Lynette’s best-loved stitcheries: 13 cottage-style projects you’ll adore

Authors: Anderson, Lynette

Review:  Martingale, 2019 ISBN: 978 1 68356 012 8 96 pages 

In the introduction, the author shares that her favourite things to design and make are small, useful day-to-day items, often something she can use or give to someone, which I think we, as embroiderers, can identify with. She explains how she goes about designing and the delight she has in choosing fabrics and threads to realise her vision. You need to be aware that the author is a quilter, but all the projects has embroidery as its focus. 

Have you ever heard of a tool called an appliquik rod? Me neither and I doubt if the RSN would approve. In the general techniques chapter, the author explains how to use them and why they are her preferred way for appliqueing fabric. My rule of thumb is, use the way which suits you. Other supplies you may need are also listed, including fabric glue which is used with the appliquik method…hmmm. At the end of the techniques chapter is a small, not awfully good stitch dictionary but most of us know how to access Mary Corbett’s if we get stuck. Given that the stitches used in the projects are pretty simple, many of us will already know how to execute them. 

Each project has a coloured photo of the completed item, along with the measurements it will be when finished. There is a list of all materials needed – including specialised quilting buttons (from the author’s web site). Such buttons can be a challenge to get here but as skilled needlewomen, we could always just embroider the object instead, couldn’t we? There is a list of embroidery threads needed – Cosmo threads, which are made in Japan. However, I looked on line and there are conversion charts from Cosmo threads to DMC, so not really a problem, or you could be brave and create your own colour scheme. There are full size templates for the project and it is nice not to have to flip backwards and forwards for these. Each project is ‘complete’ with all instructions accompanying it in the same chapter and each project having its own chapter. There are projects for pillows (cushions?), totes and other bags, wall hangings, a sewing caddy, a needle case and scissor keep and so on – 13 in all. Instructions, both for the embroidery and for sewing the objects, seem to be well written and illustrated clearly. There are useful ‘tips’ in separate boxes on some pages. 

If you like whimsical, folksy, quite cute, country style projects, I think you will find this a fun, useful book. It may appeal to younger stitchers too, especially as the embroidery itself is pretty basic and some of the designs will appeal to the younger at heart. Each design has an end product, many of which are useful – always a plus for a younger person. However, and I know I am being a GOW (grumpy old woman), it irritates me that the sub-title tells me I will ‘adore’ the projects. How can they possibly make that assumption? I do like them, but adore? That’s a bit of an assumption! 

The copy I reviewed comes from Auckland Libraries. It is available at the time I wrote this, for $34 (NZ) from Book Depository or $50.00 if ordered locally. 

Erica Marsden