My heart is full of delight when I look at this book. It speaks to me on So Many Levels!
A Sea to Stitch (or Ricamare il Mare in Italian) by Elisabetta Sforza is her newest publication highlighting a beautiful sea-themed alphabet and decorative elements to embroider. The designs are exquisitely imagined and stitched!
If you have any penchant for the sea, if it calls to you as it has for so many people through the ages, then you will find something very enticing about this collection! For me, the designs in the book elicit a kind of tranquil wonder – that awestruck feeling that sweeps over a person when beholding the sea after long separation, or when looking upon something new and beautiful for the first time.
Today, I’ll show you the book in-depth, so that you know what you can expect inside its pages. I’ll also share some photos of some finishing ideas from Elisabetta’s collection. Finally, if the book is up your alley as much as it is up mine, you’ll find it available to purchase in my shop.
If you’re familiar with Elisabetta’s beautiful embroidered monograms, it shouldn’t surprise you that A Sea to Stitch is such an exquisite collection!
There’s so much to recommend about this book, not the least of which is that it makes a perfect springboard for you to explore and create your own interpretations of the designs in inspirational words, in names, or in small vignettes and decorative elements. It will help you discover how to employ classic stitches in unique ways.
Besides being extraordinarily inspirational, it is a practical instructional guide that you’ll learn a lot from.
The letters and their embellishments are not difficult to stitch, either! Elisabetta uses easily mastered, well-known embroidery stitches in unique ways to construct the decorative bits. The designs are accessible for determined beginners – and beyond!
Written in both English and Italian, the book relies heavily on Henry Beston’s work, Outermost House, for inspiration. The sea is the theme, and Beston is the anchor for the book.
The contents are structured around the sea and the notion of our own personal journeys of discovery of what it has to offer. It’s well written in that regard, and although the English is sometimes obviously given as a translation, it is uplifting and good reading!
(This is probably the only thing about the year 2020 that has appealed to me so far!)
After the introduction, Elisabetta dives into the question of color schemes.
If you’ve seen the ocean over many days, you know that it is never the same from day to day! And so, we are presented with various color schemes that reflect the ever-changing moods of the sea.
With each color scheme, we’re given corresponding DMC colors. If you wanted to work the letters in silk or other favorite threads, you could color match using the DMC colors as the gauge.
I would Love to embroider some of these letters in a variety of Au Ver a Soie silks – and I think I’m gonna! (Wanna join me?)
Above, you can see vibrant, warm hues…
… and here, tranquil, cooler greens.
There’s a brilliant, tropical Mediterranean color scheme…
…and a classic, blue-and-green coastal scheme.
And there are other color options as well – the sea at night, for example!
You can, of course, play with colors. How does the ocean speak to you? What mood do you prefer? Tempestuous, mighty waves crashing on rocky shores? Calm and serene waters lapping gently over hot sand? What colors reflect that mood?
Then, we begin our journey to sea with what to pack – that is, the materials for the projects.
Fabric, threads, needles, hoops and frames – it’s all there!
Our “maps” are the designs. The hand-drawn letters are presented in two sizes: approximately 5.5″ high and approximately 3.5″ high.
There’s also a collection of accents, swags, garlands, and other individual design elements that can be worked as stand-alone projects without lettering, or that can be incorporated into designs featuring inspirational words, full names, and the like.
Then, we navigate the stitching – from transferring designs to fabric…
…to following a sensible order of work.
Elisabetta takes us step-by-step through embroidering a letter, and she shows us, via diagrams and photographs, how to work all the stitches and embroider all the decorative elements.
The explanations and accompanying illustrations are clear and easy to follow.
At the end of the book, Elisabetta talks about designing written words and names in a way that is easy and accessible, so that you can use the monograms as decorative capitals if you like, or you can “write” in the style presented in the book and embellish with the ornaments provided.
Although the book doesn’t go into finishing the embroideries into specific objects, Elisabetta shared on her Facebook page some beautiful items featuring the monograms, designed by her friend Laura Tremolada, whose Etsy shop is here.
Above, the frame holds a monogrammed message board (you slip your messages, reminders, or memorabilia behind the ribbon) with hooks at the base of the frame for hanging things. What a great idea!
This frame has two parts for messages and memorabilia – the upper part, in coordinating striped fabric, uses small clothes pins for hanging cards or photos, and the lower part with the monogram uses taut ribbon for tucking things behind. Beautiful!
So with a little ingenuity and creativity, there are many ways you can use embroidery and monograms to personalize functional items and make them beautiful.
What a great way to use repurposed frames and the like!
In a Nutshell
The book is fabulous, the designs and the colors are truly inspired, and if you have any attraction at all to the sea, to monograms, to surface embroidery – it’s a treasure!
Where to Find It
Well, if you’re in the US, I’m carrying a limited quantity in my shop, and I’ll send it to you today via Priority mail. This is more or less an experiment in importing and resale. We’ll see how it goes! If it sells out and you’re interested in a copy, drop me a line and I’ll put you on an advanced notice list for further shipments.
Worldwide, you can find stockists listed here on Elisabetta’s website.