If you say “embroidered monogram” to me, my mind will immediately answer with “Elisabetta Sforza.”
Elisabetta is an Italian embroiderer who is truly a master of hand embroidered monograms in both traditional and innovative styles. She wrote this book, featuring a glorious floral alphabet, that I reviewed a while ago. And she has recently published another alphabet that has captivated my monogram-and-flowers-and-other-beautiful-embroidery-loving heart.
Her new booklet, which I recently received from Elisabetta via the folks at Needle in a Haystack when their shipment of the books arrived, is called In a Wheat Field. The alphabet and decorative accents within it feature wheat, wildflowers, and poppies. The designs, the embroidery, the colors, the stitches – they’re all stunningly beautiful!
Unlike Elisabetta’s previous book, In a Wheat Field is a 32-page project booklet rather than a full-fledged book. But as you stroll through it, it feels just like a beautiful book. It’s printed on high quality, heavy, glossy paper and practically every page is a delight to look at!
Like A Flower Alphabet, this new booklet is written in Italian with an English translation.
After carefully considering In a Wheat Field, I would classify it for intermediate embroiderers and beyond. The book requires you to be knowledgeable of embroidery basics already, as well as stitches and their best forms of execution.
If, however, the designs in the book speak to you and you are a determined beginner, I think you could tackle them. You would just have to do some foundation research and trial-and-error on your own.
Right at the beginning of the booklet, you’ll find a two-page spread of stitch instructions presented as step-by-step diagrams for most of the stitches. Since this is the extent of the stitching instruction, I’d suggest that beginners use the names of the stitches given in the side columns on these pages and look up tutorials to supplement their learning of these stitches. You can find most of the stitches as video tutorials here on Needle ‘n Thread, for example. This will help you master the stitches if you find the diagrams a little difficult to grasp.
The rest of the book walks you through the embroidered elements that make up the letters and designs.
The way Elisabetta teaches the elements to us is through small practice motifs that are, in themselves, just lovely!
Before stitching the letters or other designs in the book, then, it would be a good exercise to work through each of these practice motifs.
In the photo above, you can see the wheat, worked out in stages in four photos. Below, in the text, she explains how the wheat is stitched and what colors of DMC threads she used to stitch it. On the background of that spread and in an inset photo to the right, you see the wheat stitched on the letter design.
You can see in the photo above the presentation of the poppies and how they are added to the letter design.
Here, you see the cornflowers presented in four photos that show the development of the practice element, and then photos of the cornflowers added to the decorative letters.
The bluebells are presented the same way, and you can see on the right how the letter is filling up with each element as it is learned.
Finally, we have the little Margherita daisies, and, as you can see in the letter on the right, the embroidery is complete.
This incremental approach with practice motifs is very effective. It should give the embroiderer great confidence in a successful completion of the letter, after working through the small practice sample. Plus, each little practice sample is a beautiful little bit of embroidery on its own!
Aside from all the traceable letters of the alphabet in the design section, you’ll also find many smaller designs, floral sprays, and accents that can be used as small projects on their own or as part of a matching set of embroidered goods.
I love the clock!
And this jar cover with its central motif and corner decorations is perfectly charming! That corner design is ideal for hand embroidered cloth napkins and table linens that are monogrammed with the letters in the book.
I think “charming” is a good word to describe this collection. It is not formal – it has a kind of freshness and freedom to it, like breezy wildflowers gathered on a summer day and brought inside to scatter their own sunshine while they loosely adorn a table.
Did I mention her use of Palestrina stitch, by the way? Be still my heart! I love that stitch, and the way she uses it on the projects in the book, for blue bows and twirls – oh, lordy! I’m in love!
I desperately want to stitch something from this book right now. Elisabetta’s elegant sense of design and color appeals to me so much!
Oh heck. Why not? It’s time for a little side project, isn’t it?
Where to Find It
You can find Elisabetta’s book in various places.
If you’re in Europe or the UK, you can contact Elisabetta through her blog here to get information on purchasing. You might consider subscribing to her blog or adding it to your feedreader, too, if you want to enjoy her embroidery explorations.
Needle in a Haystack also has a fresh supply of A Flower Alphabet in stock here, too, if you’re looking for Elisabetta’s earlier book. It is $34.
In Australia, I know that All Threads Embroidery carries A Flower Alphabet (the first book), so you might contact them to see if they are going to bring in In a Wheat Field.
And I Digress…
And that, my friends, is your temptation this Monday morning. I’m afraid I’m going to digress on a little side project and see about stitching up something from this book. I’ll show you what, when, why, how down the road!
Nothing like a little stitching digression to keep the juices flowing!
Later this week, I’ll catch you up on some other stitching, and we’ll talk about whitework again. I’m also toying with some beads lately. And making a little doohickey to help me keep orts and stuff in place, which I’d eventually like to show to you. I’m still trying to develop some sweet sewing skills, but I’m a bit slow!