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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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In a Wheatfield – An Exquisite Alphabet (& More!) to Stitch

 

Amazon

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!

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

You can see in the photo above the presentation of the poppies and how they are added to the letter design.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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!

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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!

In a Wheat Field embroidered alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza

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.

In the US, Needle in a Haystack carries it here for $20 and The French Needle carries it here for $23.

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!

 
 

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(22) Comments

  1. Oh, her work makes my heart sing!! That book just went on my need to purchase list. I can think of several items to use it on already. = )

    1
  2. OOOH!!! I wondered if you would review this one! I saw it in the French Needle newsletter a week ago and drooled! Her designs are so beautiful. Thanks so much for insight.

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  3. I never got this this morning. I checked Junk mail no luck. I have been getting your emails for years , but not today.
    Is something wrong? I look forward to them.

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    1. Hi, Terry – Not sure what the problem is – it published this morning at 7:00, but the automated process for sending out seems to be stuck. I’ll go check it out now. Thanks!

  4. Thanks, Mary. Even though I’m a beginner, I couldn’t resist and ordered the book last week. Can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Also, thank you for your thorough reviews.
    Polly

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  5. Oh, not on Book Depository? Everything else I have got from your reviews has been on that. In fact you introduced me to its delights, to the detriment of my credit card.
    You mention Australia, but not New Zealand. The big plus for Book Depository is that there is no extra for postage, the price is shown in $NZ so I know exactly what is coming out of my credit card before I click to order.
    I love the idea of the practice motifs and my fingers would be itching to have a go….

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  6. Just confirming that copies of this beautiful book as well as Elisabetta Sforza’s earlier book are available at Allthreads Embroidery in Australia. Thank you for the mention Mary.

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    1. Yay! That’s great for stitchers in Australia! I figured you’d probably get it in, but I didn’t have a chance to drop you a line to ask, since I waited until the last minute to fill in the resources. :-/

  7. Boa noite
    Sou do Brasil e gostaria de adquirir os livros de bordados, como faço?
    Admiro seu talento, seu trabalho é lindo.
    Grata pela atenção.
    Bernadete

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    1. Hi, Bernadete – I would contact Elisabetta through the link in the article above. Otherwise, you can order it through one of the shops in the US that carries it, also listed in the article above. Thanks!

  8. Dear Mary

    The book In a Wheat field is lovely especially the photos above of the embroidered wheat and poppies and the jar covered central motif corner design is beautiful in fact all the photos above of Elisabetta projects are wonderfully embroidered and would be a lovely gift for anyone, I can understand why you would want to stitch these designs they are very enticing. Thanks for reviewing Elisabetta Sforza book and for the phots and sharing it with us, beautiful pieces of embroidery. Look forward to your doohickery orts and sweet sewing skills.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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  9. OMG. That song from South Pacific is running through my head …temptation, temptation. That wheat is the work of someone who really knows wheat. I used to plait wheat into corn dollies. . . Now wheat embroidery . . .Come to me, come to me, temptation.

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  10. I’ve been thinking of getting Elizabetta’s A Flower Alphabet for a while. Would it be worth it to get both books? Or would the techniques/methodology taught by one book be sufficient? Thanks in advance for your input.

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    1. They’re completely different approaches, as far as the decoration of the letters go, but if you got just the original flower alphabet book, you’d get the idea of how she builds the letters with embroidery.

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