If you haven’t heard the great news yet, I’m excited to tell you that Trish Burr has once again produced a beautiful embroidery book, and it is (nearly) available!
If you are remotely interested in learning how to create beautifully shaded embroidery, if Trish’s beautiful needlepainting embroidery style is up your alley, or you just want inspiration and ideas for stitching lovely elements of flora and fauna, you’re going to want to add this book to your wish list, get it pre-ordered, or send out your Christmas hints for it now!
I’m pretty sure this book is going to be even more popular as an instructional and project book than the previous Kew Gardens embroidery book by Trish Burr.
There’s so much to recommend about this new book. It’s one of those books that is eminently suitable for absolute beginners all the way to experienced stitchers. Today, I’ll tell you what makes The Kew Book of Nature Samplers particularly desirable, and I’ll show you some of the projects that are in it.
The Kew Book of Nature Samplers is, as the title hints, a “sampler” book. A sampler in embroidery has almost always been understood as a learning piece, something you stitch in order to learn a technique or a variety of techniques.
Considered in this regard, Trish’s new book is indeed what it claims to be – a sampler book. The projects in the book and the way the book is set up lend to a progressive learning approach while embroidering the various individual samplers in the book.
Each sampler is a collection of smaller embroidered elements. Every one of these small elements can be taken out of the sampler setting and embroidered on its own. So while there are ten projects in the book – that is, ten samplers – there really are many, many more than ten individual smaller projects available here to stitch. And because each element is a small thing on its own, it really makes the book very, very accessible because the embroidery is so manageable taken in small bits. I really like the approach!
The first part of the book is devoted to an introduction to needlepainting – that is, long and short stitch shading combined with a few other stitches to create a realistic impression of the embroidered thing.
In the first part of the book, you’ll learn about tools and materials, preparing the fabric and using a hoop or frame, you’ll learn the basic stitches, and you’ll learn other techniques that enhance the finished needlepainting. You’ll learn about the threads and how to handle them – all the basic information to get you started with the projects in the book. She even has a small section on dyeing your own ground fabrics.
This book is a little different from the previous Kew book, as it reverts to a dominant use of DMC stranded cotton throughout (although there is a nice photo of some Au Ver a Soie silks, captioned as the polyester machine sewing threads that are recommended for some of the outlining. Whoops!)
The use of DMC makes acquiring threads for the projects in the book easier – DMC floss is definitely a more widely accessible thread. For those who prefer silk, you can color match or use a conversion guide if you have one for the silk thread you prefer.
The projects in the book are arranged by skill level.
This is a very handy approach for anyone who is using the book as a real learning tool to master shading techniques.
There are five simple projects in the book – a starter stitch sampler, a poppy sampler, a wildflower sampler, a lotus flower sampler, and a breadseed poppy sampler.
For every project, you get a materials list, the design (for the folio edition, the designs are inside the covering “folio” and are iron-on transfers), color layout diagrams, and step-by-step process photos to take you through the project.
There are three intermediate projects – a barn owl sampler, a bunny sampler, and a butterfly sampler.
With every project, the reader is presented with sharp, detailed, close-up photos of the embroidered elements, and very clear diagrams indicating color placements, stitch usage, and so forth.
There are two advanced projects – a pelargonium sampler and a dragonfly sampler.
On the pelargonium sampler, there’s this adorable little bird, a tiny wren that is so absolutely, squeezably cute!
Trish’s birds have always been my favorite elements in her books. I’m delighted to see a couple birds in this volume! They are a little simpler than the birds in some of her other books, perhaps a little more “regimented” in the approach and a little more restrained in the color usage. These points make them a good way to venture into bird needlepainting, for those who want to go in that direction. They’d give you an excellent sense of how to approach a bird, and then you can always pursue further, and a little bit freer and more advanced, bird embroidery in many of her other, earlier books.
In fact, I’ll say the same thing about the bunny in the book. If you’ve ever wondered how to approach an animal that has fur coat, the bunny would be an excellent exercise for that.
Every element in the book can be embroidered on its own, or within the sampler that it’s a part of. For example, if you just wanted to embroider a wee wren and not a clematis or a pelargonium or a beetle or a butterfly or chives (all of which are part of the sampler that the wren occupies), you can just extract the wren. Or the chives. Or the beetle.
As mentioned above, the folio version is a hard-bound folio that you open, to reveal the book tucked inside the folio (you can pull the book out) and, tucked into the inside flaps, a collection of all the designs within the book as iron-on transfers. The iron-ons are stated as re-usable (that would be up to a point – no iron-on is reusable ad infinitum), so you can use them for a number of projects, which makes them very convenient!
In a Nutshell
What’s not to love?
There’s so much about this book that is good. And I don’t really see any cons at all.
But then, it’s Trish. Would we expect otherwise? I reckon not!
I think this book would be a wonderful way to get comfortable with needlepainting and to embroider some Really Beautiful Things along the way.
Where to Find It
The Kew Book of Nature Samplers is available for pre-ordering in the US right now, through Amazon. I’ve got it listed at the top of my Amazon Recommendations list which you can find here. It’s coming out in July, so now’s a great time to get it pre-ordered! You might even get it sooner than expected if you get on the pre-order list. I normally receive pre-orders the day of the release, because they ship before the release date.
If you are overseas, I believe that you can purchase the book now directly through Search Press in the UK. And in Australia, I’m pretty sure that it will be available through Inspirations Studios.
This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations Page, which means that Needle ‘n Thread may receive a small commission for purchases made through that link, at no extra cost to you. I use Amazon for a book source when publishers stock their books on Amazon, because as a small business, I cannot compete with the prices on Amazon. The commissions that Needle ‘n Thread may receive from Amazon is a small income stream that contributes to the upkeep of my website.