09 May 2013

Review: The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery by Jane Nicholas

The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery by Jane Nicholas book cover
As well as reading and all things book-related, I do enjoy a few other hobbies, one of which includes cross stitch. One of the books I want to read is called The Stumpwork Robe by Prue Batten which is about a woman who hides a story in the embroidery of a magnificent robe.

This cross-over of stitching and reading led me on a quest to find out more about stumpwork and what better place to start than with The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery. What I wasn't expecting to find was that the author Jane Nicholas is a fellow Australian, and an Australian with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) no less, for her services to hand embroidery as an artist, teacher, and author.

Jane has been researching and working in the field for over 20 years and travels all over the world teaching and designing and is a leading expert in the world of embroidery and stumpwork. One of her designs, Homage to the Seventeenth Century is printed in colour in the end papers of The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery, and took her 5 years to finish! Pictured below, it had me spellbound, and staring at her work with my mouth open for minutes on end, then flicking back and forth understanding which stitches she used for which components.

In Jane's words, stumpwork is: a term used to refer to a particular form of domestic raised embroidery practised in England between 1650 and 1700. Given my love of historical fiction, I find this fascinating, many young girls working on their samplers as part of their coming of age.

The Complete Book of Stumpwork Embroidery is an interesting and instructional book with a nod to history and includes the different styles of stitches used, and many designs to choose from. My only wish would have been more colour photographs and drawings.

All in all, an inspiring and hefty hardback reference book, and worthy addition to any crafter's bookshelf.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
Homage to the Seventeenth Century by Jane Nicholas

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