Simply Stitched by Yumiko Higuchi
Recently I have become more and more interested in cross stitch, embroidery and other needle work. Maybe because it can be even easier than knitting. When knitting, I have to keep referring back to the pattern but with a lot of needle work the pattern is right on the fabric. I still have to reference a printed pattern but less often. Anyway, what I'm really getting at is that I picked up another needle work book to review.
Simply Stitched by Yumiko Higuchi is an embroidery book that focuses on floral and animal patterns that use a combination of wool and cotton thread. The thick wool gives the pieces a more three dimensional feel.
I originally picked up the book because of the thistle pattern but really all of the patterns are pretty and elegant. But when I went to actually do a project I realized I didn't have the right colors for the thistles so I decided to do a simple black floral design instead.
Getting the pattern onto the fabric was tricky. I ended up drawing it free hand with a white pencil but in the book there is a more accurate, but complicated, procedure with multiple layers of chalk paper or something like that. I'm sure it works great but most of the designs are simple enough that if you have a modicum of drawing ability you can probably just free hand a decent facsimile onto the fabric.
It's not perfect but I think it was good for my first attempt. The pattern I chose was meant to be repeated and turned into a belt. I was not sure about my ability in this type of stitching so I opted for a wrist cuff. I squeezed the dimensions a bit but it turned out alright.
In the book the author recommends using a special type of wool embroidery thread but I didn't have that. I did, however, have a thin enough wool knitting yarn that I could thread through a large needle and seemed to be roughly the same dimensions as the type shown in the book.
The design also called for simple cotton embroidery thread for the smaller, more detailed, portions of the design.
Overall I really like the look of the piece and the two types of thread together. Upon closer inspection you can tell that the will thread designed for embroidery is more twisted and precise than my yarn but I don't think mine looks bad. If I really got into this type of embroidery I might splurge on some special wool thread but I also like the idea of using up some of the yarn in my stash. Some of my color variation yarn would probably look really cool as flowers like this.
Overall this book has good directions but I wouldn't pick it up if you are completely new to embroidery. Doing a couple small projects with just cotton thread and getting use to using a needle and thread will greatly increase your chances of success when you move onto the patterns in this book. If you are an accomplished needle worker then jump right in.
There are some nice simple patterns to start with and then some intricate ones such as this floral motif. So if you enjoy embroidery and want to try working with wool thread then this is a great book with a lot of pretty designs that can be used for a lot of different projects. It takes practice but once you get it the look is really pretty.