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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Monograms & Words in Ribbon Embroidery: Book Review


Amazon Books

Happy Wednesday!

Today, we’re going to look at another beautiful book by the queen of Silk Ribbon Embroidery, Di van Niekerk.

I’ve reviewed several of Di’s silk ribbon books here on Needle ‘n Thread. This one concentrates on a set of floral ribbon monograms and projects with embroidered words.

If you love silk ribbon embroidery, if you like dimensional stitching, if you enjoy a kind of multimedia approach to your projects, if you like crazy quilting which often sports ribbon work, if you are a fan of elaborate monograms – then this book will be right up your alley! There are lots of reasons to love it!

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

Monograms & Words in Ribbon Embroidery focuses on a complete alphabet (with step-by-step instructions for each letter) as well as a collection of small projects involving embroidered words or text set within ribbon embroidered decorative settings.

The book gives you the foundation for further embellishing your own sayings, quotes, motivational statements, or sentiments, so that you’re not restricted to just the words in the book – once you understand Di’s methods, you can branch out and design your own pieces using the decorative frames and the techniques she shares.

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

The book, incidentally, is loaded with vivid photos of sumptuous silk ribbon work, so it serves well as an inspirational source and an instructional and project book.

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

The bulk of the book is instructional information

Reading through all Di’s instruction at the beginning of the book is a very good idea. She loads her text with expert tips and advice that will help you achieve success with her projects, and that are also applicable to other embroidery projects as well.

The area where you’ll really want to concentrate your attention, if you’re new to Di’s approach, is the whole section on transferring designs.

Unlike traditional embroidery, which usually involves just a line transfer of the design, Di’s projects require transferring entire color images to fabric and stitching on the resulting imprinted fabric. When you look at the embroidery projects in the book, you will notice that many of them have backgrounds that are images, and the embroidery serves to enhance the image.

You’ll learn different ways to get full color images unto your embroidery fabric – it’s really a matter of experimenting to find out what transfer method you prefer.

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

There’s a lovely section on materials and supplies at the beginning of the book, too.

You get more than just a list here. You’ll find out what works well and why.

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

Further along, we see close up images of Di’s embroidery, with explanations of what types of stitches are featured in each image.

This is a terrific resource for any embroiderer who wants to stitch with ribbon, since you can look at the images, find what you like, read about the techniques involved, and then refer to the instructions for those techniques to learn how to do them.

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

Gorgeous stuff!

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

You’ll find clear diagrams for all the stitches used in the projects featured in the book…

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

…and then you’ll find, with each monogram and the other projects, a clear photo of the embroidered piece with step-by-step instructions written out below it…

Monograms & Words by Di van Niekerk

…as well as a complete supply list and helpful, close-up photos.

In a Nutshell

As is always the case with Di’s silk ribbon embroidery books, Monograms & Words in Ribbon Embroidery is instructional and inspirational. There’s loads of good stuff to learn here, and Di makes it all accessible and doable.

If you’re keen to learn silk ribbon embroidery or to advance your techniques, this is a beautiful book to add to your reference library!

The only slight disadvantage that might come across from the book is that folks who aren’t at least a little technically inclined might have some difficulty at first getting the hang of Di’s approach to image transfers, sizing the images, and other aspects of getting the images you want to use onto your fabric. You really need to be able to manage your home printer and printer settings, scanner, and so forth.

Where to Find It

In the US, Monograms & Words in Ribbon Embroidery is available through Amazon, and you’ll find it listed in the top spot on my Amazon Recommendations page, under the book section titled “My Amazon Recommendations.” You’ll also find several other top-rated silk ribbon embroidery books on my list. I only populate that list with books I own and like, so if you see it there, it’s a good one!

Worldwide with free shipping, you can find it here through Book Depository.

This article contain affiliate links to book sources, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for any purchased made through those links. Thanks a bunch for your support!


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(12) Comments

  1. I have Di’s “Embroidered Alphabets” and the “D” and “Y” you showcase above are the same. Is this book primarily a re-issue of the earlier one, or would it have enough new info to make if worth the purchase?

    1. Ohhh, that I don’t know, because I don’t have her embroidered alphabets. There’s only one embroidered alphabet in this book, and it’s the one you can see in the photos. There are several other free-standing projects, that aren’t alphabets, but sayings or quotes or single words. I would probably say if you already have the alphabet, it wouldn’t be worth making a new purchase.

  2. Thanks for the review. I love Di’s work – so beautiful. I’ve tried to restrict buying books as I don’t have enough space, but this one is really tempting.

  3. Great review, Mary. Ribbon embroidery is my candy; so relaxing, forgiving and its beauty always surprises me as it unfolds–so easy to alter designs and play with as one goes. A fan of monograms as well and have done ribbon monograms for gifts. This looks to be a lovely resource. On the list it goes…

    1. I’m assuming they mean line drawings. As explained in the review above, Di’s approach includes transferring a whole (colored) image or picture to the fabric, and stitching over that picture, leaving some of it exposed. For example, if you look at the cover photo, you can see that there’s a shadow next to the letter. That shadow is not stitched – it’s part of the image transfer. The book contains all the images to transfer – the whole alphabet, the framed sayings and whatnot. As explained above, you need to know how to use a scanner and a printer, and you should also know the basics of editing images – like how to crop an image, how to enlarge an image, etc., because you’ll need to scan and print the images on your home computer. She offers several ways to transfer the designs, but it takes some experimenting to figure out which method you like best.

  4. Doubt she will see this comment (Jan Schurr) but yes, it is a reprint of that earlier book. I hate when they do this, I’ve ended up purchasing the same book several times, which just steams me…

    1. I already replied to Jan, Carol. I don’t have Di’s alphabets book, so I don’t know if it’s the same. Best to contact Di to find out.

    2. Sorry Mary if I wasn’t clear. It is a reprint of that first book. If you go on Amazon and look at the old book it will tell you there is a “newer” version of the book and it shows the new one which you reviewed. I’ve had this happen several times to me, they change the title and the cover and then resell it and I’ve gotten 2 identical books without realizing it until it’s too late so was hoping to save someone else that headache. Thanks. 🙂

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