Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Needlework Books

The Royal School of Needlework (they of Kate's wedding lace fame) have some out with a series of very affordable, compact instructional books on a range of needlework techniques many of which are if interest to the reenacting crowd.  There is one on blackwork, one on goldwork, whitework, stumpwork, silk shading, and a range of other techniques.

I got the volumes on whitework and goldwork as Christmas gifts this year and am very impressed.  While not aimed specifically at the historically minded crowd, they cover the actual hows and whys of the subject, as well as bit of history.  The instructions are clear and the photography is both beautiful and helpful.  They won't take the place of in-person instruction for those who really need it, but if you learn well from books, or have had some class instruction and just need a reminder these are a great resources.  And at around $15 new, the prices are great!

A lot of other needlework books focus either on history to the exclusion of instruction, or pack in so much information that they overwhelm the reader and it becomes difficult to find the directions you need one how to execute a particular stitch when you need it.  These seem to fill the gap quite neatly and should prove to be a valuable reference for both new and experienced needleworkers.

The goldwork book in particular has a wonderful section on threads, explaining in detail the difference between all the different types of gold threads and how best to work them.  This alone is worth the price of the book, as for whatever reason this very important information seems to be missing from all of the other books on goldwork that I have in my library.  Kind of important stuff, and wonderful to have all in one place!  The author also does a great job explaining what sorts of working threads to use with the metal and emphasis the need to use the right sorts of needles and reserve needles and scissors for use with metal threads alone (critical, as the metal damages them and makes them useless for more delicate silks and cottons).

I am looking forward to picking up the volumes on blackwork and crewel work.

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