it yourself is easy–and does indeed lead to joyful stitching!

  4. This book looks lovely. The cover had me instantly with its bright colour and gorgeous big stitches 🙂

  5. I am especially fond of embroidering on wool…and of folkloric designs. This inspires me to get going on my unfinished floral “bearskin” rug. The book looks fun and whimsical.

  6. Thank you Mary for your kind review of my book, Joyful Stitching! I’ve learned so much from you and admire your knowledge and generosity. It is your encouragement and inspiration that keeps us stitchers so very happy.
    Best wishes!

  7. Very well done review of Laura’s newest book! I have it as well as her earlier ones and they do deliver well done instructions and Lots of color!

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