Needle weaving techniques for hand embroidery. And Needle lace techniques for hand Embroidery

Blomkamp, Hazel
 Needle weaving techniques for hand embroidery. Tunbridge Wells, Search Press, 2017 ISBN: 978 1 78221 517 2 111 pages  And  Needle lace techniques for hand embroidery. Tunbridge Wells, Search Press, 2017 ISBN: 978 1 78221 518 9 125 pages 

This pair of books may fill a gap in your collection of ‘how to’ embroidery books. They are not project books but rather, are books which describe techniques for both needle lace and (needle) weaving. Physically, both books are lovely. They are a nice size and both have spiral binding, which is such a plus when you need a book to stay open and flat so that you can follow instructions. Both books are nicely set out. They start with a brief introductory page which covers basic information and tips. This is followed by a page on how to read the instructions and patterns. 

 Each stitch, or pattern, has clearly illustrated instructions in the form of a drawn diagram. The needle lace book also has written instructions, whereas the needle weaving one has a table with the numbers and colours for warp threads, then the weft threads and the number of rows for each pattern repeat. They seem very easy to follow, so I decided to work a few samples, having, in the past thought something looked simple to execute and finding that – well, it wasn’t!  

Now I have to confess here, that I am one of those people for whom map and plan reading is a real challenge. I worked four of the first (and simplest) needle lace stitches and it went quite well, much to my surprise. I found that I referred more to the diagrams than the written instructions and they made sense. I didn’t have time to try the more complex laces but feel that they should not present too hard a challenge, Although there is a mistake in the very first diagram, one would hope this is the only aberration as it would be a real nuisance had it been on a more complex pattern and not so obvious. This volume has basic stitches, numbered stitches, stitches for edging, extra techniques, and finishes with ‘fillers’.  

 I ran out of time to do any needle weaving samples, but given the clarity of the needle lace instructions, decided that the weaving instructions, which certainly look clear, would be as straightforward to follow. This volume has sections on getting started, basic weaving stitches, checks and stripes, and patterns and textures.  If either technique is something you would like to try, or improve your skills with, I would suggest borrowing the books from a library before rushing out to buy them. While both techniques are interesting, I feel their use may be limited. I will borrow the needle weaving book again some time as, for me, this looks the more interesting of the two but that is just my personal preference. 

Erica Marsden