Book review: Embroidered Country Gardens by Lorna Bateman

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 Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Here’s the contents page:

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

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




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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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Look what I got for Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! This year, I had a very stitching-focussed Christmas, with some really lovely presents which will keep me busy well into 2015.

This book, ‘Crewel Twists‘ by Hazel Blomkamp, is one I’ve had my eye on ever since it came out a while back. That’s not a black and white image of the cover – it really is that colour!! Hazel has taken the traditional ‘crewel’ or ‘Jacobean’ style of embroidery, and modernised it for the 21st Century. It’s a wonderful book.

Xmas 01

This is a quick preview of one of the projects from the book. I’ll do a proper book review of it for this blog as soon as I’ve read it properly.

Xmas 02

I had two gifts which came from a French shop called Les Brodeuses Parisiennes. They have a beautiful shop, filled with goodies, and a website with English translations. Their range is quite large, but so are their prices  🙂  This is a ‘semi kit’ (i.e the fabric pouch and a colour block chart with thread suggestions for DMC, but no threads). The flap of the bag is linen, and the lining has been left open so that you can get your hand in behind it to do the stitching, then you can slip stitch the lining closed. It measures about 12 inches by 9. I’m planning to use it to carry my small embroidery projects in when I’m travelling, as it will look better than the Sainsbury’s carrier bag that I usually use!

Xmas 03

As I was cooking the Christmas dinner, I pulled the threads that I’ll use to stitch this with (as you do!). That annoying brand label on the right hand side has been snipped off now, by the way.

Xmas 04

The other gift from Les Brodeuses Parisiennes was this multi page chart for an alphabet on the theme of dressmaking. It’s really detailed. I’m planning to make a tote bag for carrying larger sewing projects, with the whole alphabet stitched around it.

Xmas 05

This scissor keeper ‘pattern and print’ pack (i.e. another half kit with no threads, but printed linen pieces and muslin backing fabric) is from Lorna Bateman. It’s really gorgeous. The cottage garden flowers are stitched in lots of different surface embroidery stitches, with the option to personalise it on the reverse with your initials. The pretty gold handled scissors are to fit inside the scissor keeper when it is finished, and were also a present. I realised I needed some new embroidery scissors when I was cutting the threads for the hardanger windows on the Gingerbread Stitching House that I’ve just finished, and the blades wouldn’t cut neatly. My old stork scissors were over twenty years old, I reckon, so it was time for some new ones, and these are really good!

Xmas 06


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