One craft book I am really enjoying reading and also reviewing is Stitch With Love written by Mandy Shaw. I don't know about you, but the look of a book before I have even peeked inside has to be pretty special for me to want to buy it and this book wins in my eyes for the look of it alone. Of course, I have grown to realise a craft book needs to be more, much more than just pretty.
I have bought many a craft book, because it looks nice, is pretty, would look lovely on my shelves, etc etc. But, in reality lacks any true substance once inside, and tutorials can be hard to follow and even understand. I shut the particular book and invariably forget about it. So it was nice to see that this book was pretty, in a non twee way, and also had some very useful crafty help and advice inside. With 11 stitches to learn and over 20 easy ( ish in my opinion ) to sew projects I was eager to delve in.
I am a fan of my machine, and being a busy gal am always on the look out for projects that are not only simple but can also be made up quite quickly....I admit I get bored with long wip projects, I like to move on to new projects, almost daily. Although many of the main projects in this book, for me, look quite time consuming, like most craft books, you can adapt to your own needs, pick and choose, take a bit of this, take a bit of that. I have always wanted to be more handy with an actual needle and thread and I do think this book is perfect for people who love stitch work or like me what to learn some new stitch techniques and maybe apply those new techniques to main projects of your own choosing. I do think a little hand embroidery makes all the difference to a handmade gift.
As the author of the book mentions, her aim is to "encourage the reader to pick up a needle and thread - to stitch something, make something - use it, give it, love it" . The 20 project ideas all help focus on 11 stitches, featuring stitches such as running, stem, lazy daisy, blanket and french knot as well as many more.
The colour theme of the book is a classic, taupe/red/cream look, which does come across quite grown up. Yes, I am a fan of all the sugary, twee colours in craft books, but this does make quite a nice change for me, and the taupe especially is one of my favourite staples of fabric that I like to use. If you are new to stitching there is a chapter to give one all the advice to begin with confidence and most items required can usually be found in an everyday sewing basket. On looking at the main projects, they did indeed look reasonably easy to understand, for example there are projects on how to make and then embellish with the creative stitch work, a journal cover, gardeners apron, nursery cushion, button bracelet, recipe book, heart cushion and button bag amongst many more. I am not sure how many of the actual main projects I would make for myself, but many would indeed make lovely gifts for friends and family.