Scandinavian Stitch Craft: Unique Projects and Patterns for Inspired Embroidery by Karin Holmberg is published by Running Press (who sent me a copy to review). It just came out in May 2013, and it retails for $19 US and $22 CAN. Of course, as with most books, you can get a discount if you buy it through Amazon.com. The book is 128 pages long and has 39 projects, so it is packed with inspiration. In fact, in the author’s introduction, she specifically states that the purpose of the book is to inspire, but it is also possible to make each project exactly as shown in the book as well. The projects range from the basic to the very ornate. For example, if you want something that won’t take too long or if you are a beginner, the first two projects are embroidered linen T-towels. For those who prefer more of a challenge, the Hoodie: Dala Maiden will keep you busy, and it is gorgeous!
The idea of this book, though, is that you can add a little bit of ornamentation or a lot. You can cover an entire hoodie style jacket with flowers and leaves, or you can just add one or two flowers to it. The projects show more so how you can use the techniques to embroidery all kinds of things: t-shirts, underwear, pillows, bags, jackets, and so on. The stitch techniques originate from Scandinavia, and the author provides some historical information about how they developed.
The back part of the book includes information about the materials you need, which are pretty minimal. Then there are instructions that include illustrations and text for each of the different stitches used like running stitch and back stitch. Finally, there are patterns for all of the project, and there is even a pocket in the back that includes tracing paper so that you can transfer the patterns to it.
The projects in this book are all really beautiful. I don’t know if I am ready to embroider underwear any time soon, but items like a t-shirt or a hoodie embellished with a few flowers would make wonderful gifts or everyday items to keep and wear yourself. I only have one small issue with this book, and that has to do with the photographs. They are pretty, but in some cases I felt they were to “artsy” and did not show the full item well enough. I say some cases because not all of them are like that. The Blackwork Modern tablecloth has an art-type photo as well as one that shows the entire piece, but then right before that are two pillow projects that you don’t get to see one of the pillows in its entirety. Instead, it is viewed at an angle.
For anyone who enjoys needlework, this is a wonderful book, and at the Amazon.com price, I think it is well worth it. If you have never done any needlework, then pack some patience, but there are ideas for lots of small projects in here. Plus, you really only need a very small number of supplies to get started with a hobby like this, but it is not for those who require immediate gratification. Seasoned embroidery people will know that though.