Hoop Dreams: Modern Hand Embroidery

Cristin Morgan is an embroidery artist whose first project was for her middle-school art class. "I worked on it during bus rides to and from school for a week or two, head down, lost in my own world... I fell in love." Her first book, Hoop Dreams, is for beginners of any age.

Modern, simple and quick are the themes here. Morgan understands how to get the most out of basic tools and techniques. One of the first projects is a cursive "hello" using her provided template and straight stitches to build thick textured curves, a good way for a new stitcher to get impressive results. Her patterns are cute and trendy. Many have a wholesome, pretty aesthetic--lipsticks, flowers and ferns, bees, letters, an eye, a rainbow, watermelon slices, a hand forming a peace sign, multicolored confetti, all sandwiched between dark pink endpapers. Some of the patterns are displayed in embroidery hoops, others are on clothing or on accessories that involve some hand or machine sewing, such as a zippered bag, jewelry and a tote bag. One project explains how to make pom-poms.

The stitch directory covers 12 basic stitches, each illustrated with a photograph, a neatly drawn diagram with numbered steps, and clear directions that follow those numbers. Her templates are printed in the back of the book, and also on carbon paper in an envelope inside the back cover. Novices looking for simple, attractive patterns to follow or use as inspiration will find this a rewarding guide. --Sara Catterall

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