Know more- stitch more

I think the knowledge is the first step to make a good embroidery. At the beginning you always have to get some information (even if they are not really very complicated or technical) and then you try to use what you know. Everybody started whith information that there is something called embroidery, you need some threads, fabrics and needles and there are some stitches and this stitch is done this way. When you know this, you try to embroider your first time and then get some technical skills that allow you understand more and create your own patterns or stitches. Every time the knowledge that something is possible produces the “what if..” questions and creative solutions. That’s why learning about embroidery should be something as important as learning embroidery itself.

Not to be theoretical, I’d like to write about two books I bought some time ago. I have read them both and now can share my opinion. The first is 18th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh, and this is the book that gives rather a great historical background than a technical information. If you want to learn how to embroider, you won’t find there much information, but if you know some stitches, this is a huge resource to 18th century embroidery styles, motifs and clothes. Every item is given a detailed description and a photo or picture. The most interesting motifs are also drawn so that you can analize details. For me it was very interesting to read the parts about embroiderers and embroidery quilds and also fragments of letters or books written in the 18th century. It’s always fascinating to check how some things where done and suprising that not really much has changed.

The book is divided into parts containing information about different techniques, like silk embroidery, crewel, tambour or knotting (is there anybody who does it??). Every part begins whith some theoretical backgroud (which is some kind of how-to) and then you find descriptions of real items. I think it’s a must-have for everybody interested in history of embroidery and looking for inspirations. It’s also a good resource for those who want to do some research in crafts as it there is a part about treating old clothes and contacting whith museums.

The second book is the Embroidered Knot Gardens by Owen Davies and Gill Holdsworth. This one describes both the technique of making three-dimensional embroidered gardens and historical background.  You won’t find ready-to-stitch patterns here, but there’s a lot of information about the designing process and looking for inspirations. I think it’s much more than patterns. Every stitch is perfectly described and photographed, so you can learn it easily at home. More information you can find here.

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