Ray Stitch Recommended Summer Reading

It is officially summer holiday season - schools have all broken up, peak-time annual leave has been negotiated with your colleagues, and although this week started off wet, the sun is on it's way. With all this in mind, we thought we would give you our recommendations for great summer reads; they are all related to sewing, crafts, fabric or fashion in someway and are easier to take on your travels than most of your work-in-progress projects. Even if you are only venturing as far as your back garden this summer, you will be able to find something to keep you inspired.

'MODERN WEAVING' by LAURA STRUTT
We hosted a Modern Weaving class recently, which was a huge success. Wall hangings can be very expressive, creative and satisfying to make. This book by Laura Strutt explains how to start with the basics and progresses through to more difficult wall hangings via grid patterns. Laura's weave's are funky, and the wall hangings are very quick to achieve once you know the basics.

'POMPOMANIA' by Christine Leech
Pompoms are everywhere these days, and they are also really easy portable craft activities. This book has got loads of ideas for super cool pompoms, like the cacti seen above. This is a grown up book for those wanting to add some quirky pieces to their home or festival outfits, and it elevates what is usually a simple craft to precise and skilful with great results.

'TIE & DYE' by LIZZIE KING
Perfect for festival season, jazzing up your home or for things to do with the kids over summer. Lizzie King uses traditional shibori tying techniques, but shows you how to do them on items like baseball caps, shoe laces and even baby grows!

'PLAYFUL' by MERRILEE LIDDIARD
Gloriously presented and illustrated book for projects with and for kids. It is divided into five categories: Playful Dress Up, Playful Toys, Playful Paper Crafts, Playful Repurposing and Playful Art. Despite being super stylish, these projects are actually great for beginners (or kids) and are low-cost too. Projects include fair maiden and knight dress-up smocks, a tiger pinata, a parade of paper puppets, a convoy of trucks, a dollhouse made out of cardboard and bright duct tape...

'YELLOW OWL'S LITTLE PRINTS' by CHRISTINE SCHMIDT
Personalising items is a lovely way to make something even more special. Christine Schmidt shares her ideas using bold straightforward stamps, hand printing and stencils that are easy to cut out and make for hassle-free projects. Aimed at design-savvy parents but kids will love these stylish designs too.

'THE GENTLE ART OF STITCHING' by JANE BROCKET
Another book displaying Jane's eclectic style of patchwork and stitching. Taking inspiration from vintage textiles and prints, she gives you 40 projects that either replicate nostalgic style or add to an existing antique piece.

'WOOLLY EMBROIDERY' by KYUUTO! JAPANESE CRAFTS
This book features traditional style embroidery for use with crewel wools and stitching but presented in a very modern way. Despite the complexities of some of the techniques the guides are easy-to-follow with beautiful images.

'STORYLAND CROSS STITCH' by WHAT DELILAH DID
The magical storyland of Delilah features cross stitch patterns for woodland creatures and beasts. Starting with a basic guide to counted cross stitch, projects are divided into three chapters: Projects for Beginners, Practice Makes Perfect and Projects for the Brave and Determined. Detailed projects are suggested, including book covers, lavender sachets and miniature motifs. Delilah's style is dreamy and cute, for both the beginner cross-stitcher or those with more experience.

'PAPER EMBROIDERY' by ATSUMI
While this book is presented in it's native Japanese language, it is beautifully illustrated and presented with photographs so that the templates towards the back don't seem daunting at all. The book inspires you to have fun with embroidering on paper, and to think outside of the box with your stitching.

'MARK-MAKING IN TEXTILE ART' by HELEN PARROTT
This fascinating book explores the cross-over between stitching and drawing, and offers a combination of the theory of mark-making as well as technical advice on how to go about developing your own style. The book is divided into the types of marks that can be made on fabric, varying in complexity, arrangement and 'feel' as well as covering both hand and machine stitches. Helen Parrott inspires you to record ideas from life and use the sketches to experiment with stitching - a perfect summer activity!

'THE BUTTON BOX' by LYNNE KNIGHT
We were lucky enough to have Lynne talk about this fascinating book in store earlier this year. The humble button is used as a way of telling the story of three generations of women; part social history, part chronicle of changing fashions, and a thoroughly engaging read.

'FOLK FASHION' by AMY TWIGGER HOLROYD

We are all aware of the resurgence of handmade items, and enjoy the process ourselves, but does it have a wider social importance? Folk Fashion investigates the complex relationship between making, well-being and sustainability. Looking to the future, Amy also considers the radical and political potential of sewing and knitting, and how that could be maximised. A deep and thought-provoking read.

'UNCONVENTIONAL AND UNEXPECTED' by RODERICK KIRACOFFE
You may just want to look at the immensely bold and intricate quilts highlighted here, but do not miss out the accompanying stories too. They tell the tale of 150 anonymously-made quilts in the US at the end of the 20th century, as well as looking at the social effects and benefits that quilt-making has had through time.

All of these books (and many, many more) are available from Ray Stitch, plus we have a most welcoming reading room so please stop by and have a browse yourselves! Here's to a wonderful and creative summer.