Library Journal 2018
Two dozen colorful, mandala-inspired embroidery designs created by Envoldsen-Harris (Transfer & Stitch: Romantic Motifs) are the focus of this collection. Floral motifs figure prominently, including seasonal designs featuring cherry blossoms and poinsettias, as well as stylized and Scandinavian-style flowers. Other designs serve as a showcase of stitches, such as the winter solstice mandala, which includes a variety of decorative stitches in a traditional circular layout. Suggestions for colors and stitches are provided, but stitchers can customize based on individual preferences. Twelve of the mandalas are large (sized to fit in a six-inch hoop), and 12 are miniature (sized to fit in a three-inch hoop), with iron-on transfers provided for each. VERDICT These beginner-friendly designs will provide a meditative stitching experience.
PLANET JUNE – March 2018
Ever since Carina mentioned that she was designing a book of mandalas, I’ve been waiting to see what she came up with, and I wasn’t disappointed! Embroidery, like other slow crafts, can be a calm relaxing hobby, and combining that with repeating mandala patterns sounds like a perfect recipe for slowing down and enjoying some crafting time.
Mandalas to Embroider includes 12 large and 12 small delicate repeating patterns. Nature-based, geometric, or more abstract, the designs are all bold, happy, and – of course! – colourful. The circular nature of the patterns means they fit perfectly in an embroidery hoop, making the finished pieces easy to display.
The pages of the second half are actually iron-on transfers for each of the patterns. Each page is perforated so it can be removed neatly, and there’s a handy pocket inside the back cover to store any transfers you’ve already used. I thought this was a really nice touch, as each transfer can be used up to ten times, so you’ll be able to keep the transfer pages together with the book, so they’re ready for the next time you want to use them.
This book is beautifully styled and photographed, and I couldn’t stop paging through again and again to admire the variety of mandala-inspired patterns.
Carina’s designs always have a hand-drawn quality to them, and I was impressed to see that she’s managed to maintain that even with the repeating patterns in Mandalas to Embroider. There’s still a free, natural quality to the designs. I noticed while I was stitching the flowers that the petals of each flower aren’t perfectly identical. This is a good thing – the relaxed nature of the design felt like permission to be relaxed in the execution – there’s no need to make every stitch exactly even and perfect to get a beautiful result.
If you’ve never tried embroidery, I’d definitely encourage you to give it a try – I found it very relaxing and satisfying to watch the design come together. And I think Mandalas to Embroider is a perfect introduction to embroidery, as you can build your confidence by practicing your stitching on the smaller patterns, or do as I did and jump right into a large one.