Several years ago, Inspirations Studios launched a new series of books called A Passion for Needlework. Each volume is a celebration of exquisite needlework projects, displayed in extraordinary, beautiful settings.
The books are not only project and instructional books, but they are wonderful display books that are perfect for a coffee table or side table in your home. They’re a great way to share your passion for needlework with visitors, family, and friends who can enjoy meandering through the books and reveling in the beauty they present.
At the same time, they are very usable project and instruction books. The projects are, of course, inspirational in themselves. Since the first book was published, I’ve always thought that creating each project in each book would be a roadmap for an incredible embroidery journey.
A Passion for Needlework 4 / The Whitehouse Daylesford is the newest book in the series. It is also the largest – an impressive tome of beautiful needlework and sumptuous photography in 240 pages sewn into a hard cover, linen binding, gold foil, a ribbon bookmark, premium print quality, and a pocket for pattern storage.
What a book! My first impression on opening the boxes of books that arrived here at the studio this week was Wow! These are Huge!, followed by Wow! These are Gorgeous!.
Passion for Needlework 4 features twelve needlework projects covering a wide variety of techniques. I’ll highlight the projects for you here while I chat about the book, so you can see what to expect in this glorious volume.
Each project is presented, of course, in beautiful photography. You’ll see the finished project styled in the Whitehouse Daylesford setting, with close-ups of the embroidery here and there as well.
I love this Tree of Life design by Tonia Cohen. There’s a lovely array of color, threads, embellishments, and techniques in the design – and I especially love that root and hill structure! Nice!
The first section of the book is a photo gallery of all the projects.
The project above – nandina & cicada – is by Jane Nicholas. Only Jane Nicholas could make a cicada look this beautiful!
Here in Kansas, cicadas are an ever-present part of summer life. (And the chickens love them!) They’re not my favorite bug by a long shot, but summer would never be the same without them – they are the makers of the quintessential sound of summer. I love seeing this elegant tribute to what I’ve otherwise always thought of as a somewhat intimidating critter.
Georgina Bellamy has brought another three-dimensional metal-thread embroidered figure to the series, with this endearing penguin.
I’ve always been a fan of this utterly awkward bird that goes all graceful in the water.
The cover project of the book is called Reflections, by Hazel Blomkamp. It’s a symmetrical and striking stylized design, combining cleverly used needle-woven fillings, bead embellishments, and a variety of stitches, all finished into a lovely cushion.
You’ll find finishing instructions in the book, too, for those projects that are finished into items.
Di Kerchner is the designer of this charming footstool cover, which features vibrant Australian flora. The design offers a variety of techniques to explore, including some dimensional and highly textured stitches.
Susan O’Connor’s striking evening clutch is as useful as it is beautiful. I love the feet on it. It deserves to stand up on the table! No flopping around for this bag.
Again, finishing instructions are part of the content. The nice thing about finishing this type of project under the excellent guidance of an accomplished tutor in a good book is that it gives you confidence to finish other similar items and to adapt your own pieces to more intricate finishing techniques.
Trish Burr provides a stylized nature study that’s bursting with color. Like botanical paintings that demonstrate various developments of a plant, the allium here is presented in its various phases of life.
Always a master of painting with the needle, Trish’s color blending is magnificent, as usual.
Designed by Brenda Sortwell, this sumptuous cushion combines wool thread embroidery with tiny touches of beads and some very subtle metallics. Lots of techniques, colors, and design elements combined here – it’s the kind of project that defies monotony. I think this would be great fun to stitch!
Oh my word! Fumie Suzuki’s whitework piece in this book is a Stunner! It combines traditional reticello techniques and Schwalm embroidery techniques in a delicate interpretation of both. *Sigh* So pretty!
And then there are these wild flowers by Alison Cole! Gosh! Aren’t they sweet?! They sing spring to me! Cheery and happy – you must make them and put them somewhere for all to see!
Actually, I could see incorporating these somehow into a wedding something-or-other. Maybe on the ring pillow? Aren’t they beautiful?
Di van Niekerk brings a lovely pot of silk ribbon wood anemones to the project line-up. They practically burst out of the frame with realism!
And finally, Forty Winks by Anna Scott – a cozy wool and cashmere blanket embroidered with wool. It’ll keep you warm in style, from fall through spring!
After the gallery in the first part of the book, we get to the instruction.
The instructional section is divided by project, with many pages devoted to each of the twelve.
For each project, we have a complete materials list…
… with a thorough explanation of how to work the project, accompanied by explanatory text, tips, diagrams and photos.
Some projects are presented in step-by-step photos, while others rely on diagrams and explanations, with reference to the techniques section further on in the book.
After all the projects are thoroughly presented, there’s a stitch & techniques section, with step-by-step photos of the various stitches and techniques encountered in the various projects.
Inside the cover at the end of the book is a pull-out pattern folio, tucked into a pocket.
In a Nutshell
The projects in A Passion for Needlework 4 are diverse in technique and materials and really, really beautiful! Even if you don’t make them all, they’ll provide you with hours of inspiration, pleasure, and instruction as you browse through this glorious, gorgeous book!
There are no cons to the book – it’s well made, very pretty, a great addition to your stitching library but also a wonderful display piece on its own. It is a collector’s book that you’re going to want in your needlework library. If you have the previous three books in the series, it’s a must. If you don’t have the previous three books, start with this one and work your way back. They are worth it, for anyone with a love of beautiful needlework.
If you’re shopping ahead for Christmas, these will make a showstopper gift for the needlework lover in your life.
Definitely get it while you can – you won’t regret it!
Where to Find It
Right now, I have a limited quantity of A Passion for Needlework 4 / The Whitehouse Daylesford available here in my shop. The book ships to US addresses only, via priority mail, with insurance and tracking.
For those outside the US, you can find the book available from Inspirations Studios in Australia.
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