Knits from Nature: Sweaters and Accessories with Garden-Inspired Motifs. Dee Hardwicke

91rPX8mfWNL._AC_UY218_ML3_ Pub: Stackpole Books

Inspired by walks in nature, Dee Hardwicke designed this breathtaking collection of knits in beautiful heathered yarns that echo the natural themes. Featuring flowers and other botanical motifs, the sweaters, scarves, and shawls are fashioned in favourite classic silhouettes but with a fresh, new look. From work-appropriate cardigans to relaxed weekend wear, these pieces are simply stunning.

If you are new to knitting motifs or just need a refresher, you will find guidance and tips for working in multiple colours. Colourwork charts and full instructions are provided for each garment to ensure success.

My review

The knitwear in this book is simple and stunning.

Inspired by Mother Nature, the colour palette of each design is beautiful. The designs are a work of art, and each one has a warm and cosy look about them.

I have to mention that the book itself has an organic feel about it too, it is not a glossy book, it is understated and simple and I loved turning the pages just for the touch.

The easy to follow instructions are accompanied by charts, which show the pattern, and I adored the drawings of the garments. The photography is amazing, showing the designs off perfectly.

I loved the Hydrangea coat, which will be my first project from the book. It is a transitional garment, that will take me through the chill of Spring.

I think all knitters will love this book, the stylish designs will suit everyone, and with hats, scarfs and even socks to choose from, whether you keep it gift them, you will definitely enjoy knitting them.





About the Author

Dee Hardwicke is an artist, designer, and knitter with a passionate belief in creating beautiful and accessible pieces that bring colour and joy to everyday life. She is the author Knit Your Story in Yarn, and works from a studio in South Wales, United Kingdom.




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Crewel Embroidery: 7 enchanting designs inspired by fairy tales Tatiana Popova

81otQyPlwPL._AC_UY218_ML3_ Pub: Search Press

A magical collection of modern crewelwork embroidery designs inspired by fairy tales.

In this beautiful book, Tatiana Popova shows the reader how to create stunning crewelwork embroideries inspired by traditional fairy tales, including The Wizard of Oz, Karolcia, the Wild Swans and Cinderella.

This magical collection takes as its central theme a magnificent embroidery depicting the Tree of Happiness. Each part of the embroidery is then explored in detail through stitch diagrams, explanations of the threads used, and alternative ways of working. There are seven wonderful designs in total, each dedicated to one of Tatiana’s favourite fairy tales, and all illustrated with gorgeous photographs and informative diagrams.

Over 90 stitches are described in the book, all worked using stranded cotton and cotton pearl thread rather than traditional crewel wool, which gives the embroideries a fresh, modern appeal. Whether you are new to embroidery or an experienced embroiderer looking for inspiration and expert guidance, Tatiana’s beautiful book is one you will turn to again and again.

My review

This  is a book filled with stunning crewel work embroidery.

The designs are inspired by the fairy tales we all love and each design is accompanied with the story which brings each piece to life.

Tatiana Popova is a major craftswoman in her art, and what she does is beautiful. She not only demonstrates the techniques of crewel, she simplifies and breakdown each design into small achievable parts.

Diagrams, stitches and an array of colourful glossy photographs showcase the threadwork, many of them have a 3D effect so it is easy to see each stage. These stages are divided into ‘ zones’ which make it simple to understand.

A lot of useful information is included and there is a conversion guide for various threads.

Highly recommended







About the Author

Tatiana Popova is a Ukrainian embroiderer. She learnt to stitch at an early age, inspired by her mother and grandmother’s embroidery, and for a time she pursued her passion for stitching by studying a huge variety of embroidery styles and techniques, both at school and in her own time. Tatiana studied Floristry Design at university, but soon after graduating she discovered the world of embroidery. She started her own business, Little Owl Smart Crafts Company, producing kits for silk ribbon and crewel embroidery. Tatiana participates in a number of craft shows all around the world, including the UK, USA and Japan, and annually teaches at the Bead & Button Show in the USA.



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RSN: Embroidered Boxes (Royal School of Needlework) Heather Lewis.

IMG_20200214_144415_hdr Pub: Search Press (UK)

Part of an exciting new series spearheaded by the Royal School of Needlework, this forward-looking guide explores the intricate art of embroidering boxes for use as keepsakes and jewellery boxes.

This beautiful, practical guide to creating and embellishing embroidered boxes is written by Heather Lewis, a tutor with the Royal School of Needlework. It contains a history of the embroidered box, from the seventeenth century to the present day, and features techniques and guidance for needleworkers wishing to apply their skills to a practical application of the craft.

There are three projects to try: a small treasure chest with a curved lid, embroidered dragonfly detail and a false floor; a hexagonal box with a beautiful embroidered lid depicting afternoon tea, and an intricate stumpwork casket with a mirror in the lid and a hidden drawer. Each has a template and extensive instructions for preparation, embroidery and construction.I

My review

This is a book of joy for embroidery fans.

The stunning embroidered boxes are exquisite. They are also accompanied with a history of the box, and from start to finish you are guided step by step to make your very own piece of art.

The boxes are usable, beautiful and the embroidery designs are just amazing.

There are design templates to copy, but I think it would be easy to design my own to make it more personal.

Every fan of embroidery would love this book, it is pretty, the photography of the boxes really show off the intricacy of each one and the boxes are achievable to make.





About the Author

Heather’s passion for embroidery began at a very young age: training at a fashion house in Yorkshire, UK before graduating from the RSN Apprenticeship Scheme in 2002. Heather has taught embroidery for the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) at various locations in the UK and the United States. She currently teaches on the RSN Certificate and Diploma courses and on day classes.

Heather particularly enjoys goldwork and ecclesiastical embroidery and after graduating she worked in the RSN Studio where she continues to assist on a variety of projects. There she has worked on a diverse range of commissions including a new altar frontal for The Royal Anglian Regimental Chapel in Essex and the Dover Castle hangings for the re-presentation of the Great Tower.

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Blackwork Embroidery Bernadette Baldelli

IMG_20200214_135451_hdr Pub: Search Press

13 beautiful blackwork patterns with a colourful twist to embroider for the home.

Blackwork is a traditional type of counted-stitch embroidery. Monochromatic, with superb shadow effects, it has been revisited here in a magnificently graphic, contemporary style highlighted with occasional splashes of colour.

The 13 patterns designed by Bernadette Baldelli modernize the technique by adding a touch of red to the traditional black and white, and by including both geometric and more figurative styles. You’ll discover a lush, graphic world with embroidery that is simple to do and gives stunning results.

You can make a basket, a pouch, wall hangings, place mats, an embroidered shirt, throw blanket and more. Simple diagrams make them easy to do, and there is a wealth of tempting patterns to choose from. Bernadette’s creations are known for their excellent finishing touches and these are no exception.


My review

This book is filled with stunning projects that can be kept as heirlooms or given as treasured gifts.

I loved the Elegant Little Mouse and think this will be my first project.

The Blackwork Embroidery is both stylish and decorative and really does give a beautiful finish to each of the designs.

The projects are complete with instructions and design charts which are easy to understand. Also included are some templates, some will need enlarging and all come with fixings listed.

Techniques for your Blackwork are given, but the beauty of this book is really in the projects. The decoration the Camellia Blouse is exquisite. Blackwork is a simple embroidery technique and beginners can achieve a beautiful result.





About the Author

Bernadette Baldelli graduated from Paris s prestigious Duperré School of Applied Arts, where she specialized in textiles. She has worked for DMC, created pattern collections for major yarn producers and has published a great many books about knitting, crochet and embroidery.

The Liars Daughter Claire Allan

cover171124-medium Pub: Avon

No one deserves to be taken before their time. Do they?

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…


My review

This book covers sensitive issues, so be warned  that it could trigger emotions.

The Liars Daughter is a dark and pacy read. Joe is dying of cancer and will be dead in weeks rather than months. Heidi is Joe’s step daughter, he has looked after her since her own mother passed away when she was just ten years old. Ciara is Joe’s daughter and is bitter about him leaving her and her mother for another woman.

Both women have little time or love for Joe.

Told in the viewpoints of Heidi, Ciara and Joe, the family’s dark and dirty secrets come to light after Joe’s death and what follows makes for emotional and riveting reading.

I really felt the tensions of the characters and while at times this story, for me personally, was a difficult read I was completely gripped.

The telling of this story is very realistic, I almost stopped reading a few times, but that said, it is not filled with unnecessary horror.

I loved how Ciara and Heidi were portrayed and felt a real connection to how they dealt with what had happened in their lives. Each girl was different and there was no sugar coating of their feelings.

The shock at the end was fitting, and the tale evolved perfectly. This along with brilliant writing makes The Liars Daughter well worth a read.














The Cockatoo from Timbuktu William AE Ford

81iWcjYCbmL._AC_UY218_ML3_ Pub: William AE Ford

Join Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!

Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!


My review

This is wonderful  children’s picture book telling the story of  Kian the Cockatoo and his quest to get home to his mum and dad.

Told in rhyme, Kian travels to many places and meets animals such as penguins, kangaroos and monkeys.

Included in this book is a map, this charts Kians route and ‘x’ marks the spot of his home in Timbuktu.

There is also a page of Fun Facts about Cockatoos, which takes this book from just a story, and makes it a brilliant educational read.

I have to mention the stunning illustrations. Kian is accompanied on every page by a small friend, which children have to look out for.

This book is so much fun, children of all ages will enjoy it as a bedtime read and join in following Kian on his epic adventure.

The Cockatoo From Timbuktu is an amazing take and highly recommended by me!






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Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Braiding: The Art of Kumihimo Jacqui Carey


IMG_20200203_160516_hdr  Pub: Search Press





Learn the calming, traditional craft of kumihimo – Japanese braiding – through step-by-step projects.

Kumihimo is the ancient art of Japanese braidmaking; admired for its dual qualities of usefulness and beauty, and associated with both fashion and the samurai.

In this instructional book, Jacqui Carey teaches the use of a marudai (round stand) to produce a variety of different types of braids, which can then be used to create countless combinations of colour, texture and material. Clear step-by-step photographs guide the beginner through each of the projects, and many inspirational examples of the variety you can create are shown.

The rhythmic movements, feel and sound of the marudai in use make this traditional craft a soothing, absorbing and aesthetically pleasing experience; perfect for weaving a calm area in your day.

My review

The kumihimo techniques in this book are made using a beautiful marudai stand, and lovers of kumihimo will find the story of them quite fascinating.

I do not have a marudai stand, but I did make a braid project using a more modern plate.

This is a brilliant book for beginners, as it guides you through the steps in an easy to understand step by step technique. The projects are simple but stunning, and include bracelets, necklaces and ties.

Each project can be adapted in size, and I loved the rich tonal colours that were used for each piece.

Beads, ribbons and cords are perfect for these designs, but finer threads can be used to make smaller items.

The instructions are accompanied by superb photography, demonstrating each step.


I made a bracelet using a modern kumihimo plate.

My chosen look was made using some satin cord and some ‘Angel hair’ textured fibre. Each step was easy to follow.


This was my finished result.


About the Author

Jacqui Carey has specialised in Kumihimo since completing her B.A. Honours Degree at the West Surrey College of Art and Design. She was drawn to the subject through her love of Art and Maths. Based in Devon with her family, Jacqui divides her work time between making, teaching, writing, researching and demonstrating.



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