Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stitching Sunday: One-and-a-half book reviews

I have two new stitching books to share with you today. (And yes, I have completely discarded the New Year’s resolution to stop buying craft books. I lasted three months. Well, two. Okay, a few weeks. Say nothing.)

The first book is Stitched Blooms, by my blogging friend Carina Envoldsen-Harrison. Carina’s bright and beautiful blog, Carina's Craftblog, is a treasure trove of embroidery inspiration and tips, and her first book reflects her characteristic colourful style.

In fact, one of the things I love most about this book, besides the hundreds of lovely floral-themed motifs, is the segment on colour. A six-page ‘Color Stuff’ section explains basic theory, colour schemes, and even suggests some ‘colour exploration exercises’ for those of us stuck in colour ruts.

But for all this, I now share with you the first project I’ve completed from this book, using off-white candlewicking thread on off-white vintage French linen:

After completing my candlewicking snowflake kit, I had a good amount of the string-like cotton thread left over. I paired it with the vintage linen, which I cut into a small hand-towel size, and traced a little floral motif from the book onto the bottom corner.

I really love how easy and effective this simple pattern looks. I let the materials sing without colour – the linen is very tactile, a thick weave, and the cotton thread is very rustic. I’m pleased with the combination, especially with this folksy floral motif...perhaps a table runner next, with a lot more blossoms?

Stitched Blooms has a long list of fun and useful projects, all clearly explained and well photographed. Embroidered skirts, shirts and mittens, bags, decorated towels and blankets...the striking botanical art framed embroideries are next on my list. The Stitch Glossary is the best I’ve seen in an embroidery book – with, believe it or not, clear photographs demonstrating various stitches! How many times have I been left scratching my head trying to decipher unclear illustrations drawn without an actual needle or hand in mind...

Now, the title of this post is ‘One-and-a-half book reviews’. You’ve read one, so here’s the half review. May I introduce to you the exquisite Pansées et Violettes: au point de croix.

Half a review, because the book is in French - I don’t speak French, so I cannot possibly review the written content. But I do love pretty pictures, and this book has those in abundance!

You know a book is special when it has a ribbon binding it together...and inside are artistic, delicate cross-stitch designs all based on violets and pansies. Each photo is carefully staged with eccentric items, complementing the sketchy style of the cross stitching.

This is not your ordinary cross-stitch book. The images are haunting, half-completed designs meant to tease the imagination, conjure up memories of woodland spring...

There is something so magical about these patterns, so ethereal, I just sat in silence turning page after page of beautiful patterns. And because this is cross stitch, no language barriers will keep me from creating my own stitched keepsakes. These little blooms are close to my heart.

I have the first few violets starting to uncurl their petals in the garden, time to tend to those! Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and please link up any needle n’ thread projects below...

Chrissie x


  1. Anonymous4:25 pm GMT

    thank you for the book review. wow.. I love the French design.. it look so chic.. :D
    will check out amazon for the price.. :D

  2. Anonymous5:12 pm GMT

    The designs in the French book are so beautiful, I might just get converted back to doing cross stitch again.

  3. Crafting books are addictive arent they? Even if you dont make anything they are full of gorgeous pictures and inspiration.

  4. Oooooooh gosh I love both books a LOT ..... but you know just how my heart exploded when you showed me the french one ..... Lush!
    Loving your very sophisticated stitching ..... so pretty and delicate.
    love Jooles x x x

  5. Oh Chrissie, I love effect of the off white stitching on the vintage linen, so pretty and now that French book, I haven't done any cross stitch for over 20 years, but I could just be inspired, thanks so much for sharing. I'm just about to link up with my Sunday Stitching. I hope that you've had a lovely weekend, Sarah xo

  6. Dear Chrissie
    Lovely projects here. I love the subtle, elegant and delicate effect of the white on white. It is beautiful.
    Have a happy stitching week.
    Best wishes

  7. Ooh those books look lovely the towel is great so pretty and I have no words to say how lovely the second book looks
    Clare x

  8. Love the white thread on the linen and the books, especially the French one - très jolie! Have a lovely week.
    Jane x

  9. That white on white embroidery is just lovely. There is something subtle and elegant about it - it would make a spectacular runner. Both those books look equally inspiring but in different ways. x

  10. They both look like lovely and helpful books Chrissie, and thank you for the reviews. Your stitching is gentle and sweet. Joy x

  11. Gorgeous embroidery on linen, very understated and country feeling, it looks lovely!
    Both those books look very inspiring, and I especially like the look of the second one, such detailed and pretty flowers.
    Hope you enjoy browsing through them! I wonder what you will be inspired to do next?
    Gill xx

  12. Such a lovely post Chrissie, I just adore the linen, there's something so traditional about it.You're so clever !
    kate x

  13. Oh Chrissie what gorgeous books! I love the doodley effect of the first one and your embroidery is beautiful!!! The French one is amazing I think whether you are are stitcher or not that is a book that would appeal to you, it is so pretty!
    V x

  14. gorgeous books! Thanks for showing us inside. I know I could never stick to a resolution not to buy more craft books, I'm approaching 200 now!

  15. Oh wow, you've really inspired me. I've never done any embroibery but I love the simplicity of the linen, superb!

  16. Two very lovely books. Glad it's not just me that can't keep resolutions.

  17. Great book reviews, Chrissie! Both books look lovely and inspiring. Your embroidery is beautiful! Wishing you a happy sunny week.
    Helen xox

  18. They both look very inspiring. You're right, the second book's images are rather haunting the way they left the partially undone. It looks like you've got lots of new projects to work on! Your embroidery came out beautifully, doing it in ivory was a wonderful idea.

  19. You were so right to go for subtle colour and let the textures tell the story. The French book looks lovely - something out of the ordinary.

  20. Thank you for the lovely book review. I have had my eye on it for a while, it might have to be a little longer, but I am sure I will get there one day. Hoping to link up before next Sunday!! xoxo

  21. Beautiful flowers and stitching. Lovely as always. The book looks great x