Book review: “Goldwork” by Helen McCook for Search Press = 4*

To start off with transparency, I want to be clear that I was sent a free copy of this book for an honest review. The word honest is key here. Everything I write is always completely and utterly unfiltered and these are my own, honest views through and through.

Royal School of Needlework (RSN) Stitch Guides – you know you’ll see high quality work within and this book is no exception!

Goldwork” by Helen McCook (a Royal School of Needlework tutor) is a comprehensive book that seeks to share the history of the needlework technique, the tools required to try it, a breakdown of the associated techniques as well as images of inspirational projects.

The images are sublime and are a testament to the true beauty of this technique and the interwoven elements of colour, light and texture.

The contents page is clear and inspiring with such rich colours and textures. The introduction includes background information about the Royal School of Needlework as well as the technique of Goldwork itself before then providing a detailed exploration of fabric, threads, hoops and frames, tools and more.

It provides clear and easy to follow information about how to frame up or hoop up depending on your preference and project.

What I really like is that this book does not presume prior knowledge so it really does guide you through the whole process in a way that is useful for experienced stitchers and new stitchers alike.

Next, the book moves onto the methods involved in goldwork.

These methods include couching with different threads, finishing your stitching with different threads, how to handle angles when stitching, cutwork, basketweave and more.

I had a go at couching with rococo, before subsequently following the instructions for couching angles.

The book then moves onto the stitches that can be used as surface stitches in goldwork (chain stitch, feather stitch, trellis stitch). I can’t wait to try these out!

Lastly, the book presents a section on ‘Combining Techniques’. In this section, a range of photos are presented along with information about the materials and techniques used.

Personally, this section was less useful than the other sections. I absolutely adored seeing the photos of Helen’s work but I would have loved the last section to actually have projects so that I could use the techniques that had been taught earlier in the book.

All in all, this is a beautiful book so I would give it 4*.