So many wonderful needlework books made their debuts this year – one very positive aspect of 2020! – and perhaps the most beautiful among those books is the third edition of A Passion for Needlework at Blakiston Creamery.
A Passion for Needlework is a developing series of project books published by Inspirations Studios. You’ll find my review for the first book in the series here, and my review for the second book, Factoria VII, here.
Each book features unique and exquisite needlework projects to stitch. The photography and the settings in which the projects are displayed for the purpose of the book are a feast for the eyes. The books are a combination of art forms, really: needle arts, art, architecture, and skillful photography.
While they make wonderful projects books (the projects are fabulous!), they also make perfect coffee table books – the type of book that you’d set out as decor on its own, that friends and family can browse through and wonder at, even if they aren’t inclined to the needle arts.
Today, we’re going to look at the third book, photographed at Blakiston Creamery in South Australia. The book features a dozen projects, so I’ll show you each one and let you know what you can find in the book. It’s not all about the pretty pages, after all – there’s much to learn herein!
Blakiston Creamery is a home converted from an old creamery that was established in South Australia in the 1890’s. Refurbished in a way that reflects its heritage, the place makes an exquisite setting for photographing the projects featured in this edition of A Passion for Needlework.
The book is hard bound with a satin bookmark, and somewhat large, at about 9.5″ x 11″, and an inch thick. It has a smooth matte cover, with a cloth spine. It’s really beautifully made!
Inside, you’ll find a brief history of Blakiston Creamery with photos, and then, throughout the book, the projects are set in various nooks and crannies around the historical buildings of the property.
The book is arranged with a preview of the twelve projects, followed by the instructional content project-by-project, and ending with a stitch glossary and patterns.
The first project, Tudor Garland by Cynthia Jackson of Canada, combines the glories of silk and metal thread in an exuberant wreath of strawberries and larkspur.
Cynthia employs some interesting techniques combining goldwork and silk, and the results are lovely.
Of course, my intention isn’t to show you every single photo in the book! But I think it’s worth noting that most of the projects are accompanied by close-ups, so that you can really see the detail of the embroidery.
The cover project – which reflects the foodie & farmer theme connected with the creamery – is this Limonera Pear by Christine Burton.
The pear is worked in blackwork and goldwork, and the finish is a three-dimension piece of needlework sculpture.
Helen Stevens’s work graces the book as well – vibrant, garden-themed silk embroidery on a dark background, replete with butterflies and bugs. Lovely!
I have to say, I’m rather in love with this little guy! The project is called Jewel of the Sea.
Georgina Bellamy creates exquisite little sculptures bedecked in real metal threads, using her own particular style of goldwork, and the results strike a perfect balance between whimsy & charm and art & engineering.
I’m a huge fan of her work! It never fails to charm me!
(Incidentally, while I have your attention on this one, in my upcoming pre-Christmas give-away series, Inspirations Studios is offering copies of this book and the complete kit for Jewel of the Sea – so stay tuned for that! The fun starts after Thanksgiving. I’ll share the details with you soon!)
This stump work piece – Dogwood and Lacewing – by Jane Nicholas is so elegant!
The precision of her stitching mesmerizes me.
Ana Mallah contributed these three sweet succulents to the book – they are another example of stumpwork and full-fledged needlework sculptures, as each piece stands alone in its little linen pot.
Margaret Light’s work, Nigella & Honesty, is a lovely botanical study featuring seed bods and flowers. The project includes a nice combination of textures through various interesting stitches.
Carolyn Pearce’s latest set of needlework accessories will set your heart throbbing!
Perfect Pansies includes a pin keep, a needlebook with a lovely finish and clasp, a scissor keep, and a tape measure cover, all coordinated on a lovely rust colored silk. So pretty!
Morris Magic by Brenda Sortwell is a lovely interpretation of William Morris’s Strawberry Thief. It’s a crewel embroidery, so it is worked in wools, and I think it beautifully captures the spirit of Morris’s originals in an elegant and classic way. Really pretty!
Christine Bishop’s “Tulipan” is a finely wrought piece of Hedebo embroidery in crisp white linen.
Be still, my whitework-loving heart!
Susan O’Connor captures the color and glory of the ornamental gardens of 16th century England in this mirror frame. Worked in silk and gold, it is lavish and lush!
From Tudor rose to daffodils, strawberries, cornflowers, peas, daisies… and more!… the symmetrical design gives plenty of scope for enjoying the play of color and the variety of motifs.
Finally, a splendid beaded handbag by Margaret Lee concludes the projects in the book. Covered in sparkling blossoms, leaves, and delicate tendrils, this is a functional work of art!
It doesn’t have to be a handbag. I could see this is a special case for favorite needlework tools.
Each project is accompanied by a complete materials list, including fabrics, threads, tools, and any goods needed for finishing.
There are step-by-step instructions for the stitching and the finishing of each project.
The photos, diagrams, and text that accompany every project are thorough and easy to follow, especially for stitchers with at least a little experience.
There are some projects in the book that are more suitable to beginners, and some that are more suitable to advanced stitchers. There is something for everyone in the book!
There’s a stitch glossary with diagrams of the embroidery stitches used in the projects.
And finally, tucked into the folio inside the back cover, you’ll find pull-out pages with all the patterns for transferring designs and so forth.
In a Nutshell
Well, what’s there to say? It’s another exquisite book in this Passion for Needlework series, and if you have a passion for needlework, you’ll want this in your library – and more specifically, on your coffee table where you and your friends and family can browse through it every time you need a good dose of Beautiful Stuff.
And, of course, if you have the previous two books, you’ll want to complete the set!
If you’re planning on the book for your Christmas list, I’d say now is not too soon to order.
Where to Find It
In Australia, Inspirations Studios carries it, and the previous volumes as well. They also carry embroidery kits for all the projects in the book. If you’re ordering from overseas, be sure to check your currency exchange rate and international shipping.