Lorna Bateman has been selling surface embroidery kits for years now, but this is her first book, called ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’, and it is really lovely.
If you love surface embroidery, then this book is going to make your fingers itch to get stitching! I saw this last autumn, when it was first published, and immediately put it on my wishlist for Christmas!
The sub-title is ‘Create beautiful hand-stitched floral designs inspired by nature’, and that’s a really good description of what this book covers.
Lorna has taken one kind of motif – that of an English country garden – and designed a whole set of embroidered bags, pockets, and holders for embroidery tools of various kinds. The designs make a coherent collection, but are different enough to not be boring if you choose to stitch them all – there’s a lot of variety here, both in types of designs, and difficulty level.
Here’s the contents page:
There are twelve different projects to make, plus lots of explanations about how to stitch each type of plant featured, so if you wanted to make your own designs using this book, it would be very useful for that too. In fact, one of the sections covered is ‘how to make your own’. Lorna is obviously a very good gardener, and that comes across in her writing.
This is my favourite project in the whole book – it’s a tote bag with a crinoline lady design on one side, and lettering spelling out ‘In my country garden’ on the other side.
One cop-out, though, which isn’t unique to this book (I’ve seen other designers, both in books and magazines, do this lately) is that Lorna doesn’t give the actual design for this lettering. She just says ‘you could look up a nice font, and do your own’. Hmm, don’t think so, actually. Most people, if they like a design they’ve seen enough to want to make it, want EXACTLY what they’ve seen – so they expect to have THAT font and THAT exact wording presented in the book as a design to follow. It seems bizarre to me to have such a lovely book of designs for almost everything, and then skimp on this bit.
Anyway, another idea in this book that I absolutely love is these randomly embroidered buttons. Aren’t they pretty? And the bigger the better! You could practice doing little flowers all over a small piece of fabric, and then use a metal cover button to make one of these, and use it as a brooch, or a fridge magnet, or make several for use on clothing.
The book has 160 pages, and a pocket at the back with a pull-out sheet of templates for the various projects. Little line drawings are given for each project, so you get an indication of what to stitch where, but a lot of the choices are up to you. The photography is gorgeous, and the explanations are clear. At times, I did feel that Lorna struggled a bit to write enough text, as it got a bit repetitive, but I suspect that might have been due to the publishers saying ‘you need to write xx thousands of words!!’ when really, a book like this just needs lovely photos, which this book has in bucketloads.
Lorna is a really good designer – if you want to try some surface embroidery for a change, then get a copy of this book and give it a go. You can’t hope for a better teacher of this style of embroidery.
Title: Embroidered Country Gardens
Author: Lorna Bateman
Publisher: Search Press
Price: £17.99 in 2020
ISBN: 978 1 78221 578 3