When I teach an embroidery class, I always bring my favorite embroidery books to share with students to help inspire them and see ways they can continue the learning process once they leave class. I have a new book to add to that group of favorites. Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion is a beautifully done, practical guide to several kinds of needlework. Paulson is well known for her blog, Posie Gets Cozy, and brings her traditional-with-a-touch-of-modern aesthetic to her book, Embroidery Companion. She shares her story of rediscovering embroidery after being hit by a car and having to spend an entire summer in bed, recovering from surgeries needed to repair her badly damaged foot.

Embroidery was my best travel agent – and doctor. Through almost every moment of almost every day of my recovery, I stitched a wonderland of hearts and flowers.

I also love her description of how the process of embroidery affects her physical being.

What I love most about embroidering is the physical effect that doing it has on my body: blood pressure goes down, worries fade, breathing evens, mind stops racing with thoughts of all that needs doing. Practicing embroidery gives your body and brain a chance to slow down and stitch itself back together after a long day, or a long year… Embroidery is just good medicine for so much of what ails us in the modern world.

Indeed. What Alicia speaks of is at the core of why embroidery is my absolute craft of choice, and why I work hard to be able to stitch something – even if just for a few minutes – each and every day.
Embroidery Companion walks readers through technical information necessary for getting started in embroidery and then explores three kinds of needlework (decorative embroidery, counted cross-stitch and crewelwork) in three sections that each contain projects of varying skill levels. I love that her work holds true to traditional embroidery, but still has her own personal modern touch. The projects range from cute accessories to delicate housewares, baby gifts and family heirlooms. Paulson’s pup, Clover, makes appearances throughout the book (including in a project made for her) and is ridiculously adorable. Embroidery Companion is a great book to find a variety of inspiration and projects for your next embroidery endeavor.
Book Giveaway Time!
Three lucky CRAFT readers will win a copy of Embroidery Companion. Just tell us why you would like this book in the comments. All comments will be closed by Noon PST on Monday, October 4, 2010. The lucky winners will be chosen randomly and announced later on the site. Good luck!

266 thoughts on “Review + Giveaway: Embroidery Companion

  1. Little embroidery touches would be fun to personalize clothing and accessories. This book I’m sure would inspire me to get going and do it.

  2. i have started making clothing and other sewn goods for my daughter and other children, this book would be great for helping me take my handmade goods to the next level!

  3. Well, or at least something similar to it. I love that! I love to do embroidery, but I think it’s most fun when combined with my other hobbies like sewing. The style of this book looks so beautiful and inspiring.

  4. I always take needlepoint or embroidery with me when I have to wait somewhere boring (like the dentist or a football game.) I would love to have a copy of the book, it looks like there are lots of neat patterns in it.

  5. I’m a big fan of Alicia’s blog and work, and I’ve been doing embroidery off and on for several years now. I would love the book to use as motivation and inspiration for new projects.

  6. I’m a big fan of Alicia’s blog and work, and I’ve been doing embroidery off and on for several years now. I would love the book to use as motivation and inspiration for new projects.

  7. I have a few resources from Sublime Stitching and would love to see how others do embroidery. I’m new to stitching and I love it. I’ve done a tote bag and two tea towels with Jenny Hart’s transfers. I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg!

  8. I am quite taken with embroidery but could use a little help in getting beyond the most basic of stitches. Plus I am sure that it must be a charming, inspirational book.

  9. I love that every stitch in embroidery is made in a precise manner and very purposeful. Gifts of embroidery are treasures of love.

  10. I have looked through this book and want to make lots of things in it. Just having it to look at the beautiful pictures is enough in it self. The author is so talented and has wonderful ideas!

  11. I haven’t embroidered since I was pregnant in the 80’s..this could inspire me to start working on some grandbaby things!!

  12. When I am given a moment to do with what I wish… I stitch. More designs and ideas for stitching is always welcome!

  13. I’ve rediscovered embroidery lately and I’m working on some hankies at the moment. This book would help me move on to other projects.

  14. Years ago I found a book called “Native Funk and Flash” and it had the wildest best embroidery projects in it. I was determined to begin making things because of that book, and embroidery was one of the first crafts I decided to learn.
    This book looks wonderful — would love to tackle some of the projects in it.

  15. Just this past weekend, my mom taught me how to embroider. It’s something my grandmother did before she passed away last year, and she taught my mom. It felt only appropriate to keep the tradition alive, and so far I’m loving it. It would be great to have a supply of some classic designs that still look cute!

  16. This summer I just had a sudden craving to start embroidering. I really enjoy it, but my skill development has a long way to go.

  17. My mom did crewel work when I was young and some years ago my sister went through an embroidery phase (turned into historical hand sewing) but I have yet to do much but some French knots. I’d like to learn to do something more. I also might be on bedrest in the near future and this would be wonderful to work on.

  18. i’ve just started to teach myself embroidery, i’m expecting a stint of (f)unemployment due to budget cuts and it would be a great way to improve my designs and technique and fill up the spaces between resumes.

  19. I love the simple yet elegant designs I can see in the picture of this article. I would love to have this book to see what new things I could be inspired to!
    And I am in mega love with embroidery . . .

  20. I rediscovered embroidery a couple of years ago. since then I have been learning more techniques and finding new things to embroider. This book would be a great way to develop more.

  21. I have always wanted to try embroidery, but always felt a little intimidated. I love Alicia’s website, and the book looks beautiful, so count me in!

  22. I grew up in a large extended family. Staying with my aunt meant sleeping on line-dryed, hand embroidered sheets. I think that smell and feel, creates beautiful dreams. I am currently working on pillow cases for my family and I love Alicia’s work. I want my children and extended family to have those same memories.

  23. I started to embroider again about a year ago to keep my fingers limber and when I am in a chronic pain episode, I can do it while resting. I take it with me when I travel and always get people asking what I am making. I think they make great gifts for people because you made it yourself. The new wave of embroidery with pillows and other projects amazes me. Any new outlet or information or inspiration I can find I grab a hold of. I don’t have many new books on it, I have some really old passed down booklets from the family that I treasure. A new book to this hobby would be very welcomed in my hobby. I also love the new designs being incorporated into projects. Basically you can embroider anything! When I was little my instructions were the tiny booklets that came with kits, now, there is a world of instruction out there!

  24. I would love this book because I am just learning to embroider and would love some new inspiration. The projects look so beautiful! :)

  25. I would love to use this book to start some new projects! I love her blog and would love the opportunity to see this book.

  26. Embroidery is a beautiful way to subtlety adorn an otherwise ordinary garment or fabric. I would love to learn more and win this book!

  27. I have some very rudimentary embroidery skills but would like to learn more advanced techniques. I think this book would be amazingly helpful.

  28. I have been winterizing my Portland, Oregon home for “The Big Hunker” this year. With this embroidery book and a cup of tea in front of the fire I will feel truly prepared.

  29. The skirt on the cover made me catch my breath. I would love to be able to make something like that… or transform clothes I already have. If I could learn to embroider half as beautifully as in the examples… Wow! The style really strikes a chord with me. I’m gonna have to get this book!

  30. My friend got this and I was super jealous, mostly because I have gotten into the habit of making pillow cases with embroidery on them for every wedding I go to. Some of the designs would be great for future couples. Plus, I think the designs are classic. I’ve seen some embroidery designs that look very dated. In fact, that seems to happen with most designs. But in this book, the look is slightly Eurpoean at times. It would be a book I would use for the rest of my life, I think!

  31. My grandma used to embroider pillowcases for us. I thought they were outdated. Then I touched one again after years of it sitting folded in a drawer. I want to make the skirt on the cover for my daughter and to embroider pieces I am making for her. No longer do I see this as old–but as artistic and a great way to show her how much I love her.

  32. I adore Alicia’s blog and as a fellow portlander, i would love a book of beautiful embroidery projects to work on when we are holed up in the rain this winter. I think my daughter would love to start some simple projects and this book would be an excellent jumping off place! Thanks.

  33. I’ve taught myself how to embroider but I’ve only done towels. I have stitched across every towel in our house that can take it. I stitch almost every night over a cup of tea and Sherlock Holmes episodes on the Netflix. I love my beautiful towels, but perhaps it’s time to move onto other things? I’m on my last towel and I would love to go through this book for inspiration on new projects. If I win I shall put the information to good use.

  34. I’ve been dying to learn hand embroidery so I can incorporate it into my quilting and home decor. It’s so pretty, but I’ve never done anything like it, so this book would be super helpful.

  35. I’d love to try my hand at embroidery, and this book looks like the perfect way to get started.

  36. My great-grandmother was the crafty one of the family and whenever I think of embroidery, I think of her dishtowels. I am giddy when I find a flour sack towel with embroidery in the corner detailing what day it’s to be used for.
    This book would help motivate me to follow in her footsteps and pay more attention to my embroidery skills.

  37. i love embroidery but i feel like i don’t have the good ideas to use it…with thise book, it would be OK !

  38. I just started embroidering and have developed serious thread madness. I have lots of little pieces of fabric with half-embroidered things on them, but nothing amazing. I definitely need to hone my craft and start creating useful items! This book would be perfect for that.

  39. I embroider teatowels like my grandmothers and great-aunties used to…and am always looking for inspiration!

  40. I would love to have this embroidery book. I have Alison’s book, and have made the sweet rag doll…would like to embroider some clothes for her. It looks so inspiring!

  41. I’m attempting to learn to sew, and because I’m me, embroidery is part of that. I can do a little, but I’d love something like this to really get me going.

  42. What a good time of year to cozy up with some handwork! And Monday is my birthday (48) – just saying… Thanks for the chance!

  43. I am just learning to embroider/cross stitch and I would love inspiration as I turn away from pre-packaged kits and toward more creative endeavors in my new fav hobby!

  44. Alicia’s work is gorgeous and I could really use an activity that would give me some quiet, blood-pressure-lowering time to myself!

  45. My mother taught me the beginnings of embroidery when I was 6. That was the year I had the mumps, the chicken pox and strep, one after another. I was SO bored! I’ve been embroidering off and on ever since and am always looking for new ideas and inspiration.

  46. I don’t have any embroidery books and my mom and I want to get into embroidery. For her it would be a return and me it would just be a start. I love Alicia Paulson’s blog and would love this book to share with my Mom.

  47. My Mother and I want to get into embroidery. For her it would be a return and for me a total start. I love Alicia Paulson’s blog and would love this book to share with my Mom!

  48. For inspiration, of course. I regularly post free embroidery patterns to my blog, but lately I haven’t been able to get myself excited about embroidering them myself- I’m in need of something inspiring!

  49. I embroider all the time and am always looking for new books. Plus I just became a grad student and can not afford little luxuries right now, so winning something would be awesome.

  50. What a great embroidery book! It is super cute also. My daughter wants to learn to sew–what a great book to give her examples of what we can make.

  51. I love Alicia’s sentiments about the calming effects of stitching. I have experienced it before but hadn’t really focused on it. I would love to have a new source of ideas and techniques for adding to my projects . . . . and another excuse to sit and stitch and listen to a good audio book is never a bad thing :)

  52. I love all of Paulson’s designs. I’m an embroidery novice and would love this book to kick me into gear!

  53. My Mother and I want to get into embroidery. For her it would be a return and for me a total start. I love Alicia Paulson’s blog and would love this book to share with my Mom!

  54. What a lovely looking book. Not only is embroidery therapeutic it’s also easy to bring along anywhere. Therapy on the go!:)

  55. This past year I have returned to embroidery, after a many year hiatus. I have a couple of “stitch encyclopedia” style books, but would love to have one with actual project ideas! I might spend more time stitching, and less trolling the internet looking for pattern ideas… :^)

  56. i love these patterns! don’t get me wrong, i love sublime stitching, but i have been looking for some lovely patterns that were less subversive, but not quite my grandmother’s embroidery patterns…!

  57. Because I just returned home to Canada after spending two years in the South Pacific. I would love to embroider some memories to send to my friends as Christmas presents!

  58. My stepmother and I share two passions: antique linens and drunk Yahtzee. I’ve had a vision of a tea towel drawing upon these two passions that, lacking the skill, I have yet to realize for two holiday seasons in a row. Make this be the year that the “Anyone for Yahtzee?” towel finds its way under the tree!

  59. i’m always looking for new cross-stitch designs and projects–they’re hard to find!–and i think this would be an excellent addition to my stitching book collection. thanks for the chance!

  60. I’m a beginner at embroidery and would appreciate adding Alicia’s book to my stitching arsenal. I visit her blog frequently for lots of inspiration…from her craft studio to her baking techniques..to whatever current project she generously shares, she is amazing and I would LOVE to win her book..thanks!

  61. I’d love to read this, as I also use embroidery during my ‘recovery time.’ I have a chronic illness, and whenever it’s not affecting my hands, I am embroidering!

  62. I want some of that sweet peace that comes with doing embroidery. The book would give me inspiration and an avenue to what you speak of in your interview. Awesome!!

  63. wow I would love to have this book! I love inspiration from everywhere, especially pretty books. I haven’t embroidered anything in a long time. I need to get going on that craft. So much to do and so little time! Wish I could just craft all day long. So envious of those that do!

  64. I learned to embroider as a child and use it to calm my mind and fill my days of early retirement for medical reasons. This book with its lovely patterns is just what I’ve been looking for.

  65. This cover is sure eye candy! I love embroidery and I want this book. I can already tell that I will connect with this book, because embroidery for me is also a physical experience. It’s a process of relaxation and creativity of the, “physical being.”
    I’ve been embroidering for about a year now and I need some help learning new stitches. I definitely need an “embroidery companion.”

  66. I’ve recently rediscovered how enjoyable embroidery can be and LOVE it for making gifts for my 10 nieces and nephews (the girls are getting pillowcase dresses this winter). I’d LOVE new ideas!

  67. Embroidery is not only fun and versatile, it can be done anywhere and requires little in the way of special equipment. My mom is a whiz at it, and I would really like to get started trying my hand at it. This book would really be the inspiration and teaching I need.

  68. Not only is embroidery fun and versatile, it is totally portable and requires little in the way of special equipment. You can transform practically anything you own with embroidered embellishments. However, I really need to spruce up my skills. I’m sure this book would provide the instruction and inspiration I need.

  69. When my clothes have a rip, stain or tear, I use embroidery to fix them. It’s the most beautiful way to fix a problem. It also renews the garment and has saved a few from the Goodwill bin!

  70. When my clothes have a rip, tear or stain, I use embroidery to repair them. It’s the most beautiful way to fix them. Plus, it renews the garment and has saved a lot of them from getting put in the Goodwill pile. I’d love to use this book for inspiration.

  71. Embroidery was the first craft that I fell in love with. My Mom taught me everything that I know when I was about 14. I am currently working on a wall hanging, this book would be incredible for inspiration!

  72. I love embroidery as a young girl. The cover of this book is beautiful, I would love to learn how to do this again.

  73. I love Alicia Paulson and embroidery! I have been dying to get this book. I just got over 200 skeins of thread from my grandmother and this book would give me some inspiration to start using it.

  74. I would love to win this book. I just got 200 skeins of thread from my grandmother and this book would definitely give the motivation to start using it!

  75. I love embroidering. This book looks absolutely beautiful! i would love to add it to my “library.” Thanks for the chance to win.

  76. I would love to win this book. Currently I am recovering from a back injury and embroidery would be an excellent way to pass the time.

  77. That I need to make that skirt on the cover and that hair handkerchief!! I’m just getting into embroidery and loving it!

  78. Embroidery is the one of the only crafts with which I have not gotten bored. I would love this book because I am a poor, bo-ho freelance writer.

  79. I taught myself to embroider in the seventies when my favorite pair of jeans would wear out. Through the ages I have learned counted cross, silk ribbon embroidery and many skills in between.
    The patterns remind me of something my grandmother would have made for her kitchen.
    I am always looking for new ideas and this book would fill the bill…Thanks

  80. The excerpt from the book about the physical, emotional and mental benefits of crafting really struck a chord with me. I left my job in May, and have been working odd jobs all summer, barely getting by. This stress is compounded by the fact that my partner’s job is ending in mid-October. While I’m searching for the next path to take, I’m also crafting, working through my stress, anxiety, and fear. (I even started (though haven’t written in awhile) a blog on these emotional and mental (and sometimes physical) benefits of crafting.
    And if that weren’t enough, the projects featured are so my style, and right up my alley. The skirt is to-die-for, and I can just imagine the embroidery on the pillow winding its way up an old plain gray dress of mine. Talk about breathing new life into something!

  81. Gorgeous. I am an avid follower of Alicia’s blog and a fan of her art. But I am new to embroidery, and could sure use some good tips, especially on how to create different stitches. Of course, her patterns are simply lovely. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  82. I’d be an embroidering MACHINE with this book. Pillows? Check! Shirts? Check! Boyfriends underwear? DOUBLE CHECK!!

  83. I lost my friend and his family of four last week and I could use a happy! I love pouring through new books and soaking it all up before choosing a project. It’s therapeutic!

  84. Hi there! Thank you for this generous give-a-way. I repurpose soft cotton sweaters into baby hats and embroider on them. I am ready for something new!
    Amy in Sebastopol

  85. i have just fallen in love again with embroidery. I now want to embroider everything that I see. I love the embroidery of the pillow. Thank you so much for offering this book!

  86. I have such a huge collection of embroidery floss from my childhood days making friendship bracelets. while making bracelets can always be a part of my life, I would love to learn a new skill that utilizes this material. With Paulson’s book I could learn how to colorful embroidered gifts for all of my bffs!

  87. I just started doing embroidery and would like some extra help and instructions for how to do it better. This book looks like the perfect tool to help me out. I’ve been practicing making tea towels for gifts for family, but would like to get better so that I can embellish my off-the-rack dress for our June wedding.

  88. I lost my mom to cancer about one month ago. Since then, I have been sewing constantly. It’s helping me so much, helping soothe the pain. My mom sewed, and it’s like I can somehow be closer to her. I want to learn to embroider, so that I can be crafting while with my dad and Sister as they watch tv. So, I would LOVE to win this book.

  89. Just found out my hands don’t mind embroidering any more. They used to cramp up as soon as I attempted hand sewing of any kind. I’d love to do something more modern while re-learning. The designs in this book are fabulous!

  90. I would love to be an evangelist for this book and tell everyone I know where the projects come from and why I made them (simple, beautiful, fun).

  91. I have my own little ministry, Operation Superhero, where I make capes for chronically ill children who spend a great deal of time in the hospital. I was first inspired by my best friend’s little daughter, Judah, who underwent emergency surgery and had to spend a few weeks in the hospital. I made her a cape, which inadvertently covered over the opening her hospital gown left down her back. Her mama said it was a great way to encourage Judah to go on her walks to prevent pneumonia. The nurses all thought the capes an excellent morale booster and thought the maker of the capes should market them for hospital gift stores. However, through friends and family I learn of children in need of a cape, receive donations of fabric then I sew them and send them off. ALL FREE. These families face enough expense and hardship, a little cape to cheer the arduous task of a hospital visit is but a little offering, but we gladly give it. With this book, I could learn to embroider and make better use of the fabric donations given me. I could liven up the duller materials, and personalize a cape adding that special touch!

  92. I have been eyeing this book at the store and would love to have it! I’ve been embroidering for several years, but there’s still much more to learn. I think this book will help me do just that. :)

  93. I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on this book ever since it was announced on Posie Gets Cozy.

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