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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Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 17: your stitching!

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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This week, as I’ve completed the embroidery on the front panel, I was going to feature images of your stitching, as several of you have been stitching it along with me….BUT, you seem to be a rather modest lot, as I’ve only had two people send in images of their heart etui panels to feature! But they’re really good ones, so read on…..

My Strawberry Fayre front panel embroidery looks like this:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The images I received were by Jeanette, from Australia, and she has done an amazing job on her heart etui (in fact, she’s almost finished hers, but I’m not going to let you see all of her pictures until I have reached the point that she’s got to!!).

This is the front panel of Jeanette’s etui:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Jeanette is stitching her etui using the materials pack that she bought direct from the Inspirations magazine, so her colours are quite a bit different from mine. I like both – they are just different!

This is Jeanette’s panel once she has mounted it onto the heart-shaped padded plastic shape, ready to make into the etui. It looks much more ‘real’ like this, doesn’t it?

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Jeanette has actually almost finished hers, and sent me some very tempting images of the rest of the etui, but I’m not going to show you those just yet! You’ll have to wait!

Alexandra sent in this image of her panel, which is almost finished:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

She says, “I really am enjoying this project and have learnt a great deal as I’ve gone along. I’ve still got the strawberries/raspberries to finish and have found them challenging, I really don’t see the point of the oyster stitch when it has a bead on top, but that’s just choice. I have mainly used the threads suggested but there are some substitutions. I also changed the primrose and calyx as I didn’t like the yellow.”

Isn’t it interesting how each stitcher’s personality comes out through their stitching?

The next bit I’m going to stitch from this project is the back panel, which should be a lot quicker to do than the front was, as there’s not so much embroidery on it, and most of the elements are very similar to the front panel.

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

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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.

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Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 9: stitching the carnation on the left

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in! This is what I am working on:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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A QUICK NOTE ABOUT HOURS OF STITCHING

I just want to make it clear that some weeks I get a lot done, and some weeks hardly anything! Some people were concerned last week when I said I’d done 15 hours….don’t worry, I don’t expect to do anything like that much per week! Some weeks, I hardly get the time to pick up my needle  🙂  So, do what you can, and I’ll be doing what I can, and eventually we should all get this thing stitched, one way or another!

STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – DIAMOND STITCH

This is the main pink flower on the front left of the heart etui. I’ve never done Diamond stitch before – this pretty stitch is used as a filling stitch for the petals of the carnation flower. There are instructions in Inspirations no. 95 showing you how to do it. There’s also this Video tutorial on the Needle ‘N Thread website showing you how to do Diamond stitch, which I found better, as it’s a complicated stitch!

I used a betweens needle no. 9 and two strands of Anchor 1028 substitute to stitch this one. It helps to place the tip of your needle in the loop as you’re pulling the thread tight to make the knots, to help place them exactly where you want them to be.  I’d been planning to use no. 11 seed beads for the highlights in the centre of each petal, but when I placed them on the fabric, I though they looked a bit chunky, so I used Petite Glass Beads by Mill Hill no. 42012 instead – a deep pinky red, very similar to the thread colour. Start with the smallest petals at the sides, and work the diamond stitch on each petal, doing the centre petal last, when you’ve really got the hang of this stitch, as it will notice more! On the smallest petals, I managed to fit in two beaded repeats. On the next two petals on each side, I got three beaded repeats, and on the centre petal I got four beaded repeats. You might be able to do it a bit ‘tighter’ and get a few more, but I couldn’t manage it.

STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – OUTLINES

I used Anchor 55 – a bright pink – to stitch the outlines of the petals in stem stitch once the Diamond stitch was completed. This only needs one strand, and a betweens needle. Start with the centre petal, and define how much of a point you want at the base of the petal, as the other petals will follow the  curve set by this main one, around the top of the calyx.

On the magazine’s stitched model, the petals ‘grow’ directly out of the calyx, touching it. On the pullout sheet’s pattern, the carnation is much more stylised, and the petals are definitely separate. This annoys me!! The pattern has several differences like this. The drawn pattern seems to almost be an afterthought sometimes, once the article for the magazine had been completed, and yet people like me are going to spend weeks, if not months, recreating the heart etui, and need an accurate pattern. The carnation itself has been drawn  on the pattern too close to the right hand thick stem, whereas the stitched model’s one is placed much better. Too late now, though – I wish I’d noticed it sooner….

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The Anchor 55 stem stitching is then outlined again very closely with Anchor 62 substitute, in one strand. I didn’t realise, until I was doing this part, that the diamond stitch filling on the centre petal should have started higher up, filling more of the centre area up to the points, so I decided I will have to fill in the gaps with more French knots than the instructions suggest, using Anchor 1028 substitute.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

 

STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – FRENCH KNOT FILLING

The petals look a lot better once they have been filled with French knots in the gaps, and with the second row of stem stitch outlining. At the base of the petals, I worked extra dark pink in long and short stitch, to make it look more solid, as I don’t like the ‘floating’ look of the petals otherwise.

STITCHING THE CARNATION FLOWER – CALYX

The calyx is first outlined with one strand of Anchor 267 substitute – if the drawn shape is a bit uneven, now is the time to even it up as you do the split stitch and define the shape. I then worked two layers (rather than the one suggested in the instructions), first vertically, then horizontally, inside the lines of the split stitch, using two strands. Then I did the top layer, also with two strands vertically, going just outside the split stitch outline. I stitched my lattice with the copper metallic thread diagonally, so that the couching threads didn’t sink into the vertical green padding, and then couched down the threads with one strand of Anchor 55, using tiny stitches.

The side sepals are worked in two strands of Anchor 265 substitute in Fishbone stitch (the left one came out far better than the right – don’t really know why!). The video tutorial on Needle ‘N Thread explains the stitch very well.

Fishbone stitch video tutorial from Needle 'N Thread

Then the centre lattice area is outlined last of all with the copper metallic thread.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The carnation has turned out really nicely, and I am pleased with it….except it will always be stitched too far to the right in the available space, for my liking!!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

If you’re stitching this along with me, how is your carnation turning out?

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

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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.

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It’s National Needlepoint Day!

Today, 7th September, it’s National Needlepoint Day!

So, make the most of your stitching today, wherever you are doing it – try stitching in public, to let people know that needlepoint is a legitimate hobby, and how much fun it is!

I’ve tried most embroidery techniques over the years. In the eighties, I went through a phase of stitching only needlepoint – that lasted for several years, and I don’t have any of those pieces left now, as I tended to make things as gifts. Big scatter cushions, wallhangings, bellpulls – mostly from kits, but some were  my own designs.

I used to travel from my home in Essex by train into London, and visit The Needlewoman Shop on Regent Street to get my needlepoint supplies then, and struggle home again with huge bags of goodies! Such a pity that that shop has long since closed. I used to love it! They had an amazing range.

Obviously, I’m biased, as I sell *miniature* needlepoint kits, so everything I do for my business is small, but I have grown to love the mini versions of needlepoint more than the full-sized ones now.

Here’s a few examples of my dollhouse scale needlepoint, which can be bought as kits from my website:

 

Are you stitching any needlepoint at the moment? Do you only do cross stitch? Or surface embroidery? Or blackwork? Or does it depend on your mood as to what kind of project you want to stitch?

Let me know in the comments!

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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.

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Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation