Bead Embroidery by Shelley Cox – Beautiful Stitches Book Shelf

Do you love embroidery books? I am afraid that I have a complete weakness for them and thus I have an overflowing bookshelf. And of course it is not just embroidery books but anything that might help me be a better craftswoman. So books on creativity, architecture, fashion, scrapbooking, patchwork, design theory, art and world textiles all jostle for space on my shelves.

You can't have too many books can you?
You can’t have too many books can you?

I love reading books for ideas, inspiration, colour, technique, and design. And I love the insight it gives you into the author’s passion for his or her craft. Inevitably, some of the author’s personality shines through the lens of the projects they share. So I often find myself wishing I could meet a particular author and spend an hour or two stitching with them.

The funny thing is that I rarely work any of the actual projects out of these books – rather they help build my well of knowledge and inspiration out of which new projects grow. So this week I am starting a new weekly page on my blog. Every week I will choose a book from my overflowing bookshelf and share with you why it is an important part of my collection. And believe me, every book is important – even just for one idea or pretty colour combination.

I am starting with Bead Embroidery by Shelley Cox, published in 2013 as one of a series of Essential Stitch Guides from the Royal School of Needlework. Why this book first I hear you say? It is not a weighty, spectacular tome; it is not specifically about my number one passion – canvaswork; and yet it is a perfect example of the kind of book I love because as I read it I find my fingers itching to stitch.

Bead Embroidery - Shelley Cox

Shelley is a graduate of the RSN Apprenticeship scheme and now works as a freelance teacher and embroiderer. In this book she shows you how to use beads in a wide variety of embroidery styles from enhancing counted work and surface stitchery to working whole designs in beads, as well as finishing projects with beaded edging and fringing. Interspersed through the book are photos of beautiful projects, just like the one on the front cover.

The very first time I read this book I knew that my next canvaswork design was going to need some beads added. As Shelley puts it “beads are an embroiderer’s way of laughing” – they add fun to both the stitching process and to the finished piece. So, here is a little taste of a piece I have been working on with beaded reverse cushion stitch inspired by Shelley Cox.

Reverse cushion stitch worked on 18-count canvas and embellished with Toho Japanese Seed Beads 11/0.
Reverse cushion stitch worked on 18-count canvas and embellished with Toho Japanese Seed Beads 11/0.

Do you have a favourite book? I would love to hear about it and why it inspires you…

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