Have Your Say

4th February 2022

Beautiful Bibliophiles

You may remember last year we discussed collecting books in All Stitched Up! issue #310, especially embroidery books, and how there seems to be a strong connection between the love of books and the love of needlework. 

We were so thrilled to hear from our readers, and to learn that we weren’t alone in these twin passions.

Dorte’s wonderfully stuffed bookshelf

Dorte Erichsen from Denmark wrote in to say that she was a fellow book lover and collected embroidery books as well. Her study shelves are filled with them, leaving the living room for art books and novels and the embroidery manuals she uses most often. 

Dorte said that she owns embroidery books in many different languages too, even languages she can’t read such as Dutch and Chinese. Yet these books still have wonderful photos and illustrations that transcend language. She also has many ring binders filled with magazines, recipes, and course materials – enough to keep her busy for several lifetimes!

Nancy’s bookshelf in ASU#310

Barbara Wilson loved the photo of the overstuffed bookcase and admitted that hers looked very similar. Barbara doesn’t see it as an addiction, rather that we are a ‘support team’. We support all of those people involved in putting together good books, the printers, distributors and sellers included. 

One quote Barbara uses to justify each book purchase is:

‘You can never have too many books and you can never have too many plants.’

Barbara is correct in that many stitchers are also avid gardeners, and she says that all of these pursuits – stitching, reading and gardening – gladden the heart, bring beauty to the eye and feed the imagination. If only we could do all three at once! Imagine what we could achieve!

Jann Pardy admits she’s a bibliophile. She could never live in a small apartment as she’d never have enough room for all her books! She loves diving into her needlework and craft books, whether to help her with a technique or just enjoy some stitched loveliness. 

Although she has a lot of fiction, she does give some away to friends or libraries so she has more room on her shelves. Jann says that books have always been her friend and comfort. One of her greatest loves is exploring second-hand book shops for old craft books. She also volunteers for library duty at her Guild, allowing her to spend days in a place that is simply her idea of heaven.

One of Margaret’s finished pieces, showing the range of techniques she practices

Margaret Blank was also comforted by the photos, as she also has a bookshelf that looks very similar. Isn’t it wonderful to know that so many of us are the same? Margaret has worked across various areas including cross stitch, embroidery, quilting, felting and knitting. 

It means her studio bookshelves are filled with books and magazines on all of these topics, including design, composition, colour theory and many, many more. Recently, Margaret has tried culling her books, but only when she’s absolutely certain she won’t want to refer to any of them ever again. 

Tastes, styles and interests do change, although she has found that even with this discipline, she hasn’t made much of a dent in her collection. However, the process has led her to organise her titles, especially the magazines. She’s found she’s less inclined to dig out one of her books if it is hidden in a jumble, so organisation is key.

Helen M. Stevens’ virtual exhibition

Finally for this week, Mary Moore admitted that she is a great admirer of Helen M. Stevens. In fact, Mary had written to us earlier to thank us for bringing Helen’s online exhibition to her attention in All Stitched Up! issue  #303

Mary travelled to the Amazon when she was younger and had fallen in love with the passion flower that grows wild there. She has always loved Helen’s work, so managed to purchase the original Passion Flower picture.

Now she can enjoy some wonderful memories of past journeys as well as admire the work of one of her favourite artists.

But it isn’t just Helen M. Stevens’ embroidery that Mary loves. She also has a collection of Helen’s books, which are so beautifully produced that she never tires of looking through them. 

On grey, winter days, these books brighten Mary’s spirits. They are full of gorgeous patterns and illustrations and provide endless inspiration.

Helen M. Stevens’ Seasons in the Sun | Inspirations Handpicked

We’ll bring you more stories from our community of embroidery book lovers next week. In the meantime, it may be time to wander over to the bookshelf and spend a few glorious minutes browsing. Any time is a good time for inspiration!

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