Thursday, April 29, 2010

Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Carol Shinn

While looking through my many needlecraft magazines, I came upon a project done by Carol Shinn that I thought was amazing, so I was delighted to see that she had published a book on her techniques called Freestyle Machine Embroidery: Techniques and inspiration for Fiber Art. I have been looking for quite a while for a book that showed how to do freestyle machine embroidery which is not the same as doing machine embroidery using digitized designs. With freestyle machine embroidery, you use your sewing machine as a paint brush and thread as the paint, sewing down layers of color to make a picture or design.

In my quest I have come upon books that while supposedly about this type of embroidery, spend half the book talking about painting backgrounds, etc. Well if I could paint backgrounds I think I would stick with painting and forget trying to learn how to machine embroider the picture. This book, however, explains some simple projects that you can do with painting blocks of color (or you could print the blocks out using special ink jet photo transfer paper) and then explains how to use your threads to sew out these simple designs. Once you have learned these simple techniques then you go on to learn how to show transparency of colors in your designs. There are plenty of pictures so that you can understand the step by step process including showing the blocks and the spools of thread used in the project and how they combined.

The author explains the materials she uses and the whys of what she uses and at the same time going on to describe other material that can be used and how you would need to stabilize it. She also spends time on explaining how a design can distort due to the quantity of thread taking up fabric depending on the way the stitches lie. This is the first I recall hearing about the possibilities of distortion from all the books I have read on freestyle machine embroidery in so it was certainly good to know. Along with her own work she shows examples of other artists and explains their basic techniques and philosophy about what they do.

At the back of the book was a page of recommended reading with a long list of books that I hadn’t heard of. I think my Amazon wish list will be expanding if I can’t find the books through my local library. All in all Freestyle Machine Embroidery was a terrific book and one I highly recommend if you are interested at all in this sewing technique. Perhaps after reading this book, I will now be able to go back to my other books on machine embroidery and understand the techniques for combining the thread better.

This is basically a copy of a review that I wrote for Amazon. I gave this book 5 stars as it is very informative, inspirational, has great photos and lots of them. I learned a lot from this book and as soon as I have time for yet another project will be trying out her technique.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know your thoughts and ideas!