Book review: ‘The art of bead embroidery: Japanese style’ by Margaret Lee

I love beading, so when I found out that this book, ‘The Art of Bead Embroidery – Japanese style’ by Margaret Lee had been released, I just had to get it! It’s published by Stitchology, who publish the Australian embroidery magazine ‘Inspirations’, so I just knew it was going to be good…..Art of bead embroidery

Margaret Lee really knows her subject. In the book, she goes into detail about the equipment you’ll need to do Japanese style bead embroidery, design ideas, various techniques such as how to stitch neat lines of beads, plus filling stitches too…..

Art of bead embroidery

There’s a detailed section on the tools you’ll need. I’ve been doing embroidery for over 50 years now, but some of these tools were news to me!

Art of bead embroidery

The techniques are explained with photos as well as neat diagrams in the typical ‘Inspirations magazine’ style.

Art of bead embroidery

About a third of the 116 page book is for the projects – nine in total. These are really lovely. They range from a small handbag mirror, through evening bags and glasses cases, to ones such as this lovely beaded box lid.

Art of bead embroidery

I loved the photography in the book – very atmospheric, and really gets you wanting to grab some beads and get beading!

I think this glasses case is my favourite project in the whole book – I like stitching with yellow shades, as it lifts my spirit. The design is a gorgeous flowing paisley pattern. There’s a matching small handbag that can be made from the same pattern – dimensions and instructions are given for both, and you just double the quantities of beads listed when making the bag.

Art of bead embroidery

At the end of the book there is a section for ‘case studies’, which is a kind of in-depth analysis of a couple of designs, without giving detailed instructions for how to make them, but explaining the design and execution challenges – interesting to see how Margaret Lee thinks these through.

As with the Inspirations magazines themselves, this book comes with pullout sheets of pattern outlines at the back of the book. If you love these designs, but feel that you’d prefer to just do them in embroidery (that’s what I kept thinking, anyway!), then these pattern outlines would be very useful.

 

Pros:

A beautifully presented book, with lots of projects explained in detail with good photography. The projects list which techniques are used, along with fabric and bead quantities required, and build up from simple to complex throughout the book. I really loved the fact that Margaret lists the bead quantities per project in the format of a fraction of a 2″ x 1/2 ” tube – such as half a tube, or a third of a tube. Such an easy way for you to work out if you’ve got enough beads of the right colour in your stash!! This book covers an unusual topic, so if you already have ‘too many’ embroidery books, then this one could be justified simply by being that little bit different!

Cons:

Not many, really. The contents page has the projects listed with names like ‘Hanami’, but not what the project is FOR – such as ‘glasses case’. So, if you’re looking for something in particular, it’s quicker to just flick through the book. Perhaps it seems a little pricey at £28 for a paperback, but this is an exceptional book.

Conclusion

I feel that Margaret Lee is the Jane Nicholas of the bead embroidery world. She has got an eye for detail and a neatness that really shines through. Her eye for colour is amazing. This book is full of her personality. Even if you never actually make anything from this book (despite your good intentions….) then this book is worth getting. I love it!

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The Art of Bead Embroidery – Japanese style by Margaret Lee

Publisher: Inspirations

ISBN 978 0 9923144 7 7

Price: £28.99

Available from the publisher, Inspirations (i.e. Stitchology), the UK Distributor Search Press or from Amazon.

 

PS: This month’s Inspirations magazine, Issue 95, has an article and a project (which is not one repeated from the book!) in it. It’s to make the beading tools case which is shown open in the book, but we never got to see what the beaded side looks like! So, if you would like to ‘try out’ one of Margaret’s beaded projects for yourself before investing in the book, buying Issue 95 might be the way to go first  🙂

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

There’s a dollhouse scale Home Sweet Home kit review in this month’s DHMS magazine

If you love mini samplers, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a dollhouse scale Home Sweet Home kit review in this month’s DHMS magazine (Dolls House and Miniature Scene).

Home Sweet Home dollhouse sampler kit

Moi Ali, who regularly writes for DHMS, contacted me a while back and asked if she could ‘have a go’ at stitching my little miniature Home Sweet Home sampler kit, and she’d write a review of how the kit works out. Of course, I thought it was a great idea – see the September issue of DHMS (out this month, August 2017) to see how she got on! This is the one I stitched:

Home sweet home miniature sampler

The sampler is from my range of 12 sampler kits for doll’s houses – it’s a cute little design to be stitched on 32 count evenweave fabric with one strand of Anchor thread, in tent stitch (like half cross stitch – if you’ve only ever done cross stitch before, you’ll find this really easy). Each one measures 1.8 x 2.1 inches (4.5 x 5.5 cm) when framed. All materials are provided, including the wooden frame. Priced at £9.95, each kit will give you several evenings of stitching pleasure, and you’ll have a great little sampler to show for it at the end 🙂

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

There’s going to be a new Carolyn Pearce etui to stitch!

This is a quick ‘heads-up’ post to make sure you’re aware that there’s going to be a new Carolyn Pearce project to stitch soon! The latest issue of the wonderful Inspirations magazine (number 95) features a heart-shaped stumpwork etui set by the very talented Carolyn Pearce. She is the designer of the Home Sweet Home etui box that I spent 16 months and 47 blog posts on!

The heart etui is called ‘Strawberry Fayre’. Some of you, if you’re really lucky, may have been able to stitch this in the past if you attended one of Carolyn’s stitching retreats. I think it was also featured as a class project at Beating Around the Bush in Australia a couple of years back.

But for those of us who will never have the chance to attend one of Carolyn’s classes in person, this is the next best thing! Inspirations magazine will be covering this project in their usual detailed way – it takes up 18 pages in the magazine this month!

So, make sure you get a copy while it’s available, as popular issues of this magazine have a nasty habit of selling out rather quickly, and after the magazine has sold out, the publishers produce ‘design packs’ (which means the instruction pages from the magazine – no materials included) instead, which cost more for one design than one whole issue of the magazine  🙂

There is also a materials pack from Stitchology available, which is AUS$ 241 (Carolyn is well-known for using a huge range of different threads and beads, etc., in her work – hence the high cost. But I bet it’s lovely….).

However, if, like me, you have a huge stash and some time to work through the materials list and find substitutes, this project should be possible to complete at a much reduced cost.

Get the magazine direct from Stitchology  or, in the UK, order it from Manor House Publications as a single issue for £7.95 inc shipping (they also do a four issue subscription for £30 to UK addresses – far cheaper than getting each issue posted to you from Australia!!).

I am planning to start this etui during the coming winter. I’ve seen it on Pinterest several times, and drooled over it, but could never find anywhere that sold it, as a kit or design pack. I’m going to be using my own choice of threads and fabric.

So, if you fancy another ‘in depth’ kind of stitchalong, similar to the Home Sweet Home workbox, then get your copy of the magazine now, and start planning…..

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

Christmas in July in the doll’s house!

The summer is actually a good time to start planning your Christmas-themed stitching, as it gives you plenty of time to get things finished, so I’m having a ‘Christmas in July in the doll’s house’ sale. You can get several mini needlepoint kits for your twelfth scale dollhouse at special offer prices this week – there’s 10% off all kits from my range that feature anything to do with Christmas, such as Christmas stocking kits (11 designs) ……

Christmas tree mat kits (3 designs)……

a Christmas table runner kit……

and a kit to make 4 Christmas placemats or one to make a round table centre!

Just use the code CHRISTMAS IN JULY at the checkout on my website when you buy any of these Christmas-themed kits, and save 10% on the usual prices. The offer ends midnight Sunday 23rd July.

Enjoy your Christmassy stitching!

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits