Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Needle Felting

20 Cute Projects to Felt From Wool By Emma Herian Published by GMC Publications RRP £14.99

Want to learn a new craft this autumn then this is the book for you. I have long been an admirer of Emma’s work and have followed her on instagram for a while. She is a craftswoman of great renown who has many skills under her belt and appears to turn her hand to new projects almost effortlessly. In her forward to this book she describes how she came to needle felting by accident when she was asked to run a workshop on it.

Unlike many crafts, needle felting is very forgiving to beginners, so there is no excuse not to have a go. As if by magic, pieces of natural wool can be sculpted simply by stabbing them with special felting needles.

The tiny barbs on the needles make the wool denser and denser, so that it can be moulded into whatever shape you desire. The book is divided into three sections geared towards beginner, intermediate and advanced, there’s a felting project for everyone, no matter what level of experience.

 The basic techniques are covered and each project is accompanied, with step-by-step instructions and, photographs. There are hints and tips throughout, and twenty projects in all. Once you have made many of the projects in the book you will be in a position to create your own. There are projects to make for occasions such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter and other celebrations. There are lovely animals including, rabbits, piglets, bears and a bee.

My only criticism of the book is the name ‘Cute’ which gives it the feel of something, well cute! I feel the work has much more substance to it than that. If you want to try a new craft that takes up little room and is perfect for winter evenings then this my friends, is it.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Sashiko

20 projects using traditional Japanese stitching

Jill Clay

Published by GMC publications

Here at Creative Colour we are very taken with the whole concept of slow, and hand sewing  in particular, as a way of winding down after a hard days graft, so this book is perfect for us.

What is Sashiko? It is a traditional Japanese sewing method that uses evenly spaced running stitches to create eye catching geometric patterns. It has a humble background, originating as a form of darning – a way to strengthen weak areas of cothing. However its utilitarian beginnings have since been shed, and it is now a popular form of decorative embroidery.

This book explores this strikingly effective technique and demonstrates how to apply it to a range of useful and ornamental items for the home, and to accessories and gifts. Minimalist in style, Sashiko sits perfectly in modern interiors as well as traditional environments giving it broad appeal.

         Sashiko is pronounce Sash(i)ko, the I is almost silent. It means little stabs because it involves stabbing the needle in and out of the fabric, to make a number of small gathers on the needle.

When the needle is pulled through it creates a series of small stitches. It has also sometimes been called rice stitch as traditionally the yarn colour is off white and resembles a grain of sand.

         There are twenty projects in this book and several of them use traditional designs. Shippo Tsunaagi  known as Seven Treasures is a design used in Buddist Art. Bamboo is often used as a design and it signifies prosperity as well as purity and strength.

You need very little in the way of tools and the techniques are simple. The projects range from practical to beautiful. There are small projects that will take much less time than large ones with a density of stitches. So it is up to you to decide how long you have to create a project.

As the author, Jill Clay, says in this excellent book

“ Although there are some ‘rules’ to sashiko, I prefer to think of them as guidelines which is what my sashiko teacher taught me. Following the guidelines is important, but so is enjoying what you are doing. The simple message is don’t take it too seriously, relax and enjoy.”

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Fat Quarter : Toys

25 Projects to make from short lengths of fabric

By Susie Johns

Published by GMC Publications

Fat Quarter Toys is the latest addition to a fabulous and popular series of stash – busting sewing books. There are 25 cute and colourful toys and games to make for young children, all from fat quarters or fabric scraps to make use of your stash.

         Each project is accompanied by step-by-step instructions and beautiful accompanying photography, and there is the usual useful tools and techniques section for those who are new to sewing. The toys are quick and straightforward to make and none of them require any specialist skills or expensive materials.

         This book is perfect for using left over scraps of fabric or even repurposing old clothes that might otherwise go into land fill.

The projects make great gifts or can be made quickly and easily to sell at charity events. Included in the projects are a tiger rattle, rabbit cuddle blanket, teddy bear, fox in a sleeping bag, fishing set, bean bags, stacking rings, memory game, alphabet letters, number cubes, rag doll, picnic blankets and more.

Susie Johns is a designer, teacher and craft workshop leader. She has written dozens of craft books and works regularly for consumer craft magazines in the UK.