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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Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway – Book Review


Amazon Books

I love it when Yvette Stanton publishes another embroidery embroidery book in her ever-growing library of fine needlework instructional and projects books!

Though “whitework” often comes to mind when I think of Yvette stitching away down there in Australia, she actually does work with color, too, and her newest book is a very clear indication of that.

Smøyg: Pattern Darning from Norway explores a world of vivid color in geometric designs, worked traditionally in Norwegian costume but perfectly applicable to contemporary embroidery projects as well.

This is a project and instructional book, so in it, you will learn the history and techniques of Smøyg while working through a multitude of accessible and colorful needlework projects.

Let’s take a look at the book up close, so that you can see what Smøyg is all about!

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

Yvette’s books are all self-published so that she retains full creative and editorial control over them, but this book – outside of Australia and New Zealand – is published as a joint venture with Search Press.

The book is 104 pages, covering the history of Smoyg, its characteristics and uses, and focusing on 13 projects with clearly diagrammed stitch instructions and step-by-step methods for creating and finishing the projects.

The projects are a combination of traditional and contemporary – traditional in the designs and execution of the embroidery, but contemporary in their finished use. They vary in complexity, from small, accessible, and relatively quick projects to more complex finishes for clothing and household use.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

The Table of Contents demonstrates, right off the bat, that the book covers a lot!

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

The history and cultural background of Smøyg makes fun and fascinating reading, if you like learning about regional embroidery, how it develops, how it’s used, and so forth.

I always love the history part of any specific technique book, and Yvette’s are always enjoyable to read, well-researched, and well-illustrated.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

The patterns and colors of Smøyg are captivating!

The stitching technique is predominantly pattern darning – that is, running stitch worked over the grid of linen in specific geometric patterns by following a chart. So it is a counted technique, but one that shares characteristics of surface embroidery.

You’ll find satin stitch and other techniques mixed in here and there, but overall, it’s the simple running stitch worked in different configurations that makes up the striking patterns of Smøyg.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

As always, the book is packed with historical and cultural information on the uses for the technique, with loads of photos to illustrate!

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

I love the colors and patterns! This particular example demonstrates how color changes the look and feel of the same pattern – which is a good lesson for any kind of embroidery.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

While the beginning of the book is packed with very readable background information, don’t forget that it’s an instructional and project book, too!

So there’s a thorough explanation of materials commonly used for Smøyg…

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

…followed by the projects section.

Here’s where it gets really fun!

Yvette always includes a nice array of projects that range in complexity, so that the beginner can work through them, learning and progressing along the way – or the experienced embroiderer can jump right in to something a little more advanced.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

Each project includes finishing instructions for whatever the thing is – in the photo above, there’s a pretty little drawstring jewelry bag (which would also make a nice sachet bag, I think…)

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

I absolutely LOVE this needle book / pin keep! This is the project I want to make from this book!

I like everything about it, from the pattern to the contemporary color selection. It’s lovely!

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

Every project has a complete materials list, along with instructions for creating and finishing and all the charts necessary for stitching.

For sampler lovers, the band sampler – long and narrow, colorful, and full of fun patterns – is fantastic!

Other projects include very small items, like pattern-darned jewelry pendants, to bookmarks, to larger items like a linen blouse with a gorgeous Smøyg collar.

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

After the projects, you’ll find a thorough techniques section…

Smoyg: Pattern Darning from Norway by Yvette Stanton

…where all the techniques, stitches, tips and hints necessary for successfully completing the projects are clearly laid out in easy to read charts and diagrams.

Finally, there is a removable patterns packet in the back of the book, for construction and finishing of the projects.

In a Nutshell

Yvette’s books are always excellent. They’re intelligently and thoroughly written, beautifully illustrated, full of clear and easy-to-grasp instruction and wonderful finished projects.

Smøyg: Pattern Darning from Norway is no exception!

I think the book will appeal to surface and counted embroiderers alike. There’s something so mesmerizing and satisfying about working darning patterns with the simple running stitch, and producing things that are striking and complex! And what stitch could possibly be more accessible than the humble running stitch?

The book will certainly also appeal to needleworkers who have a specific interest in costuming, in regional embroidery, in embroidery history, and in Norwegian and Scandinavian techniques.

It’s definitely worth adding to your bookshelf!

Where to Find It

For those living in Australia, you’ll find Smøyg available directly through Yvette’s website, Vetty Creations, where she also offers supply packs for the projects in the book.

In the US, Smoyg is available right now through Amazon for under $20, and you’ll find it right here in the top spot on my Amazon Recommendations page.

Here’s a direct link to the listing for the book on Amazon.

Worldwide with free shipping, you’ll find the book available here at Book Depository.

This article contains affiliate links to book sources, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small kickback for any purchase you make through the links, with no added cost to you. Every little penny counts, so thanks for supporting Needle ‘n Thread by using my affiliate links!


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(15) Comments

  1. Is it wrong that I giggled at “Forklebord”? Is it wrong that I still think it’s funny? Eh, it’s my birthday. I look at kitty gifs and giggle at forklebord.
    On the subject of the book, I am always looking for good needlebook and bookmark patterns. I’m also pleased with the complexity. Like, I can probably do it without crying.

  2. I don’t buy a lot of craft books anymore because of all the free resources online these days….and my tendency to hoard. But, when I read Jessica Grimm’s review of this book a few weeks ago I knew I had to have it. I was hoping you’d review it also but, I just couldn’t wait. I got my copy last Thursday, ripped open the box, pulled out just this book and read it cover to cover before I even looked at the rest of the items in the Amazon box. You are right Mary, (as you always are) it is a great book and I can’t wait to start stitching. I don’t have the book handy at the moment but I would like to know what that pink fuzzy trim on the needle book is called here is the US. Yvette called it something that I’d never heard before.

    1. It’s chenille – she uses a cotton chenille thread. I like Au Ver a Soie’s silk chenille, which I think you could find through Needle in a Haystack. They also sell the Fine d’Aubusson wool, so perhaps they could pick out a coordinated silk chenille, if you ordered the supplies from them.

    2. Hi Kerry, the trim is chenille. The product I use is by Lady Dot Creates, which is an American company, and that’s what she calls it! So it’s not some weird Australian name, just the name by which it is regularly known. 🙂

  3. Like Yvette’s other books, it also includes stitch instructions for left-handers. So helpful in learning a new technique!

    Thanks for another great review, Mary.

  4. Thanks for the review. I ordered the book from Yvette directly and am not disappointed. She does an excellent job with the instruction. I am a fan of her books.

  5. Hi Mary, thank you for your wonderful review!

    As with my other books, this book is actually still self-published by me under the Vetty Creations imprint. For all parts of the world except Australia and New Zealand, it’s a *joint* Vetty Creations and Search Press edition. In Australia and New Zealand, it is published just by Vetty Creations. So yes, I am still the publisher, which means I have full creative, editorial etc control.

  6. I’m waiting eagerly and increasingly impatiently to see if this book turns up at one of my local Search stockists. Soon, I hope. I want it! It’s subject is right up my street. I find it fascinating how very similar pattern darning designs crop up across Europe in peasant costume, on very old Egyptian samplers, and in many other places. And how the technique links with traditional weaving patterns. And I know I can rely on Yvette for good, clear instructions and technical tips.

    1. It’s called pattern darning because it’s darning (running stitch) worked in patterns. It’s probably not commonly used for darning anymore, but it could be. Once upon a time, people darned fabric that was worn by using running stitches, filling in the worn areas, because the running stitch didn’t cause any real stitch build up like overcasting or similar stitches would, and therefore, the repaired area of the fabric would cause no discomfort on the skin. Pattern darning would have been a decorative way to salvage good fabric, but it really just developed into its own stitching style – it’s seen in all kinds of regional traditional costuming throughout various parts of the world.

  7. Hi, Mary!

    What a wonderful review – thank you! I have Yvette’s book on Sardinian Knotted Embroidery and was able to learn the stitch and complete a beautiful cushion that was featured in the book. Yvette is an amazing teacher and her books are truly wonderful.

    Thanks for keeping us updated on the wonderful, wide world of embroidery!!

  8. bonjour je suis française et je ne parle pas l’anglais j’aimerai faire cette technique.

    j’espère le trouver en français bientôt.

    bravo pour vos livres j’en ai plusieurs de vous en français (la broderie portugaise etc….)

    amitiés Marie Christine

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