Book review: “Stitch, Fabric & Thread: An inspirational guide for creative stitchers” by Elizabeth Healey = 5*

I so wish there was a higher star rating that I could give as this book is PHENOMENAL!

Elizabeth Healey has absolutely jam-packed this book with ideas, exercises, prompts and knowledge for stitching in a range of contexts and inspirations.

You can see from the contents page at how detailed this book is but it isn’t ever overwhelming! The book’s layout and the structure have been expertly thought through and crafted so that you, as the reader and maker, are taken on a textile journey. Even the subtle page decorations are inspirational as you go through the book…

Before starting the stitches, Elizabeth talks about the importance of preparation in terms of tools, sketchbooks and recording, threads, fabrics, colour, image inspiration and more.

What I really love is how Elizabeth really brings it back to basics in exploring these factors.

For example, Elizabeth talks about the different fabrics in such detail (their weave, their formation, their weight) and, even if you thought you know lots about fabric, it is so informative and inspiring.

I adore how Elizabeth also encourages you to think ethically about your fabrics too with a specific section on ethical textiles and textile recycling:

Once the preparation is covered, Elizabeth then begins to explore the stitches with the first section being based on straight stitches:

Now, don’t be fooled! Straight stitches are so incredibly versatile and Elizabeth demonstrates this beautifully with a phenomenal 26 visual prompts for using straight stitch including (but not limited to) chicken scratch, seed stitch, kantha, boro, sashiko and much, much more:

I love how each of the 26 prompts is presented visually at the start of that section so that you can see exactly what the stitch idea is:

Then the in-action prompts begin and the layout for each activity/prompt is absolutely exquisite! The technique/stitch is explained alongside the materials, the instructions and stunning photography:

What is also incredibly clever is that a lot of the prompts also contain an ‘elsewhere’ section which is almost like an extension of that prompt and encourages you to look further into that specific technique/inspiration.

Continuing this inspirational and flawless layout, the second section explores ‘chain and blanket stitches’ (shisha, felt, mail art, stitching on knit and more), the third section explores ‘raised stitches’ (embellishing prints, scattered french knots, couching) alongside pattern repeats, natural dyes, ink and bleach experimentation with the fourth and final section exploring ‘more than stitches’ (shibori techniques, texture, rag books, applique, drawn thread and more).

If you’re new to stitching, or just want a refresher on stitching techniques, then there is also a detailed and easy-to-follow section on the range of stitches used towards the end of the book:

I genuinely don’t know how to rave about this book any higher. If there is only one book that you buy this year then I would really, really recommend that you choose this one as it is phenomenal from start to finish! Stunning photography, flawless and accessibly structure/layout, inspiration in abundance and so much more….!

At an RRP of £14.99, this book is just incredible!

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