This is one of the books I’ve been Absolutely Dying to get to, to let you know about! Now that the release date is getting very close, I’m really excited to write a review of it.
The book is Needlepainted Plants and Pollinators: An Insect Lover’s Guide to Silk Shading Embroidery by Victoria Matthewson. It is a lovely book from Search Press, and it falls into a very interesting category. It’s pretty much a nature journal in thread, combined with instruction and projects.
I knew it was going to be good. I follow Victoria’s Instagram feed and really enjoy seeing her work. So, yep. I was excited to get an advanced copy and see the book in person! Let me show it to you…
Unlike many needlework books, Needlepainted Plants and Pollinators is a hardbound book, which gives it a “coffee table book” feel – and for good reason.
Whether interested in embroidery or not, this is the type of book that anyone can pick up and connect to. After all, we all live on a beautiful planet filled with growing things and curious creatures. Whether we “see” them is another question – but we know they are there.
Opening the pages of the book is rather magical – there’s almost a Wow! on every page.
I love little touches like this, by the way. This is just a lone embroidered bee in the corner of the end sheet when you first open the book.
The inside cover page hints at the delights to come…
This is the type of book that is very difficult not to photograph page by page, to show you all of it. But if I did that, you wouldn’t have that joy of surprise when your own copy arrives. So I will curtail my inclinations!
The book is broken down into two parts: the first half – which is background information – and the second half – which is filled with projects.
In the first part of the book, we learn about the author, a bit about nature study, the basics of getting started with embroidering from natural subjects, a bit about materials and threads, and the rudiments of needlepainting.
My favorite section in the first part of the book is probably the discussion on inspiration. This is where we learn that not everything that we see in nature may translate easily into an embroidery design.
She discusses how to choose the right type of subject for needlepainting, and her advice is excellent. If you have toyed with the idea of needlepainting your favorite aspects of the natural world from your own drawings or photos, but you didn’t know where to start, you’ll appreciate the information here.
Of course, there’s thread talk.
I love thread talk.
The needlepainting instruction walks through different exercises in stitching various types of shapes and elements found in nature – leaves, berries, petals, and the like – so that we understand how needlepainting is meant to flow when working a natural subject.
Oh, I almost forgot!
You’ll find great information and instruction not only on preparing your project to stitch, but also on how to finish it for display in different ways. I do appreciate good finishing instructions in an embroidery book!
Then there are the projects. There are nine.
They range from plants…
…to pollinators, as the title promises.
You’ll find a some really fabulous close-ups of the embroidery in this book, too, as you go through it. I like close-ups. They give us a good idea of stitch direction, order of stitching, and so forth.
With each project, there’s a design template (in the back of the book), a materials list, and instructions on stitching it.
We get to see the step-by-step development of the parts of the projects, too, which is very helpful.
It’s hard to pick a favorite project in the book, but I think this one might be it for me. I like the way this is photographed here, too. And I love that solid center of French knot glory!
Of course there’s a ladybug!
See what I mean by Wow?
In a Nutshell
Well, what’s not to like?
If you love the idea of needlepainting natural subjects in realistic ways, I think you’ll really love this book. There’s much to learn from it, and it’s a good guide in observation and in building “nature journaling” skills with needle and thread.
If you are just fascinated by beautiful embroidery, if you like to browse through embroidery books for inspiration – even if you don’t intend to stitch these particular subjects – it’s a lovely book and it’s got good instruction in it that applies to needlepainting in general, that can be applied to stylized embroidery designs as well.
If you like nature journaling, photography, and the like, it’s a different approach that will add variety and beauty to your library.
There’s nothing I don’t like about this book. All my little pleasure molecules in my brain start buzzing when I open it. It makes me happy.
Where to Find It
Needlepainted Plants and Pollinators will be released in just a couple weeks here in the States (beginning of November). You can pre-order the book now. You’ll find it listed here under “Browse My Recommendations” on my Amazon page.
Now’s a good time to get your pre-order in. I’m sure it’s going to be a popular book!
This article contains an affiliate links to my Amazon recommendations page, which means Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for purchases made through that link, with no additional cost to you.