Review: Fill in the Blanks with Machine Embroidery

Fill in the Blanks With Machine Embroidery: Inspiring Projects to Take You Beyond T-shirts & TowelsFill in the Blanks with Machine Embroidery
by Rebecca Kemp Brent

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fill in the Blanks with Machine Embroidery / 978-0-89689-483-9

I may be getting cynical with age, but I can't help but feel that there are far too many niche hobby books out there that were rushed into publication as quickly and shoddily as possible to snare as much money out of hobbyists with as little effort as possible.

Which isn't to say that "Fill in the Blanks" is a *bad* book - it's not really "bad", so much as it's shallow and rushed. Most of the "suggested" fill areas are the pretty standard pick-and-mix of center, corner, and along one side, and that's not really something that a new embroidery enthusiast is going to need help understanding. Indeed, I can't help but feel that "All About Machine Arts" or "Machine Embroidery Room by Room" have far more creative placement ideas for patterns.

In fact, a great deal about this book feels "off" and slightly unprofessional - as if it were written by an amateur. The length is incredibly short (47 pages), the patterns are very small and 'cartoony' and feel much like the cheaper patterns one can find for free online, and the placement is almost always dead-center and rarely repeated. Nearly all the suggested projects are just a single picture of a pre-prepared "blank" bought at a craft store - like a drink mug with an embroidered inset area and you just embroider your little pattern, stick it into the mug and voila! That kind of project feels more like a project for a child than an adult, and frankly I don't want "blanks" that I have to specifically go out and buy at the Blank Store - I want to be inspired to find blanks around my home and work areas to fill in.

Another odd thing about this book is that a good fair portion of the shown embroidery designs in the book are NOT the free embroidery designs included, which is pretty annoying. And of the designs included with the book, most of them are repeats with minor alterations - something that particularly annoys me when two patterns could easily have been one, but with some creative color-stepping through the machine.

All told, this feels more like a magazine than a book, and a cheap one at that. Unless you just really like the embroidery designs shown in my video review, I'd pass on this one.

~ Ana Mardoll

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