Sunday 12 May 2013

Book Review: Stitch and Sew Home

Today's book is very very different to the one I reviewed yesterday... for starters, check out the pretty pink cover!

This is a seriously girly, pretty book - with lots of roses, birds, butterflies and oodles of pink.

It reminds me a lot of Cath Kidston's prints and I think if you're a fan of all things CK you're gonna love this book.

The book contains "over 45 cross stitch, embroidery and sewing projects" but there are also several paper crafting projects, some small crochet patterns, a couple of projects involving self-hardening clay, and several mixed media projects that have a stitched or other textile element to them.

This is a book that's heavy on pretty, inspirational pictures and light on instructional content. Many of the projects just have a list of materials and brief instructions - sometimes as little as three lines of text - but some have more detailed instructions (there are no diagrams though, and no techniques section). Mostly this doesn't matter though, as the projects are either quite simple ideas, like adding covered buttons to a charm bracelet...

... or the instructions are intended as more of a starting point than a step-by-step "how to" for creating the exact design pictured - as in the bunting project where you're just told to decorate the bunting "how you like".

Several of the projects are variations - for example, different ideas for using covered buttons; and in one section you're given instructions for making a fabric bird and then there's a series of projects where you can use the bird(s) to make a bird in a box, a bird on a string, a bird mobile, etc.

When I first got sent this book to review (along with some other titles I'd requested) I have to admit to looking at it and thinking it was a bit too girly for me, but actually looking through it again I found a lot of things that I'd quite like to make - if not for myself, then things that would make nice little gifts or pretty decor ideas for parties or a wedding.

My favourite projects are probably the cross stitch roses - this cushion just makes me swoon!

The majority of projects in the book are actually made with (or include some) materials that were specifically designed by Eline to accompany the book - fabric, paper, ribbons and stamps in a range called "Eline's House". So lots of the materials lists will say to use a certain product from the collection, and you'd need to track these down if you wanted to recreate the designs exactly.

You could easily use different pretty paper and fabric to make a lot of the projects (just as you wouldn't be using exactly the same fabric, etc, to recreate the designs in other craft books), but some are very specifically built around the supplies in the range - especially the stamps. Some of these could, again, be substituted (for example for the butterfly projects you could easily find some other butterfly stamps to use instead) but others seem to be very specific designs I think you'd have trouble finding in other ranges, so you'd just have to skip those projects.

What do you guys think about this sort of "craft supplies & book" tie-in? Have you seen any other craft books that are like this? I guess it pretty directly solves the problem of having lovely supplies and not knowing what to make with them, but I do find the projects that depend upon owning a certain specific supply a little frustrating... and I expect that the product range to accompany the book will only become harder and harder to find as time goes on, so if there's something I like the look of in this book, does that mean I have to rush out and buy the matching supply now in case it's no longer available when/if I want to make the project in the future?

I am actually very tempted to buy the butterfly stamp set as they are quite lovely and I can see myself using them in a lot of my own projects as well as possibly recreating some of the ideas in the book. I couldn't find anywhere in the UK to buy them, but this store in the Netherlands carries them along with some of the other projects designed to accompany Eline's books.

UPDATE: Eline has let me know that this shop in the UK also carries some of her products, including new digital versions of the (now sold out) paper packs that were designed to accompany Stitch and Sew Home

Overall, this is a very pretty book with a lot of lovely project ideas but it's definitely one to buy if you prefer your craft books to be more inspirational than purely instructional.

Stitch and Sew Home is published by David & Charles. RRP £14.99. It's available from Stitch Craft Create, Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.

[Disclaimer: David & Charles sent me a free review copy of this book. The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]


Anonymous said...

I love the beautiful projects you have chosen to work up! Anything with flowers/butterflies are winners in my book. Kudos on your bravery in showing the reverse side! On the whole, it looks very good. But you want to do even better, right? Suggestion: when you begin a thread in embroidery, leave a little extra tail and work it into your first several stitches, rather than make a knot.(Unless it's for clothing that will be laundered) It is a prettier and neater look. (You did ask for suggestions, didn't you?)When you do counted cross stitch, do the same thing, come into your work a few stitches away and work it into your stitches. Also, don't carry your thread more than 5 squares across over your work. If you can hide it under previous stitches, all the better. I did counted cross stitch "back in the day" (80's, 90's?)way before blogs and instant resources! I picked up my tips in books. You can probably learn much more than my few points via I'net (plus you'll see PICTURES--so helpful). One point I read was that if it's hard to tell your front side from your back side in needlework, you're an excellent needle-worker. My work never quite achieved such a status, but it's nice to aspire to excellence. You are a talented needle-worker already and I enjoy your blog. I hope my few ideas are a help to you. Nice to see you branching out in other directions and enhancing your skills. A thought: "Only God makes perfection." In the past some needle-workers here in the States deliberately made a quilt block or bit of their project irregular/not exactly matching, so they wouldn't become "prideful"/excessively proud of their work. Some of the point is don't stress over imperfections.
Best of all? Enjoy the process!

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks so much for your comment!

I totally agree with you re: things not needing to be 100% perfect, but I'm always happy to learn new ways to improve. These tips are much appreciated xx