Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal

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Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal

Category: Crafts
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A book from an inspiring teacher which will have you reaching for your stash of materials before you're more than a few pages in. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Taunton Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1621138709

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I've had extensive experience of craft teachers - both in person and through books - and they fall into two categories. The first are the ones who want you to be awed by their knowledge and techniques, to know that what they can do easily may well be completely beyond your abilities. The other group are the ones who within minutes have you believing that you can do this, that you're going to find it exciting, rewarding and fun. Fortunately Susan Beal comes firmly into the second group. Just so that you know where I'm coming from, I've been sewing for over half a century, but for some reason I've not strayed far into the realms of woolen materials. There was a reluctance which I couldn't quite put my finger on.

But within a few pages of opening Hand-stitched Home I was thinking I can do this and it wasn't long before I was mentally reviewing my stash of materials and working out how I could supplement it. By the time I'd looked at a few projects I was even working out how I could change them so that they would suit my purposes. I was finding the confidence to feel that I could go beyond what was in front of me. THAT is the sign of a very good teacher.

The book begins with information about Pendleton. The fabrics in the book have all come from Pendleton (and they're gorgeous) but it is stressed that other fabrics can be used to equal effect. There are useful hints about which types of fabric can be ripped (a glorious timesaver where it's possible) and which need to be cut and by the time I'd finished this chapter I was also confident about the different weights of wool and how they can be used. (Looking back I now realise that this was the seat of my reluctance.) After that we were quickly on to tools, materials and techniques. You won't need anything fancy or expensive - I would think that most people who are at all crafty have it all tucked away in a drawer.

The projects are varied and mostly relevant to the lives we all lead nowadays. Don't be misled by the 'Hand-stitched' in the title as many of the pieces are made by machine and can be completed fairly quickly. The projects are graded so that you know what you're getting into and there's something to appeal to everyone from the beginner through to someone with more experience. I loved the bags, but I think I'm going to be tempted into a blanket as soon as I can get the materials together.

If I had one regret as I read it was that Pendleton seemed so distant from where I was sitting in the Yorkshire Dales. Then I read about the firm's history and about Thomas Lister Kay, born in West Yorkshire in 1837 and who worked as a bobbin boy at a mill in Shipley - the town where my husband worked until his retirement. Somehow it all seemed so much closer.

For masterclasses which will help the more experienced sewer we can recommend Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making by Susanne Woods (Editor).

Buy Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools by Susan Beal at Amazon.com.


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