Two Book Reviews on Embroidery and Natural Dyes

Here at PieceWork, we’re fascinated by the many techniques and processes that make up the world of historical needlework and its modern interpretations. Enjoy two book reviews from the March/April 2011 issue of PieceWork in which our reviewer explores two books, one from the Royal School of Needlework on embroidery techniques and the other on natural dyes.

Natural Dyes

Royal School of Needlework Handbook of Embroidery
By Letitia Higgin
Surrey, England: Royal School of Needlework, 2010. Softbound, 206 pages, £20 (about $26). ISBN 978-0-9566455-0-0.

This facsimile edition of the Royal School of Needlework Handbook of Embroidery, republished for the first time since its original publication in 1880, is a necessity for anyone interested in the history and techniques of art embroidery. Called “this purely technical guidebook” by its author, the Handbook is packed with concise information on tools, materials, and stitches. A handsomely illustrated introduction by former Royal School of Needlework archivist Lynn Hulse discusses in fascinating detail the early history of the Royal School and the first publication of the Handbook. Hulse includes an extensive bibliography, including manuscripts, printed material, and websites that will delight those seeking more information.

Natural Dyes

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
By India Flint
Loveland, Colorado: Interweave, 2010. Hardbound, 238 pages, $40. ISBN 978-1-59668-330-3.

Artistic dyer and colorist India Flint describes ecologically sustainable methods for using leaves, roots, and flowers to color cloth and yarn. She includes guidelines for harvesting and planting natural dyestuff s and for preparing, processing, and applying their dyes to a variety of fibers. This is a beautifully illustrated useful reference for novice home dyers and textile professionals alike.

—Danielle Pranner

Do you adore historical knitting? Read our review of Twisted-Stitch Knitting: Traditional Patterns & Garments from the Styrian Enns Valley by Maria Erlbacher in the blog post “A Book Review for Knitters Who Love Traditional Knitting Patterns: Twisted-Stitch Knitting.”


Learn more about dyeing and embroidery!

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