Tuesday 15 February 2022

Review - A new series of crafting books

I received these books in exchange for a review.

Today I'm sharing a review of some lovely craft books in a new crafting series from Pen and Sword. There's a huge range to choose from covering all sorts of arts and crafts. I chose Colourful Fun Embroidery, Modern Brush Lettering and Floral Embroidery.

Arts and crafts books from Pen and Sword review

All three books are beautiful to look at and filled with gorgeous photographs. Each has a detailed introduction by the author sharing with their personal stories of crafting and what it means to them. In addition all the books make a connection between crafting, mental health and wellbeing which I really liked. There are clear discussions of the best supplies to use for a project as well as places to buy them. Then they each include plenty of projects with detailed step by step instructions, graded according to difficulty so that you can work through them and improve your skills. 

Below I'll share a detailed review of each book.

Colourful Fun Embroidery by Clare Albans

This book features 24 gorgeous projects which aim to bring some colour and fun into your embroidery. After a brief introduction to the basics, the projects are divided into three sections - Crafternoon projects which take only a couple of hours, Medium Makes which will take a little longer, and Pick Me Up Projects which are longer term projects that you can work on as and when you need something to occupy yourself.

Colourful Fun Embroidery by Clare Albans

I loved all of the projects in the book, and I'm lucky enough to have a good selection of embroidery thread in different colours and fabric, so I was able to make a start on a small project straightaway. I decided to create a simple embroidered mini hoop. The project in the book uses the word 'yay' but I decided to change to the word 'calm' to hang above my desk for when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Colourful Fun Embroidery by Clare Albans inside review

I've not worked on anything like this before but it was simple and quick to do, I easily finished it within an hour or so and now I have a lovely new piece of art to look at!

Mini embroidery hoop project with the word calm

All of the projects in the book are clearly described with plenty of step by step instructions and at the back you can find all the templates that you need. There is plenty of room for your own interpretation of a project and if you have a reasonable craft supply stash then you can easily work with what you have already without needing to purchase anything new. Many of these projects would make lovely colourful gifts and are calming and fun to work on.

Modern Brush Lettering by Becki Clark

I've never tried brush lettering before but I really love the style of it so I thought this might be a fun new craft for me to have a go at.

Modern Brush Lettering by Becki Clark

The book is aimed at beginners so it starts with the complete basics. I didn't own a brush pen so I bought the one recommended by the author, and I do have some watercolour brush pens which I'm hoping to try out with some of these projects. The book starts with the basic techniques and brush strokes which you can build on, just some simple mark making exercises. I worked my way through these, then I moved on to copying some of the practice phrases. I didn't find it easy at first and I'm a bit wobbly, but I'm really pleased with how well I managed to get on with it! It's a really mindful craft and in fact there is a chapter about mindfulness and how the repetitive strokes of the lettering focus your concentration and let you lose yourself in the moment.

First attempts at brush lettering

I can imagine the enjoyment and satisfaction that you would have in working on a series of projects, for example a set of gift tags or cards. The book contains 20 project ideas which are grouped by season. I can see myself using the technique this Christmas for things like tags, place names, cards and so on. It's such a simple craft but you can make some really lovely things. I'm looking forward to developing my brush lettering technique so that I can become much freer and confident in my style, and this book is definitely going to help me with that.

Modern Brush Lettering by Becki Clark inside review

Floral Embroidery by Teagan Olivia Sturmer

I particularly loved reading the introduction to this book, and about how the author was inspired to create these floral designs by both her grandmothers along with a love of flowers and Shakespeare.

Floral Embroidery by Teagan Olivia Sturmer

This book contains ten modern embroidery projects inspired by nature, each linked to a quote from Shakespeare, which are designed to be worked through in order. The first projects are simple and suitable for beginners, then as you go through the graded projects your skills will improve, you will add in different stitches, and you can build on the techniques that you've learned as you progress to more complex projects.

Floral Embroidery by Teagan Olivia Sturmer inside review

I'm looking forward to making a start on these projects when I've had time to assemble the materials that I need. The book has a very clear chapter on materials which is really helpful as I've not worked on this type of embroidery before. It also makes it very clear how to transfer the design from the book to the fabric, and there is a detailed stitch guide as well as different ways that you can finish off your hoop. The final chapter has some advice for coming up with your own floral embroidery patterns which is really helpful because once you have worked through the designs in the book you will be filled with inspiration for your own future projects!

These are all really lovely books and I'd recommend them to any crafters, whether you are looking to build on skills and experience that you already have or wanting to try something new from scratch.

You can see all the books in the series here - Arts and Crafts books from Pen and Sword.

1 comment:

  1. What fab looking books. They sound perfect for you. The Modern Brush Lettering looks really interesting. x


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