This lovely book was first published in 2007 in South Africa, again in Great Britain in 2008, and reprinted twice more in 2009. Which tells you something of it's popularity with lovers of needlework. And the projects are simply stunning. You'll get plenty of basics as to techniques and materials, too, but it's probably not for the beginning embroiderer. Think of it as a next step when you feel the need to add some dimension and texture to your work. And three-dimension and texture are what this book is all about. Techniques include fabric manipulation, wire-edged applique, barbola (unwired stumpwork), needle lace on wire, trapunto quilting, working with felt and ribbon, beading, and metallic threads. Used together as mixed media, which you'll see in the projects that follow, they provide endless ways of creating realistic flora and fauna. The projects, which are all inspired by the natural world, are categorized by color inspiration. Red, for example, features projects for three-dimensional felt gerbera daisies and wired applique bougainvilla; green has a nesting weaver bird incorporating actual feathers and a praying mantis that uses organza ribbon for his transparent wing. There are flowers, butterflies, insects, and birds and even a project for a realistic fig made from felt, yarn and beads (see the book cover for a close-up of this). All projects are illustrated with gorgeous photos of the finished piece and many have close-up views as well so you can really see the fine detail. The book finishes with a section of black-and-white stitch diagrams and patterns for the projects that require them. I found my copy at my local fabric store but it's also available on Amazon (and if you want to purchase a copy, please click through the link included above).
Stitch School, which used to be an occasional feature on my Primrose Design blog, now has its very own space on the web. You'll find the same tutorials, including step-by-step instructions and photographs, that you've come to love, and I'll be adding new stitches periodically. I'll also feature subjects related to hand embroidery.