Hello from the workroom! I’m starting another blog series (to go in between my In Search of Supplies series) to review books. This effort has stemmed out of frustration with the negativity we all meet with online. When I see so much negativity, it is easy to be cynical and do nothing about it. After a lot of thought, I decided it was my job to be a positive voice in a sea of disapproval. As a designer of hand-stitching projects in a niche style, I want to support other designers around me. In one sense, you could say we are competing. But I prefer to think of it as expanding the market. Everybody has a distinctive style and technique—and I believe it is worth your time to try out different designers and types of projects to expand both your skills and your library of patterns. The reality is that I will never be able to make enough patterns to fill all of your time, so there's room for everyone! Sometimes I will cover other books, too, that are more inspiring than tutorial.
Most of all, I want people to enjoy the projects they work on. There are so many great books out there besides my own, covering a wide range of techniques and styles. I consider these reviews to be a recommendation and a shout-out to the great people who take time to share their art with all of us. Each time I do a book review, I will be doing a giveaway of the book as well, along with a few pieces of fabric to get you started.
Today’s book for review is Sweet & Simple Wool Appliqué published by C&T Publishing. It is a compilation of projects from other books by a myriad of well-known designers, including Lori Brechlin, Anni Downs, Debbie Duckworth, Betty Edgeall, Stacy Nash, Reneé Plains and Marlene Strauser.
For fun, I had Kelsey make Stacy Nash’s project, the Slipper and Large Strawberry Pinkeep. It was a quick and easy project. While she changed some of the fabrics and threads, she used Stacy's patterns and instructions to make this charming pair. This project was simple and took her less than two hours to make! She might be a fast stitcher, but in any case, it would not be a project that would keep you tied up for long. Not to mention you end up with a delightful result!
There is a nice guide for stitches at the beginning of the book, and an easy pull-out pattern page in the back. The staged photos are beautifully shot using vintage backdrops. The illustrations and instructions are comprehensive and easy to follow. If you are looking for a beginner project for wool appliqué or a selection of projects that would make great gifts, this book offers a collection of pieces that would be perfect.
Want to win this book, plus a little stack of fabric to get you started? Comment below with your favorite how-to book and why you love it in order to be entered in the giveaway! We’ll announce the winner Monday September 24, 2018.
Update: Congratulations to our winner, Cynthia, who shared "Making Handmade Books" by Alisa Golden as her favorite how-to book!