Book Review: "Embroidered & Embellished" by Christen Brown

 We first met Christen Brown many years ago, when we walked into her fiber arts shop, The Store On The Corner, in San Diego, California. We all said, "Wow" and proceeded to admire the fiber art models all over the store, many of which were classes created and taught by Christen.

Surrounded by tools of her passion, you knew two things about Christen from her store: 1. She loved fibers, 2. She loved beads. The way she combined fibers, beads and stitching inspired everyone who walked through the door. If only this talented artist had more time to teach and design…

Fast forward a few years, after she closed her store to design and teach full time, and Christen finally has the chance to focus on writing and publishing. People all over the world are now benefitting from Christen's knowledge, covering traditional embroidery, bead embroidery, silk ribbon work, and wearable art. No matter what kind of needlework you are doing, you can benefit from Christen's ideas, techniques, and instruction. If you've ever used threads, beads and stitches — or want to use them — she's a go-to person for techniques and inspiration.

Christen's latest book is "Embroidered & Embellished: 85 Stitches Using Thread, Floss, Ribbon, Beads & More," from C&T Publishing. You can never go wrong with having stitch books in your personal library, and this book features very nice, bright, and clear step-by-step photos for each stitch. Good photos are crucial for learning on your own at home, and this book won't disappoint. There are many photos of finished projects, which helps you see the gorgeous result of these embroidered details. Most are mixed media, crazy-quilt-style designs, but inspiring nonetheless, whether you are doing that kind of hand embroidery or doing cross stitch and needlepoint. 

In this book you will learn how to combine some of your favorite stitches and a few new ones with beads to create dimensional embroidery. She also includes tips for using a variety of threads, such as Kreinik metallics, with beads. This is information you can use to make your cross stitch designs a little more dimensional, to create different beaded effects in needlepoint projects, or to add embroidered details to your sewing and quilting designs. It's the kind of book that inspires you to play a little more in your own needlework, and that's always a good thing.

Look for "Embroidered & Embellished" by Christen Brown in your local needlework store or online bookseller. For more information on Christen, her online classes, and online Store On The Corner, visit www.christenbrown.com.

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