Sunday, 13 December 2009

Book review- Embroidered Alphabets

Embroidered alphabets by Di Van Niekerk is a really pretty book. It containsdesigns and detailed instructions for embroidering monograms embellished with ribbon flowers. There are lots of suggestions for projects using the monograms and also guidance on how to make the monograms more or less complex, depending on time available.

There is a list of materials for each design, specifying threads which are not widely available in shops and ribbons which are the authors own. The technical instructions and stitch diagrams are exceptionally clear and concise and the book is very well laid out. The designs at the back of the book for other projects mean that there are a lot of ideas which would make the book more than a one project purchase.

It was my intention that when reviewing a title I would attempt to actually use each book, making some samples or a small project and this is where the book caused me some problems. The start of each project is to copy a coloured image of your chosen design and transfer it onto fabric. This obviously means that you can just a highlight a very pretty ready-coloured design with some stitch, but I am not confident with image transfer. Again the instructions are very clear and re-assuring and there is the option to buy a printed fabric panel direct from the author, but compared with the traditional method of tracing a design this all just seemed to much effort. I think the book would appeal to the more traditional embroiderer but because of the image transfer method and the fact that specific threads are required they would have to be a computer confident traditional embroiderer.

I think what this book attempts to do is to almost allow people to make up their own ribbon embroidery kits, printing a design, ordering their threads and then making a very beautiful heirloom project but perhaps not the book for someone who requires instant stitching gratification!

Again, I'm so sorry I haven't worked out how to move my pictures about! This review copy went into yesterdays Embroiderers Guild raffle and the lady who won it looked absolutely delighted, I'm sure she'll make some lovely things from it.

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