I’ve been collecting embroidery books for over 40 years. Once in a while, a really good one comes along, but not very often, these days. But this week I’m going to do a book review of a really fantastic book called ‘A Flower Alphabet’, by Elisabetta Sforza. This is one embroidery book that you’ve really just got to have!!
If you have ever seen the book ‘Embroidery for all Seasons’ by Diana Lampe (published by Milner Craft in 2006), you might recognise Elisabetta’s style – she has taken Diana’s little floral motifs (with Diana’s permission), and really made them into something very different. This book is the result of many many hours of stitching, where Elisabetta has created all the letters of the alphabet in this gorgeous floral look, in so many pretty colourways that you just don’t know which one to stitch first.
(If the floral letters seem familiar, that might be because Elisabetta had an article published in Inspirations magazine in 2016, in issue 89, so if you’ve got that issue, dig it out and see what I mean about how lovely her embroidery is!)
I first heard about her book when Mary Corbet reviewed it on her Needle ‘n Thread website. Elisabetta is Italian, so Mary recommended that people in Europe contacted Elisabetta direct to purchase the book. But when I did, she said that she didn’t actually sell the book herself outside of Italy, but that it was available from Tombolo Disegni – if you’ve never visited this website (and I hadn’t), it is an amazing site, full of the most wonderful needlework threads, tools, and books.
So, I was able to order this book through them, and indulge myself a bit with some of the other things that they sold, at the same time.
You need to be aware if you’re buying from the UK, though, that shipping from italy to the UK is VERY EXPENSIVE!! It cost me 24 euros for the book, and 19 euros for the shipping. But it was worth it…..
The book is A4 sized, softback, and has 68 pages. The text is in Italian and English throughout, which is very helpful for people like me who know absolutely no Italian! The photos are gorgeous. There’s several pages explaining the stitches that Elisabetta uses to create the floral letters, general instructions, information about the threads used (mainly DMC using two strands), how to stitch particular types of flowers, and details of the two sizes of alphabet that the designs come in.
Throughout the book, each double page spread has a different overall colourway, with various letters shown in close up.
I love this blue and green colourway!
The book is very inspirational, with many images of the letters used on various household items. There are close-up photos showing how different fabrics affect the way the finished embroideries would look, too.
As well as being suitable for embroidery stitches, the floral alphabet letters can be stitched in beads, whitework, and even ribbon embroidery. Isn’t this one lovely?
The last few pages of the book have line drawings of all the letters of the alphabet for you to trace off and use, in two sizes (11cm high, and 7cm high), although I reckon a tiny version about 3cm high would look good, if you stitched it in one strand of thread – but that’s just me, miniaturising everything! There are also a few shapes such as hearts done in the floral style, for more options.
This book is so unusual, that even if you never get round to stitching anything from it, it would just be good to look at. But I am already planning what I can make from it, in several colourways, types of thread, and different sizes. It’s that kind of book 🙂
Title: A Flower Alphabet by Elisabetta Sforza.
Published: October 2017.
24 euros from Tombolo Disegni in Italy.
Elisabetta’s blog is at: elisabettaricami.blogspot.com and is well worth a visit.
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