Australian publisher Inspiration Studios has distilled the best of the best from its issues of Inspirations embroidery magazine for new volumes on crewel embroidery and whitework (a third volume, on Stumpwork, is also being released). Each book begins with an abbreviated historical overview. Crewel, aka wool on linen, began around the seventeenth century and gained popularity during Elizabeth I’s reign. Whitework, with any number of variations on its white-onwhite concept, was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians; since then, Scandinavian and other European needleworkers have contributed their own interpretations—Dresden, Hebedo (Danish), Hardanger (Norwegian), Madeira, and Mountmellick (Irish). Each text then leads into eight patterns. Well thought-out instructions, along with clear color photographs, document every step, with specific stitch how-tos included after the pattern directions. Hints and tips are scattered throughout, like suggestions on needleweaving and the fundamentals of blocking embroidery. The book ends with a perfect “show us” glossary of some 60 stitches, complete with step-bysteps and photographs. Design templates, unfortunately, are stuffed in the book’s back flap, not as accessible to those working on patterns. All designs are geared to the more experienced needleworker, but any enthusiast will admire “mandala musings,” “garden of earthly delights,” “a fine romance,” and “tulip.” Each book is appended with a stitch guide.
— Booklist, May 2020. Barbara Jacobs