Stitches: New Approaches (Jan Beaney)

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The local library service pulled this book out of their “Reserve Store” for me (last borrowed 17 Nov 2000).  Most of the photographic plates are in black and white but I think this is the best way to show stitches that are used to impart texture and movement.  The line drawings detailing the steps to achieve each embroidery stitch are also, on the whole, very easy to interpret.

This book was published in 1985 and, as such, is a snap-shot of decorative stitchery of that time.  I did find some of the combinations of thread and fabric slightly cringe-worthy, especially since many of the embroidery samples seem to have been made up of hairy hemp stitched on some kind of linen scrim or wholemeal hessian.  Perhaps that is one of the side-effects of using black and white photography, in that you are forced on focus on the backbones of the image, rather than be distracted by pretty colours.  I have since discovered (thanks to Amazon) that there has been a new edition published in 2004 and I will be back to the library service for this version asap!

There were a few images of embroideries from historical textiles and more from other countries.  I would like to do some more research on textiles from other cultures and hope to find some more reference works detailing these.

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