The Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard, developing techniques in new and innovative ways. Now we can enjoy the expertise in the comfort of our own homes courtesy of this lovely book. The series of Essential Stitch Guides provides expert tuition, and in this guide Becky Hogg shows how to develop many different patterns from the basic blackwork stitches, using detailed instructions and beautiful examples of traditional and contemporary embroideries.-Machine Knitting Monthly Blackwork is associated with the 16th century and examples of it can be seen in many stately homes and museums, often as part of clothing. This useful little book introduces this lovely and often neglected embroidery style and forms part of a series of spiral-bound books created by the famous Royal School of Needlework. I love the way this book (and all the others in the series) opens out flat and stays flat, so helpful when working from its many diagrams. There are other books on this subject of course, but I was impressed by the way this one shows not only great examples of the past, but also how blackwork can be used by contemporary needleworkers to create modern works. It also gives you all the tools you need to begin, from what you need to buy and how to use the tools and materials, to working the various stitches. With blackwork you do not need to learn many stitches and none are difficult to master (if you are reading this review you are sure to know most of them already); it is the patterns and how to use them that has often stumped me when looking at other books. Here there are many patterns given, each showing a squared grid marking the stitches and a worked example. There is information, too, on how to achieve the shading effect, and lots of examples of modern work including a wonderful tiger's head, portraits, abstracts and even work not done exclusively in black, or not even in black at all. This might sound surprising but blackworkA" was not always worked in black in historical times, and there are some fine examples of what it can look like in full or partial color. I've got more than one book on this subject on my shelves, but this is definitely the best one so far. If you want to learn blackwork and get under the skin of how to design your own patterns and pictures, then this is an excellent place to do so.-Myshelf.com Traditionally, blackwork is a series of repeating patterns, but Becky Hogg, a graduate apprentice and tutor at the Royal School of Needlework, shows that it can be so much more. The basic techniques and equipment are covered and there are good, clear instructions for working outlines in chain and stem stitch - and with charts describing almost 40 filling patterns, you should have plenty of scope. The technique becomes really exciting when you reach the section on shading; by working the same pattern with different thicknesses of thread, the effect can be dense or light. For even greater control of the shading, removing elements of the pattern can create a dramatic or more gradual shaded effect; the two shading techniques can be used together to create beautifully subtle gradations. This is not a project book, but the clear instructions and photographs of superb embroideries worked by the author and other RSN apprentices are sure to inspire you to come up with your own ideas.-Stitch This book starts by giving an interesting history of how Blackwork came to England in the 17th century and was extensively used in the Royal Court circles. There are good clear diagrams of many stitch patterns from very light to very dense designs which can be used for showing texture and shading by incorporating different thicknesses of thread. Of particular interest is the way that a very old traditional technique has grown to show modern themes and ideas. A useful book for both beginner and experienced needleworker to have on their shelf.-West Country Embroiderers Author Becky Hogg explores blackwork and demonstrates how to develop the technique to create your own designs. There are detailed instructions, including sections on tools and materials and it charts many of the traditional stitch patterns. This is topped off by examples of both traditional and contemporary blackwork embroidery.-Embroidery Magazine Becky Hogg specialised in traditional stitching during her honours degree at Loughborough School of Art before becoming a Graduate Apprentice at the RSN, where she learned traditional techniques and worked for nine years on prestidgious commissions. She now works at the RSN and freelances. This background has helped her to produce this excellent little book, one of a series on traditional techniques, in conjunction with the Royal School of Needlework. In the introduction, she explains that Blackwork not only makes patterns, but is also very suitable for creating light and shade on the textile surface.This makes the technique ideal for translating black and white photographs, pen and ink drawings and etchings etc onto fabric. She develops this idea with the development of blackwork techniques from the Tudor images in portraits to modern day interpretations with stunning effect. Threads, needles, framing up are all explained and then the book develops into methods of stitches and how to achieve beautiful tonal effects. The illustrations are excellent and both traditional and modern stitchers would be inspired to follow her methods. This is a very useful and creative book.-megonline.co.uk A technique not all that common these days, blackwork is an interesting variation on cross stitch and other counted embroidery stitches. This wonderful spiral-bound book is one in a series being produced by the Royal School of Needlework to encourage more people to take up hand embroidery. It is a thorough and truly excellent guide to the genre, with detailed instructions for preparation, materials and individual stitches, illustrated with close-up photography and diagrams.-Australian Homespun
About the Author
Becky Hogg achieved a first class honours degree in Textiles at Loughborough School of Art, then specialised in traditional hand embroidery as a Graduate Apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework, where she learned blackwork, goldwork, silk shading and whitework. She worked in the studios of the Royal School of Needlework for nine years on diverse and prestigious commissions including replica curtains for the Royal Opera House and the Commonwealth banner for the Queen's Jubilee. She now works freelance from her London studio and teaches hand embroidery at art colleges and at the Royal School of Needlework.