Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches Jan Eaton

81XhMER1ZQL._AC_UL436_ Pub: Search Press Ltd

The new edition of Mary Thomas’s classic stitch reference library; it is the first and last word in embroidery. This classic reference book has achieved near-legendary status since it was first published in 1934, owing to its clear instructions and huge library of stitches. It includes full illustrated instructions for over 400 embroidery stitches, ranging from simple border and outline stitches, to filling stitches, canvas stitches and pulled fabric stitches. Scattered throughout are dozens of inspirational embroideries to show the stitches in action. Ideal for both those starting out with needlework and those more accomplished embroiderers who need inspiration for different stitches and techniques,


My review 

This is a book that fulfills every need for embroiderers.

It includes stitch techniques, both written and visual, which makes it a brilliant teaching guide for beginners as well as acting as a reminder for those more advanced.

Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches was first published in 1934, and Jan Eaton has revised and updated it perfectly.

It is fabulous that Search press has republished this book,  as it gives us the opportunity to learn from a classic embroiderer such as Mary Thomas as well as gaining more modern skills from Jan Eaton.

I love the abundance of colour, beads and decorative stitches that fill the pages. It is both artistic and inspirational.



About the Author

Jan Eaton is known internationally for her speciality in needlecraft and textile designs. Since finishing her training at Goldsmiths College in London, Jan has worked as a freelance designer showcasing her embroidery, crochet, knitting, and textile painting designs in various UK and European magazines. Jan has written more than 10 needlecraft books and lives in Hove, East Sussex.


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The Conviction of Cora Burns Carolyn Kirby


51CLWc41D-L._AC_US218_Pub: No Exit Press


Birmingham 1885

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?


My Review

Rarely does a book come along that is so filled with intrigue, secrets and sadness that it makes your heart ache.

I absolutely loved The Conviction of Cora Burns, Cora is a fabulous character and I just loved getting to know her.

A tense and emotive read, I savoured every page and all too soon it was over.

Cora is a fiesty girl with heart, but her life with it’s hard knocks and unfortunate circumstances makes her tough and untrusting. Her tragic and unfortunate existence was such a joy to read and the author portrayed her beautifully.

After leaving The Borough Lunatic Asylum, the only home she ever knew, she is employed by Thomas Jerwood. He is an odd character, and as a scientist he makes studies of people and their behaviour. he involves Cora in these studies and gets her to do certain things to aid his research.  Cora discovers a secret that concerns his case study Violet, a young girl who lives at The Larches where Cora works.

Cora has never forgotten her childhood friend Alice Salt, and it is this friendship that is at the core of the novel. As a reader, we are made curious by these girls and their relationship, and also of Cora’s only possession, a medallion, that seems to be the key to her heritage. But oh my God. the truth, the twists and the reality of this stunning debut left me in pieces.  I was really moved by this wonderful wonderful book.

This is a beautifully written novel. It is descriptive and takes you to the stench of the streets and the poverty from which Cora comes.

It is by far one of the best reads I have ever come across and one I will always remember and recommend.



About the Author,

Originally from Sunderland, Carolyn Kirby studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working for social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Her novel The Conviction of Cora Burns was begun in 2013 on a writing course at Faber Academy in London. The novel has achieved success in several competitions including as finalist in the 2017 Mslexia Novel Competition and as winner of the inaugural Bluepencilagency Award. Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire.



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Love & Friendship Quilted Pillows Tricia Cribbs

61mm1cpqVHL._AC_US218_Pub: Leisure Arts

Love and Friendship Quilted Pillows from Leisure Arts presents six designs from the heart with inspiring quotes about love and friendship on fun-and-folksy quilted pillows. These projects by Tricia Cribbs of Turning Twenty (formerly FriendFolks) offer lots of free-motion quilting that can easily be done on a regular sewing machine, plus applique. Designs include Bless Your Heart, Friendship, Brand New Heart, Work of My Hands, Bless this House and So Beautiful to Me.

My review 

Six applique pillows are showcased beautifully in this booklet and each one can be given a more personal touch using your own creative ideas.

Each design has an easy to follow method and all sizes and what you will need are listed. There is also a General Instructions section, for applique, stitches and techniques.

This is a book that you will adore. The designs have a delightful quote and would make a perfect gift for a loved one.

You can hand sew or machine sew the pillows and with the included templates, it is easy to be inspired to make your own designs. They don’t even have to be pillows, wall hangings and quilts would be perfect additions.

This book is for all levels of sewists, and I would recommend this book for everyone.





About the Author

Tricia Cribbs of Turning Twenty (formerly FriendFolks) has been a top-selling quilt designer and lecturer for more than 20 years. Creating impressive quilts that are surprisingly simple to piece and quick to complete is her signature style.




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Jomo Knits Christine Boggis

51rzRv86kGL._AC_US218_Pub: GMC Publications

Are you tired of doing all the time? Afraid of not being in the loop or having enough likes ? Feeling frantic, frazzled and full of FOMO (the FEAR of missing out)? Then it’s time to slow down, disconnect from your screens, put your feet up and enjoy some JOMO (the JOY of missing out), preferably with a ball of yarn, some knitting needles and a cup of tea. This inspirational book of 21 gorgeous knitting projects also includes insights into how to use knitting to unwind from the relentless demands of our over-stimulated and digitalized lives and rediscover how to connect with ourselves, and those around us, in a more meaningful way. Split into three main sections Nest, Explore and Share the projects are designed to be savoured, being in the moment and enjoying every stitch rather than worrying about achieving a perfect end result. Dotted about are special sections exploring the link between knitting and JOMO, along with humorous observations and lists.


My review 

This is a very modern knitting book filled with projects that are truly wonderful.

Knitting is a mindful craft and one that can’t be rushed. So this book has  given us 21 designs that help us unwind and just enjoy a moment of craft.

In three sections ..Nest, Explore and Share,  the various patterns, such as scarves, hats and gloves have been given quirky and brilliant titles. There is a cardi-coat named Forest Walk, hat named Fairy Lights. I absolutely love it.

Throughout the book, there are pages of  fabulous information, such as  5 ways to find more time to knit, knit for a cause and my favourite An introduction to modern kniterature ..genius!!

Of course the pattern methods are included and along with sizes, gauge and tension this is a brilliant book to have in your knitting collection.

A large section tells us about techniques and even how to crochet a zip and cable knitting is included.

I think this is an amazing book and would recommend it to every knitting fan, whether you are a new knitter or an old hand.




About the Author

Christine Boggis is a mum, a journalist and a knitter although not always in that order. As the editor of Knitting magazine, she writes about knitting all day long then rushes home to spend the evening actually doing it. She learnt to knit from both her grannies as a child and got really hooked as a teenager in the early 1990s, when grunge was in so it didn’t really matter what the end result looked like.


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Sew + Quilt Susan Beal

61+Wcypdu5L._AC_US218_ (1)Pub: Taunton Press Inc

In sew + quilt, Susan Beal provides clear, step-by-step instructions for 4 fundamental hand-stitching techniques and 4 foundational quilt blocks as the foundation for learning how to use hand-stitching as an embellishment to add texture and color to quilt projects. Each fundamental technique includes a small project as a learning tool, followed by 12 more-generous yet accessible patchwork projects that build on the basics. A mix of traditional and modern patterns for both smaller, faster quilts and larger quilts. Step-by-step instruction, with lots of illustrations and photos, plus tips and advice on everything a quilter needs to experience the joy of making something beautiful and personal.


My review 

This bright and colourful book is brilliant for beginners to sewing and quilting.

There  are 12 projects, ranging from a small needlebook to a larger sized quilt.

Filled with techniques, what I especially loved about this book is that it includes ‘make it simpler’ and ‘take it further’ boxes which enables the sewist to make a beautiful item that is tailor made to their skill level.

You can either hand stitch or machine stitch these projects, and I think with some pretty embellishments they can be personalised for every taste.

The projects are perfectly and beautifully photographed and, all are very inspiring.

Each page is full of expert knowledge and a menu and cutting key giving what is needed and sizes for each project is simply explained.

I would have liked some templates included, just make it even easier for the beginner, but that said the measurements are easy to understand.

With embroidery stitches and easy quilt blocks, there is no reason why you cannot achieve a stunning project to keep or gift.



About the Author

Susan Beal is a jewelry designer and author of many craft books, including Bead Simple, Button It Up, and Hand-Stitched Home. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.




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The Story Keeper Anna Mazzola

51l3Tg7wuDL._AC_US218_Pub: Tinder Press

Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.

Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.

Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.


My review

I loved this book.

Anna Mazzola’s first book The Unseeing was a definite favourite of mine and this one is high on my list of must read books.

Audrey, has gone to the beautiful Isle of Skye for two reasons. one is to work for the formidable Ms Buchanan, and the other is to escape her home and a sordid secret.

Miss Buchanan is a collector of Folklore. the tales which are told through generations of families, and ones which hold deep meaning, superstition and fear. Her nephew Alec, is a storyteller of fairy tales, and is set to become a published author. All three characters are brilliant and superbly portrayed.

Each chapter starts with a snippet of a tale and this is an integral part of the book as a whole.

This is an exceptionally atmospheric read, it is sad and it is one that I would happily talk about to everyone for days. It is told in three parts, the last part brings the story together and gave me quite a shock. I really thought I had it all worked out..but no, the author had something else up her sleeve and this gave this amazing read a definite WOW!!

It reminded me of The Woman in Black, and I think this too would make a stunning film. The whole tale is filled with magic and is beautifully captured in print.




About the Author 

Anna is a writer who, due to some fault of her parents, is drawn to peculiar and dark historical subjects. Her novels have been described as literary crime fiction or historical crime. Anna’s influences include Sarah Waters, Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood.

Her debut novel, The Unseeing, is based on the life of a real woman called Sarah Gale who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837. Her second novel, The Story Keeper, follows a folklorist’s assistant as she searches out dark fairytales and stolen girls on the Isle of Skye in 1857




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Curls 3 Hunter Hammersen

51ABZc1R2oL._AC_US218_Pub: Pantsville Press

Curls are marvellously flexible, wearable wraps that work with any weight of yarn, can be knit at any gauge, and look beautiful at any size. Knit them small and wear them as a cowl. Keep going to make a scarf. Do a bit more, and you’ve got a shawl. They form a wonderfully curved shape that drapes beautifully around your neck and shoulders and can be worn in lots of different ways. Use your favourite yarn, and knit at whatever gauge gives you the fabric you like best. You’re in charge, you can’t mess it up, and you’re going to love the result.


My review 

Knitters will love this book.

This is the third book of the series, and once again it is filled with some wonderful scarves, wraps and cowls.

11 projects that are designed to wrap, shape and drape, which are both beautiful and purposeful.

The designs are stunning and can be dressed up or down depending on what colour and yarn is used.

There is a brilliant Hints section full of advice and along with some fabulous photography you cannot help but be inspired.

Each design is accompanied with a chart, which allows you to see how the pattern is formed. The instructions are clear and precise and all sizes and gauge requirements are listed.

What I loved the most is the amount of colour that showcase the wraps beautifully. They are really amazing, and the finished designs are so pretty.



About the Author

Hunter is a knitter and perpetual student living in Cleveland, Ohio.



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