Some of you may recall the butterfly embroidery in long and short stitch that I started last summer. The more I looked at it here on my blog, the less happy I became, so I figured it was time to call in the expert! I bought these two books from Trish Burr:
The first one is Needle Painting Embroidery, Fresh Ideas for Beginners (Sally Milner Publishing, 2011). The second is Long and Short Stitch Embroidery, A Collection of Flowers (Sally Milner Publishing, 2006). Although they were not published in this order, this is the order I recommend you buy and read them in.
Once I started to read, I immediately saw where I had been going wrong on the butterfly. Although it is called "long and short stitch," there are in fact no short stitches in the technique. My mistake! In her books Burr does something that is really genius, and which for me was totally the missing link. All her photos and patterns are the same size that they will be in real life:
So you can see exactly how long your stitches should be, how close they should be, and how they will blend together. The 2011 book has several little practice petals and leaves that you can do to perfect your technique. It also has a number of projects, organized in three levels of difficulty. The Little Bee Eater, which Burr recently taught in an online class, is one of the projects in this book.
The 2006 book is more advanced, and goes into more detail on shading and choosing colours.
This book also has scale photos of the projects to go with the patterns. Surprisingly, there is not that much overlap between the two books. All the projects are different, and the 2006 book focuses more on colour, while the 2011 book looks more at technique. Although obviously, those things cannot be entirely separated! I think you would do fine with either one, but personally, I am glad I bought them both. My long and short stitch has already improved!