The Embroidered Garden: Stitching through the Seasons of a Flower Garden (Make Good: Crafts + Life) by Kazuko Aoki is a celebration of the arts of gardening and embroidery both. Drawing inspiration from her garden, Aoki designs patterns, first sketching the material and then translating it into embroidery. The results are beautiful images of individual plant and flower kinds as well as some of the more colorful insects found in the garden.
The first portion of the book consists of illustrations of the beautiful projects Aoki has created and pictures of the garden that inspired them. Aoki writes about her garden and the beauty she finds working and watching there. It is a loving appreciation of a space and an art many people enjoy.
The second portion of the book contains the patterns themselves. These are clearly given with a short introduction describing the stitches and any additional processes—appliqué, for example, or felting, that form portions of some patterns. The majority of the patterns stick to the basic stitches: Backstitch, couching, satin stitch, French Knot, and the like; stitches most embroiderers will know. For those who do not know the stitches, Aoki provides a short guide at the beginning. These are good refreshers for people who already know something, but, I do not recommend The Embroidered Garden for learning the stitches; the beginner is advised to pick up a teaching book or go to Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials for more detailed instruction on the stitches.
The Embroidered Garden is perfect for the person who both gardens and embroiders (or possibly embroiders in the garden) and for the person who loves embroidery and has a garden-crazy friend or relative in need of Christmas and Birthday gifts.
The Embroidered Garden will be available on September 1, 2015. Look for it on Amazon/a>