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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The Design Collective: Pincushion – Book Review


Amazon Books

Ahhhh, finally, at long last! I can share with you, up close, the first book in the new Design Collective series from Inspirations Studios, on Pincushions!

I mentioned before that I’m excited about this Design Collective series, for two reasons. The first is that the first book is on pincushions (which are manageable, small, makeable projects); and the second is that it’s a series. And a series is always a good sign in the needlework industry. It means more good stuff to come, and a confidence in the strength of in the industry and in the growing interest in the needle arts.

This first book is a doozy, on a number of levels. Let’s take a look at it!

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

When I first saw the cover of the book in the advanced marketing, I admit I was a little taken aback. It comes across as somewhat generic. But in considering the scope of a series, and how future books will line up next to each other on a shelf, I can see where they’re going with the cover design. It’s a tactile cover – there’s texture to it. It’s bendy, but sturdy.

More to the point, though, the book, which is relatively heavy, can easily lie flat, and you don’t have to worry about any spine breakage or anything, because it’s a sewn binding. I’m (ahem) sew glad about that. I do like sewn bindings.

The book is just over 9″ wide and 12″ tall. So it’s a good size book!

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

As with any book, what’s within is the meat of the matter!

Inside, you’ll find the creative results of a challenge to twelve needlework designers around the world to create a unique pincushion. There are twelve projects here, then, that could feasibly result in a project-a-month approach, if you’re super-keen on making pincushions.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

At the beginning of the book, we get a little bit of interesting background and context for the humble pin and the crucial needle. And why pincushions.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

Within each project, some of the content is presented in a manner similar to how you might keep a project notebook. You get the insights of the designer on approaching the project, along with some categorizing, some notes, and, of course, lists of materials, instructions for stitching, and guidelines on how to construct the pincushion.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

I love the addition of these little color palettes for each project. They look like watercolor paint pans, don’t they?

They give a nice visual overview of the colors involved in the project. They’d be useful for matching colors for more accessories and whatnot, if you wanted to explore going further with a particular pincushion.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

For each pincushion, you’ll also find a lovely array of beautifully staged photos, showing off the finished piece. Inspirations Studios never disappoints with their photography! In fact, the photography takes their books from simply utilitarian to highly decorative. They can easily be coffee table books, because they’re a joy to meander through.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

And yes, you’ll also find some good close-ups on the embroidery, which is nice, since it gives the stitcher access to the detail in the stitches.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

For each project, the reader is taken step-by-step through creating the pincushion, from gathering supplies and materials…

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

to preparing for the embroidery…

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

…to working the embroidery…

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

…to constructing the pincushion.

It’s all there, so that you can successfully create your own beautiful rendition of each of these twelve projects!

A great thing about this book: you’ll learn construction techniques from a variety of approaches. And then you can take these approaches and apply them to your own projects. That’s the advantage of learning from project books – you build a bank of knowledge and skill that you can call upon when designing or planning your own projects.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

At the end of all twelve projects, towards the back of the book, you’ll find a very thorough stitch & techniques dictionary, with each type of technique or complex stitch worked out before your eyes in step-by-step photos.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

For the basic embroidery stitches, you’ll find clear diagrams.

Design Collective: Pincushions - Book Review

And finally, tucked under the fly leaf of the back cover, you will find an envelope with pull-out, full-sized patterns for all the projects in the book.

The Pincushions

Here’s a look at some of the other pincushions you’ll find in the book:

Design Collective Pincushions

These aren’t in any particular order, but they’ll give you an idea of the other cushions:

Design Collective Pincushions

You can see that there’s a good variety of techniques…

Design Collective Pincushions

…and that they projects range in complexity, too, from simple to more complex, so there’s something here for everyone!

In a Nutshell

I’m so excited to see this series underway, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us for future books in the series!

The pincushion book doesn’t disappoint, and it bodes well for the next book.

On the pros side – well, what’s not to like? A variety of projects, with excellent instruction, in different techniques, small and manageable because they’re pincushions, after all.

On the cons side – not a lot. The book is heavy. But I like the fact that it easily lies flat, thanks to the sewn binding. When I’m working a project out of a book like this, I don’t actually tote the book around with me, anyway. I usually photocopy the project-relevant pages that I need and I tote those around. (I’m just kind of lazy that way!)

Where to Get It

Well, wouldn’t you know? I’ve got TDC: Pincushions in stock here! Finally! Yay!

(I also have Alison Cole’s Goldwork Masterclass and Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home in stock, if you’ve been waiting for them. Truly an embarrassment of riches these days – they’re all such beautiful books!)

Because of the size and weight of this book, it’s a bit expensive to ship. I’m shipping them priority (US only), in a cardboard wrap inside a poly mailer, to keep them well protected from bending, dings, and the weather. Getting the books here was an ordeal. It took forever, and the boxes were really beat up when they arrived. I don’t want to put you through that kind of wait or the book through that kind of strain and abuse at book rate mailing. So priority it is. And I will refund any significant difference in the shipping costs to your particular destination.

If you order more than one book, I’ll combine them in a flat rate box and refund any excess shipping, too.

If you have any questions, just drop me a line. If you’re not in the US and you want to get your hands on this delectable book, contact me, and I’ll let you know where you can find it internationally.


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(3) Comments

  1. Oh Mary, what a book! Here I am downsizing, including my needlework library, and you present TDC:Pincushions. The botanicals are enticing, especially the little piece of unfolding forest floor (Nodding Greenhoods?). How generous and how tempting to show so much of the gorgeous content. Thank you for sharing the work of these needle artists.

  2. Here you go again putting something so wonderful right in front of my face. There is just no room in my little house. I’m going to have to get rid of some books to get this (and the ones that are coming). It is really wonderful

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