Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Estense Embroidery - new book!

At long last there is a second book on Estense Embroidery from Elisabetta Holzer of the cultural association RicamArte of Ferrara. This book is worth the wait since her first book in 2007.

The manual is over 200 pages and weighs in at 1.8 lbs! Elisabetta is not kidding around about it being a "manual". There are 36 embroidery stitches, 8 drawn thread corner treatments, 10 trimmings, 4 frames, 15 filling stitches, 3 borders, 2 decorations, cording and 7 delicious projects – plus photos of other ideas and suggestions for further combining all the stuff that has been diagrammed.

And there are a lot of diagrams.
I know.
I did them.
Did I mention there are a lot of them?

The explanations include drawn diagrams which feature the paths of the working thread showing through so you can tell what's happening on the back of the work, along with a colour photo of the front and back of the stitching.

Sample stitch instruction page

Great pains have been taken to make this manual comprehensible. It is jam-packed with colour photos of examples of ways to execute and combine the stitches, techniques and colours that make up Estense Embroidery.

Il manuale completo del Ricamo Estense [The Complete Manual of Estense Embroidery] is the fruit of several years of labour. Everything has been stitched and tried out and then improved and re-stitched. When I was doing the diagrams I had three fabric doodle cloths going. If I didn't understand something Elisabetta listened and in some cases reworked her instructions, diagrams and/or photo sequences because she reasoned that if I were confused, other stitchers might be too. More often though, I didn't have any trouble working the stitches because Elisabetta's precise step-by-step photos and diagrams are very, very clear.

Hours and hours have gone into the study of the colours used in Estense Embroidery. Taking her inspiration from the ancient Ferrarese graffito ceramics of the 14th to 16th centuries, Elisabetta has found that for the most part Anchor thread colours work the best but she has studied which DMC colours might be substituted and provided a list so that you can start embroidering that much sooner, not having to figure out the conversions for yourself.

There are many things that I love about this manual but one of the top things has to be the explanations for how to turn the corners for all 8 of the drawn thread corner treatments.

Sample corner treatment instructions

Among the 7 exquisite projects (I want to make all of them!) is the exceptionally lovely bomboniera from the 2009 Italia Invita exhibit.

All projects have instructions for the embroidery, the construction and the finishing. Text is in Italian.

For those of you not familiar with Estense Embroidery, I wrote a bit about it here.

You can see a preview of some of the pages on the publisher's website. To order, send them an email and tell them you want to pay with PayPal. Otherwise you can get if from Tombolo Disegni, send them an email to order.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sardinian Knot Stitch - new book English version

As I told you here, I've been working on a book on punt'e nù, a counted thread needlework technique from Teulada, Sardinia. In that previous post, I told you that I'd let you know when the English version was available... so it is now!!

Back cover

I've checked and Sardinian Knot Stitch is already available to order on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk and the other amazon websites will show it in the days to come.

A sample page spread from Sardinian Knot Stitch

Sardinian Knot Stitch is the collaborative effort of four stitchers who set out to learn more about this beautiful needlework found traditionally on men's folk costumes from Teulada. The back cover above shows a close-up of the richly embroidered collar and just above you can see the cuff of a man's traditional folk costume shirt (click on the images for a closer look).

The book is 70 pages and covers some historical background along with technical instructions, some traditional patterns and then a few non-traditional projects of varying levels of difficulty, this being the most complex:

Cushion project from Sardinian Knot Stitch

Sardinian Knot Stitch is intended as a beginner's approach to the needlework. As punt'e nù has traditionally been local to Teulada and handed down by word-of-mouth, there has been very little written about it.

There is a group in Teulada now who has been working to bring this and other embroidery typical of the area to light with needlework shows exhibiting non-traditional pieces adorned with punt'e nù like towels, tablecloths and other household and personal linens. For more information about this group and/or visiting Teulada and seeing this work, contact the owner of this blog.

If you happen to be vacationing in Sardinia right now, on August 5th there is an exhibition in Teulada:

If you get to go, will you leave a comment below?