West Coast Love Embroidery Book Review

A few month's ago, Megan from Studio MME asked for volunteers to help stitch patterns for her upcoming embroidery book based on the West Coast of the USA. I've always loved her patterns so jumped at the chance. The book has now been launched and looks GORGEOUS!

In Megan's own words: "West Coast Love lets West Coasters stitch up their local pride. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Seattle Space Needle, this 100+ page digital pattern book gives you a tour of the seaside states. In addition to man-made landmarks, you can stitch up iconic birds, alternative state flags, and national park monuments. West Coast Love is the first pattern book by Megan Eckman, the designer behind Studio MME. Her patterns are simple to sew but intricate in their design, letting you curl up on the couch with a beer while you stitch something beautiful."

West Coast Love Cover

The book is beautifully laid out, with very clear patterns and a beginner-friendly stitch guide. It also includes extensive instructions on transferring the patterns to fabric and finishing the projects, which are shown as hoops and pennants. The patterns themselves look really impressive once stitched up, and I love the cute introductions to each section of the West Coast, and Megan's interpretations of the state flags, including a grizzly bear for California!

You can see the level of detail she has included here, for a hoop showing the Golden Gate bridge. It's really easy to see which stitches to use to get the same effect as the picture, and the suggested colours work really well.

West Coast Love Golden Gate Bridge

West Coast Love Golden Gate Bridge

I love the sketch-like effect of the grass and plants in the Hollywood sign pattern, it's really representative of Megan's style.

West Coast Love Hollywood

I was sent the Santa Monica Pier hoop to stitch. It was a new challenge for me as I haven't done much stitching involving straight lines, and there were lots of them in this pattern! I used Fabri-Solvy to transfer the pattern (not one of the transfer suggestions in the book) and had a few problems with it (more on that next week) but the pattern itself was really fun and easy to stitch.

West Coast Love Santa Monica Pier

I've never been to the West Coast (I've only been to New Orleans) but so many of the landmarks in these patterns were immediately recognisable. I've also only been on a Ferris Wheel once and I thought I was going to throw up every time it went over the top. I'm not great at fairground rides...

You can buy the book on Megan's site at: http://www.studiomme.com/shop.html. She has kindly provided a free pattern from the book for you to try, the stunning Stellar's Jay - download it here. I think this is my favourite pattern from the book, but the California bear flag and palm tree pennants aren't far behind.

New Monsters - Romance Edition!

New monster accessories have appeared in my shop...

Cutie monster brooch!

Eyeball monster will keep an eye on your keys!

Horny monster (ummm...) will make your hair more monsterlicious!

Adventures In Steamed Shibori

I've been taking a City and Guilds level 3 embroidery course at a local college, and this week we tried steamed shibori which was SUCH FUN!

The basic idea is to create structure in fabric through the use of steam. Synthetic fabrics keep their shape when washed, natural fabrics do not. We used a vegetable steamer for 20-25 minutes at a time, tying or stitching objects and creases in the fabric, steaming them then untying the fabric to see what effects we had created, which were often quite unexpected.

This was satin tied around screws. I realised afterwards that the tying thread should have gone more accurately in the threads of the screws to get a more realistic effect.

This is organza tied around screws then coloured with silk paints (which then bled all over the steamer). This doesn't show the screw effect as well as the silk one but I still quite like it.

Beads gave a much more even effect.

I have no idea what this fabric is, kind of nylon Tyvek? It held the bead shape really well.

I love the organic look of this one, which was the most fiddly with using pearl-sized beads in the middle. The larger beads unexpectedly bled colour - I would rather it was all one colour with just texture differences but I don't hate the effect.

I was really inspired by textile artist Michelle Griffiths - I found a Pinterest board here that has some of her amazing screw pieces. I don't know if this technique will fit in with my plans for the final 3D embroidered piece for the course, but I do really want to try it again.

Have you tried any unusual textile techniques that I should investigate?