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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 29 December 2016
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782212850
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 204x260 mm
  • Illustrations: 450
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: £14.99
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Stitch, Fabric & Thread


An inspirational guide for creative stitchers by Elizabeth Healey

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Book Description

Experiment with stitch, fabric and thread to create your own unique textiles.

This inventive book is a treasure trove of over 40 inspiring practical exercises, a rich and creative exploration of fabric and stitch, and a fascinating all-round read. Elizabeth Healey's approach to sewing is that it should be fun, and not like a chore or an exam we need to excel in. Her aim is to simply encourage you to pick up a needle and thread and get sewing!

The exercises draw inspiration from around the world: create corded works of art inspired by Milton Glaser's iconic Bob Dylan poster; create bold embroidered African masks; layer up and cut away to create Mola applique; use bleach and fabric paint to create Aboriginal dreamtime lizards; create knotted works of art inspired by ancient Mayan counting systems; embroider varsity cross-stitch letters or try out decorative Japanese book binding. Alternatively, try a host of other techniques such as quilting, printing, dyeing, couching tumbled crockery, creating pleats and puckers and needlelace.

Packed with stitch galleries and bursting with slow sewing ideas, the book also contains 'behind the stitches' features: illuminating insights into sewing movements such as Boro textiles, Gee's Bend quilting and Dorset buttons.

Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Before the stitches 8
Tools: everything or nothing 10
How a sewing machine works 12
The importance of sketchbooks 13
What is thread? 14
What is fabric? 16
Colour 20
Behind the stitches: The quilters of Gee’s Bend 22
Altered images 24
Toning it down 26
Humble stitches 28
Straight ahead: running stitches 30
Exploring straight stitches 32
Lovely jubbly 36
Pojagi patchwork 38
Intentionally random 40
Kantha fishes 42
Behind the stitches: Boro textiles 44
Visible mending 46
A leaf out of my book 48
Type matters 50
Varsity letters 52
African mask 54
Colourful cords 56
String theory 58
In the loop: chain and blanket stitches 60
Exploring blanket and chain stitches 62
Japanese binding 66
Behind the stitches: Saving your pennies 70
Penny wall hanging 72
Fluxus & mail art 74
Stitched memories 76
Silhouette-a-hula 78
Stitching on knits 80
Texture: introduction to raised stitches 82
Exploring raised stitches 84
Mini quilt 88
Drawing with Stitch 90
Dreamtime lizard 92
Seamless repetition 94
Talking knots 96
Natural dyes 98
Behind the stitches: The rise and fall of Buttony 100
Making buttons 102
More than stitches 104
Shibori 106
Pleats, folds and pinches 108
Texture and illusion 112
Worn and loved 114
Behind the stitches: Mola reverse appliqué 116
Mola: chicken or egg? 118
Chunky rouleaux 122
Drawn thread 124
Behind the stitches: Marriage quilts 126
Trapunto Graffiti 128
Gathered Circles of Joy 130
Behind the stitches: Not to be sniffed at 132
A Christening gift 134
Mirror, mirror 136
Mudlarking 138
Fibonacci flower 140
The poor sewer’s embellisher 142
Paisley Park 144
The stitches 146
Templates 152
Glossary 158
Further Reading 159
Index 160

About the Author

About Elizabeth Healey

Elizabeth Healey originally trained as a graphic designer at the London College of Printing, after which she worked in various design groups before gravitating to the world of illustrated books. For as long as she can remember she has made things usually with yarn or cloth, but sometimes with paper and clay. She is particularly interested in utility stitching and tries to use recycled textiles wherever possible, in a way that looks fresh, modern and urban rather than old and fusty. Elizabeth has contributed articles to the following magazines, Knitting, Making, Crafty, Felt Matters and Pretty Patches. Her first book, Stitch, Fabric & Thread was published in 2016.

You can see examples of her work on her blog: www.elizabethsquarters.blogspot.co.uk.



I so wish there were a higher star rating that I could give as this book is PHENOMENAL!

Elizabeth Healey has absolutely jam-packed this book with ideas, exercises, prompts and knowledge for stitching in a range of contexts and inspirations.

You can see from the contents page at how detailed this book is, but it isnt ever overwhelming! The books layout and the structure have been expertly thought through and crafted so that you, as the reader and maker, are taken on a textile journey. Even the subtle page decorations are inspirational as you go through the book

Before starting the stitches, Elizabeth talks about the importance of preparation in terms of tools, sketchbooks and recording, threads, fabrics, colour, image inspiration and more. What I really love is how Elizabeth really brings it back to basics in exploring these factors. For example, Elizabeth talks about the different fabrics in such detail (their weave, their formation, their weight) and, even if you thought you know lots about fabric, it is so informative and inspiring. I adore how Elizabeth also encourages you to think ethically about your fabrics too with a specific section on ethical textiles and textile recycling.

Once the preparation is covered, Elizabeth then begins to explore the stitches with the first section being based on straight stitches. Now, dont be fooled! Straight stitches are so incredibly versatile, and Elizabeth demonstrates this beautifully with a phenomenal 26 visual prompts for using straight stitch including (but not limited to) chicken scratch, seed stitch, kantha, boro, sashiko and much, much more. I love how each of the 26 prompts is presented visually at the start of that section so that you can see exactly what the stitch idea is.

Then the in-action prompts begin and the layout for each activity/prompt is exquisite! The technique/stitch is explained alongside the materials, the instructions and stunning photography. What is also incredibly clever is that a lot of the prompts also contain an elsewhere section which is almost like an extension of that prompt and encourages you to look further into that specific technique/inspiration.

Continuing this inspirational and flawless layout, the second section explores chain and blanket stitches (shisha, felt, mail art, stitching on knit and more), the third section explores raised stitches (embellishing prints, scattered french knots, couching) alongside pattern repeats, natural dyes, ink and bleach experimentation with the fourth and final section exploring more than stitches (shibori techniques, texture, rag books, applique, drawn thread and more).

If youre new to stitching, or just want a refresher on stitching techniques, then there is also a detailed and easy-to-follow section on the range of stitches used towards the end of the book.

I genuinely dont know how to rave about this book any higher. If there is only one book that you buy this year then I would really, really recommend that you choose this one as it is phenomenal from start to finish! Stunning photography, flawless and accessible structure/layout, inspiration in abundance and so much more!

Embroiderers Guild

At first glance I thought this book is not for me. How wrong could I be. Its exciting, informative and fun. It has a theme of humour throughout the book. It looks at traditional basic stitches and explores different ways of using them. It asks what is thread? The short answer is anything can be used as thread as long as the material you are sewing into has an open enough weave to accommodate it. If you are looking to take stitching to the next level but dont know how to this is the book for you. It is full of ideas and tips. Using everyday objects as a source it explores ways of using them in stitch. This book is packed full of detail from the history behind some of the stitches to Aboriginal Culture. There is so much in this book its practical, informative full of fun and the photography is superb. A book that has something for everyone with page after page of ideas.

Library Journal USA

In this guide, crafter Healey explores embroidery supplies and techniques, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including vintage textiles, street art, textile arts from around the world, nature, and modern art. A variety of stitches and fabrics are used, and her exploration of non-Western embroidery, such as Japanese boro textiles, Indian shisha, and South Asian kantha, will introduce these traditional techniques to a broader audience. The projects serve as an excellent jumping-off point for creative stitchers; Healeys willingness to stitch with just about anything will inspire embroiderers to see the potential in everyday materials. VERDICT Embroiderers are a natural audience for this guide; however, crafters interested in crazy quilting will also find some interesting ideas.

Vogue Patterns (Aug/Sept 2017)

For an abundance of drool worthy creative sewing inspiration, look no further than Elizabeth Healey's STITCH, FABRIC & THREAD (Search Press 2017). This 160-page book has over 40 inspirational techniques to learn, from decorative stitches to raised textures like knots, trapunto, cords, pleats, and pinches, drawn threadwork, mola applique, and more. Comprehensive information on threads, colors, and fabrics rounds out the contents, and makes for an easy leap to your own embellished garment and accessory projects. But whether or not you've got an itch to embellish, the photos alone will make this book a treasured resource.  - in the Must Haves section of Vogue Patterns.

Pretty Patches

July 2017

Pretty Patches contributor Elizabeth Healey brings her passion for textiles to Stitch, Fabric & Thread an exploration of stitched work including over 400 practical exercises. The projects draw inspiration from around the world, from embroidered African Masks to Aboriginal dreamtime lizards and Japanese Bookbinding.

The Sewing Directory

This new book by Elizabeth Healey headlines as an inspirational guide for creative stitchers and is an experimental book for those perhaps fairly new to stitching who wish to develop and play with their creative ideas. The book is not strictly a project book but it does include templates for some of the ideas for you to have a go. The books aim is to allow you to develop your own ideas from the wealth of techniques mentioned in the book, with the focus on different stitch types, both hand and machine.

It begins with a back-to-basics look at tools, threads and material types that you can choose for stitching. It really assumes limited knowledge and is a very comprehensive introduction before you start creating.

Then it leads into different stitch-based sections, starting with straight stitches. The first four pages of the section are a beautifully photographed visual exploration of different straight stitch techniques to whet your appetite before it focuses on more detailed techniques and ideas such as pojagi patchwork, kantha and creative darning.

The book continues in a similar format with well-illustrated sections on chain and blanket stitches, textural raised stitches, fabric manipulation and embellishments.  As before there is a quick visual overview followed by more detailed ideas.The author explores stitch ideas from around the World and the book is an interesting read too!

It finishes with a very useful visual dictionary of stitches at the rear of the book and templates (not all at full-size) for some of the ideas to kick-start your creativity.

You will enjoy this book if you want to stitch your own designs, but get stuck coming up with ways to achieve your ideas.  It is packed full of inspiring images that will help set you off on your creative journey.

- See more at: http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/stitch-fabric-and-thread/#sthash.H5eAb2gw.dpuf

Customer Review

Wow! What a truly inspirational book. As soon as I opened the front cover I fund my self-itching to get started on another project inspired by this book. Elizabeth Healey has done an amazing job of drawing together ideas and inspiration from all over the world.

Each chapter is based on one type of Stitch and shows you how you can expand on that type to create wonderful works of embroidery and textile art.

All in all this book is definitely worth buying as I believe it is one you will go back to time and time again, for both reference and inspiration!

Papercraft Post

Yes, I know this is a papercraft blog but the source of my inspiration is frequently needlecraft and this new title by Elizabeth Healey is an appreciation of many of the fabric manipulation techniques that kindle my creative fire.This lively new title covers many wonderful needlecraft specialities, including shisha mirror embroidery, Suffolk puffs, penny rugs, mola (reverse appliqué) and so much more. All interspersed with a dash of cultural and/or historical background and super how-to tips. This book provides exactly what is says on the tin, delivering on the promise of the title's strap line.

The projects are delightful and the author successfully updates many techniques with time-saving tweaks (such as the cheats molas worked with felt cut-outs no edges to turn under).

The fact that many (probably all) creative endeavours are underpinned by mathematical principles strikes fear in the heart of many crafters Elizabeth Healey proudly revels in this knowledge, and shares her wondrous discoveries. She says , I was once told that sewing is basically applied mathematics. If maths was your most hated subject at school, dont panic. Another gem is citing that creating a seemingly random pattern is not as easy as it sounds. Yay. 

A weekend browse of this book could send your crafting off in splendid new directions. Would also make a fab Mothers Day gift.



I bet that gorgeous cover grabbed your attention. It gives you some idea of the inspiration this book provides through practical exercises. The many techniques explored in this book are quilting, shisha embroidery, printing, mola, dyeing, couching, Japanese bookbinding and needlelace. You'll discover stitch galleries and features on sewing movements such as Boro textiles. 

Subtitled 'An Inspirational Guide For Creative Stitchers' this book includes : Before The Stitches - all about research and preparation; Running Stitches explores straight stitches; Chain and Blanket Stitches is another exploration of stitches and includes creating penny mats, one of my favourite projects in the book as well as stitched memories; Raised Stitches has some nice experimental ideas including Dorset buttons and More Than Stitches including Shibori techniques and mola and gathered circles and stitches at the very back of the book.    

The book is a basic introduction to stitch with projects that you can follow. Since it covers a lot of things, it should have broad appeal. With over 40 exercises there is bound to be many things you will love. I felt that even if you encountered nothing new, you would still find value in the projects and expression in this creative book. So much to love for stitchers here.

Workshop on the web

Elizabeth Healey's book is an inspirational book indeed. As an embroiderer who takes a very playful approach to her craft, looking at spontaneity and improvisation rather than following patterns or rules, what we have in Stitch, Fabric and Thread is a book full of new and exciting approaches within a framework of what most people would feel comfortable with.
Particular stitches are explored but go off on tangents. So with the running stitch, you look at the basics, then at a gallery of over 25 different ways of using straight stitch in your work. You then move onto a series of wildly different exercises or projects, all using running stitch. Chain and blanket stitches and later textured stitches are approached in the same way and you are moved far away from a pedestrian approach but taken on a roller coaster ride of stitching, stories and 'Behind the Stitches' which look more deeply into subjects ranging from Dorset Buttons to Boro Textiles or Mola Reverse Appliqué.
It is an exciting book that feels like someone with a brain full of stitches and ideas has exploded onto the page. It is taken beyond the traditional book of stitches and goes one step further, moving from the stitch to all the different ways you could use it and making it a treasure trove of ideas. From making simple stitched forms to mini art forms, you have a really good book about
making stitching fun and thinking outside the box.

Customer Review

Received my copy on Friday, it contains a great range of techniques that I've never seen before. I mainly do cross stitch and make soft toys, but your book has opened my eyes to maybe trying new things .Im especially keen to try patchwork and dying and pleating. Book is very informative and I look forward to moving on to some new ventures ,thanks for giving me the chance . :)

Customer Review

I am an artist and do a bit of sewing in some of my artwork. I found this book inspiring. Lots of beautiful photos throughout the book. It is so creative and is definitely a book I will pick up time and again

Customer Review

The title of this book says it all - Stitch Fabric & Thread 'An Inspirational Guide for Creative Stitchers' - and it certainly is just that 'inspirational'.
This lovely book is packed full of techniques, ideas and instruction for the avid stitcher that are beautifully illustrated and clearly explained - including embroidery, quilting, fabric painting, dyeing and much much more. It introduced me to many techniques that I had never seen before, and I will look to this book for a wealth of ideas and for practical stitch reference for many years to come

East Kent Embroiderers Guild

Elizabeth takes a slightly unconventional approach with her first book by presenting a range of creative and inspirational projects based around stitch types.  The projects are of a somewhat random nature, but explanations are given for each, allowing flexibility for the reader to expand the idea in her own way.  A charming ideas book perfect for anyone wishing to experiment with fabric and thread.

Hot Brands Cool Places

We love this book, packed with stitch galleries and bursting with slow sewing ideas, the book also contains 'behind the scenes stitches' features; illuminating insights into sewing movements such as Boro textiles, Gee's bend quilting and Dorset Buttons. It is an absolute inspiration!

Customer Review

An excellent, inspiring book that gives lots of photos to easily explain ideas , that covers lots of techniques. I felt like a child in a sweet shop, that got me straight in my craft room trying ideas out .
I can recommend the book to anyone that is trying and playing with new inspiring techniques.

Customer Review

The illustrations in this book are really good and there are clear instructions to help you create some wonderful stitching projects. The layout of the book makes you want to try all the different techniques and overall, it's given me some new inspiration.

Customer Review

This is a lovely inspiring sewing book to relax with and absorb ideas from.

The author has a particular style emulating nature and using soft subtle natural shades and ethnic inspiration, using traditional stitching techniques which becomes apparent throughout the book. It all makes for a very soothing and restful style which is nevertheless exciting and innovative.

As well as lots of tips and techniques there are specific projects to try with step by step guidelines and templates.

Techniques covered which I had not come across before include Boro stitching and Mola applique and there are some great ideas for making and using Dorset buttons which I've already begun and find them fascinating.

A must read for imaginative stitchers and would be textile artists, to add to your sewing library and gain insight and creativity from.

Customer Review

You only have to look at the cover of this book to feel inspired.
With 160 pages of well illustrated information that can be difficult to find elsewhere this book is a must for every textile student, sewing enthusiast and mixed media artist.
The book contained a wide range of textile techniques that have been explained well along with projects to try.
Also included are answers to questions about how things work....for example...how a sewing machine works.
This book contains more than the title suggests and is a joy to own.

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