Book review: Freestyle Embroidery on Wool by Karin Derland

I think that Swedish artist Karin Derland makes a time-consuming and seemingly tedious craft like embroidery look like so much fun in her new book that I am reviewing today – and we’re also giving away a copy!

Wool Embroidery image from Karin Derland's book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool - book review by iHanna #sweden

I think that Swedish artist Karin Derland makes a time-consuming and seemingly tedious craft like embroidery look like so much fun in her new book on the subject.

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool book cover image Of course I already know that embroidery is fun because I love free-form embroidery and do it all the time. But Karin Derland’s new book (How to Create Your Own Embroidered Wool Appliqué Designs) makes it look accessible to almost everyone with loads of fun for beginners as well as experienced textile artists I think.

Personally, I was a fan of Karin’s textile art before this book came out (after I saw one of her exhibitions a few years ago) and did an interview with her when the book came out in Sweden, and now I get to introduce her book to you guys! Yay!

In the book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool you’ll get to know the material, tools and craft of wool embroidery, but also be immensely inspired by Karin’s own style and many beautiful embroideries sprinkled throughout the well-illustrated book. I love a good craft book by a real artist who has their own unique and quirky style to share, don’t you?

I absolutely love how Karin combines a traditional Swedish craft with the look of modern sayings and expressions! Her big, impressive art pieces (often wall-hangings) have a folk art, kurbits feel to them, but they’re also very modern in a graphic way. And very colorful and happy as well.

Image from Karin Derland's book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool - book review by iHanna #sweden

There are some great instructions and helpful tips to be found in this book, for example you will learn how to make “color choices, how to apply ribbons, mirrors and other accessories, making and using cardboard templates for applique shapes and how to combine different types of threads and stitches for best effect”. You’ll be inspired by and learn to craft embroidered pillows, cushions, cases and other items, and I’m pretty sure you’ll soon be wanting to experiment with creating your own forms and designs to use.

Beginners might want to start by learning some new stitches and seasoned embroiderers can use this book as pure inspiration to get started on their own pieces. For example, there is an illustrated tutorial with sketches on how to sew Shisha, which is the Indian art of adding tiny mirrors to your embroidery.

This style of embroidery especially lends itself to those of us that love colors and bling-bling, over-decorating and glittering everything. It is excessive, fun and easy to fall in love with, at last that’s my opinion.

Image from Karin Derland's book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool - book review by iHanna #sweden

Here are some more example’s from the book:

Wool Embroidery image from Karin Derland's book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool - book review by iHanna #sweden

Image from Karin Derland's book Freestyle Embroidery on Wool - book review by iHanna #sweden

I loved this book when it first came out in Swedish (Brodera fritt på ylle) two years ago, and was inspired by it to create, among other things, a black wool bag for a friend, that was finished recently. My favorite part of this particular style of embroidery is that the applique helps make it quicker to fill an area with color, and sewing into wool is very yummy of course.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about Swedish craft and art books called from Sweden with Love, and since then I’ve been an advocate for Swedish books that gets translated to English, just so I can share some favorites with you guys (or maybe I did that kind of recommendations long before that). Anyway, I simply love it when you can find more than ABBA, IKEA and Spotify internationally!

A note on materials: The author recommends using kläde and vadmal, which are both types of Swedish 100 percent wool fabric of varying weight. They are made from woven fabric that has an even surface and processed (felted) so there is no visible weave. If you want to source out a good equivalent in the US/Canada check out a felted wool fabric such as Melton wool. Hobby felt containing polyester is not suitable according to the book, but I’ve used some of it in my own work because I liked the colors. It all depends on how purist you want to be (and I’m not). ;-)

Freestyle Embroidery on Wool book cover image

** Previous book reviews by iHanna

Giveaway! Win this yummy embroidery book by Swedish artist Karin Derland + book review + postcard swap going right now! Yum!
This giveaway is now closed.

Giveaway – win a copy of the book

Yay! I’m giving away a copy of this beautiful book, with the help of the publisher Pimpernell Press! Anyone who wants to enter is more than welcome, international participants as well of course. Do one or both of the tasks below and you’ll be entered (don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog post too)! Go!

1) Re-post this on instagram or share this image on your Instagram feed or in a blog post, write about the swap and mention the giveaway by tagging me @ihannas and hash-tagging the image #ihannaspostcardswap – and then leave a comment below letting me know where to find it. :-)

Since it’s our 10th anniversary year of the DIY Postcard Swap, I want to let everyone know how fun making mail art is, so please help me spread the word to your friends and followers as well. Click on the image to open it big, save it to your computer or phone, and share it to your instagram feed!

If you’re new to mail art and want to learn more read the rules here: the DIY Postcard Swap and join us! It is going to be so fun!

and/or you can

2) Share the link to this blog post on Twitter or retweet this one (and tag me @ihanna), your Facebook page or in a group on Facebook – and mention the giveaway by tagging @Studio iHanna (you need to follow my Facebook page to tag it, write @studio ihanna and wait for the pop-up menu that reveals my page and choose it to make it a link), write why you want to win this book – and then come back here and leave a quick comment so I know that you’ve entered! Thanks.

Two ways to win the book, do one or both. Then comment below.

Good luck!

One lucky winner will be chosen 25th of October and announced here; Carina Francis congratulations!

I’d love to know if you do any embroidery yourself?

7 Responses

  1. I am really excited about the postcard swap! My first time was Spring 2020 when we all felt a bit lost. It really helped to connect with others all over the world. I am looking forward to more beautiful art this Fall. I am also excited about the giveaway. I love embroidery and have never done free style.
    Thank you for hosting the swap and also for the give away.

  2. I love embroidery! It was the first craft I learned as a kid, and even though I adore all sorts of crafts, embroidery is my first true love. I am trying to find more time for it these days.

  3. I have started embroidery again after many years! This book looks exciting! Thank you for the chance to win !

  4. Hi! I’m Swedish now living in London and I’m trying to find an online uk shop that sells the kind of materials we use in this book. I really appreciate if you can help, thanks!

    • Hej Simone!
      In London you have the beautiful shop (that I will someday visit, only seen it online so far) called Loop, I can’t find wool felt there but they do have a Haberdashery section and maybe if you write and ask, they might be able to help further?

      With a google search I also found Wool Felt Company that seam to be located in the UK.

      Good luck with your embroidery project!

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