What I got for Christmas this year…..

In our house, so that we get what we’d really like, we tend to make use of ‘Christmas elves’, who get a note in November with a nice list of ‘possibles’ – sometimes with details of exactly where to get the actual product from, in case the elf isn’t exactly sure!

So, this year, I was delighted, but not altogether surprised, to get some really lovely things for Christmas…

Betsy Morgan Willing Hands embroidery book

This is a book that I’ve been wanting to own since it came out in the autumn – it’s ‘Willing Hands’, by Betsy Morgan. Betsy’s book has 8 projects in, all created in her really artistic style, using cross stitch and other stitches to make lovely etuis. I’ll be doing a proper book review of this one soon.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

This is another book that I’ve had my eye on for a few months – this pretty ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’ book by Lorna Bateman has lots of projects in her delicate surface embroidery style, to make sewing accessories. I can never have too many sewing accessories!! I’ve got the scissor case ready to make up in my stash, but these all co-ordinate with it, so it’s really tempting to get on with it and make them all. It’s obviously a very different embroidery style from Betsy Morgan’s book, but I love the differences between the styles. I’ll be doing a review of this book soon, too.

St Petersburg Fantasy set watercolour paints

This is something new for me – watercolour paints!! I’ve been using coloured pencils ever since Johanna Basford’s colouring books became popular a few years ago, but watercolours always seemed a bit scary. But I’ve decided that I’ll have a go, as these two brands seem really good, and the colours are just gorgeous – very tempting to try. The large palette is by a Russian company called St Petersburg. The brand is White Nights, and this set is their Fantasy Set, as it has lots of bright shades, and very few browns (I don’t like brown!). I’ve also got 12 extra colours added to the spaces that are usually left in the centre of the box, so that I can have more purples than are usually included (you can never have too many purples!).

Metallic paints set

This small tin is very special. These are 12 metallic mica paints from KJDesignByKaren on Etsy- these are really lovely colours, and I can’t wait to try them out. Many people use these for calligraphy, but I’m going to use them for details in my Johanna Basford colouring books.

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Book review – ‘Goldwork: techniques, projects and pure inspiration’ by Hazel Everett

Front cover
Back cover

I recently bought the book ‘Goldwork: techniques, projects and pure inspiration’ by Hazel Everett, as I kept seeing glowing reviews about it everywhere. I don’t usually do ‘pure’ goldwork embroidery myself, but I do enjoy adding gold threads to surface embroidery (such as outlining), so I thought that maybe I’d pick up some tips about how to incorporate more gold threads into my embroidery.

I was really imppressed with this book – the other reviews that I’d seen hadn’t been exaggerating! The book has 144 pages, and is a large format paperback, published by Search Press, who have a good reputation for craft books. There are lovely full colour photos throughout, and clear diagrams where techniques are being explained.

But it’s the detail in this book that make it so special. The double page spread explaining about the different kinds of needles that can be used for goldwork is really informative, for instance.

Types of gold thread are covered in detail, as are what equipment you’ll need, what order of work is best, how to add beads, and so on. Page after page of inspirational images make you want to get started NOW!! Several times throughout the book a simple outline, such as a leaf, is depicted using many different goldwork techniques – both for outlining stitches and filling stitches.

Towards the end of the book are the projects. These vary a lot in style and difficulty, so there should be something for everyone. I loved the Elizabethan needlebook project on page 126, stitched on a gorgeous maroon silk dupion with trellis goldwork, pearl beads and several types of gold thread.

This book would be a very worthwhile addition to your bookshelf.

The book is widely available (e.g. Amazon), Published by Search Press, and costs £17.99  ISBN 978 1 84448 626 7

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