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A Perfect World in Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork by Di Van Niekerk

  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 01 August 2018
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781844482313
  • Stock: 50+
  • Carton Qty: N/A
  • Size: 194x265 mm
  • Illustrations: 200
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP Price: £14.99
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Packed with ideas and techniques, this book will appeal not only to embroiderery enthusiasts, but to all crafters. Included throughout are innovative ideas for combining ribbon embroidery and stumpwork with other crafts to create unique and special projects. The magnificent sampler includes 60 different elements: flowers and creatures from all over the world, many of them never embroidered before.

With step by step instructions are accompanied by clear photographs, this lavishly illustrated book is an ideal learning tool for beginner embroiderers, yet offers more advanced embroiderers several new and exciting techniques. No creative embroiderer will want to be without this truly beautiful book.

Previously published as A Perfect World in Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork. Di van Nierkerk has sold over 91,880 copies of her English language editions worldwide excluding South Africa.

Table of Contents


What you need

Ribbon embroidery


Appliqué perse

Printing the appliqué shapes

Before you start

Embroidering the sampler

Application in other crafts

Completed designs in full colour

Watercolour designs in full colour

Line drawing


About Di Van Niekerk

An artistically inclined mother and a keen interest in all things beautiful got Di van Niekerk off to an early start as an embroiderer. Her love for this discipline soon became her livelihood and starting an embroidery business was just another natural progression for this talented crafter. She opened her first shop in the Natal Midlands and when the family decided to uproot and move to Johannesburg, along went the business. After four years of running one of Johannesburg's most successful embroidery shops, the family's urge to settle in Cape Town became too strong to ignore. Di now lives in the Mother City of South Africa where she runs two successful embroidery shops. The end product of her latest interest, hand painting her own range of silk and organza ribbons for embroidery, is marketed to retail outlets worldwide. Visit her website


Sew Region Magazine

This beautiful book with 17 illustrated panels each starting with their own inspirational introduction is a delight and entices the reader to delve further. They give an informative background to new ideas and techniques that will appeal not only to all embroiderers, but also to cross-over quilters. Each project is achievable for the novice and the more experienced alike.

The original watercolour design is by South African botanical artist Verde. There are instructions for over sixty elements ranging from tiny creatures to beautiful plants from all over the world. These are featured with understandable directions which, when reading, almost feels like a conversation with the author. This is a lovely book in which to lose yourself.

We might not live in a perfect world, but we can at least create one with this book! The world here is a beautiful seventeen panel sampler to display on your wall, giving you a perfect opportunity to practice and refine your embroidery skills.

This is another stunning book by talented embroiderer Di van Niekerk which shows not only how wonderful embroidery can look, but how much fun it can be. Turn to the back and you will find the watercolor picture which needs to be enlarged, and then transferred to cloth. Instructions for doing this are given, or you can buy a pre-printed cloth from the authors website if your country has a store that stocks it. As with pretty much all of this authors work it would be pretty daunting for a total beginner, but anybody with some experience will be able to make a decent job of it. Partly this is because a lot of it is easier than it looks, but mostly this is due to the excellent instructions and diagrams. Before the project there is a wealth of useful information about transferring, tips on what to buy and how to tackle various aspects of the work, but most of what you need to know can be found in each of the panel chapters. There are seventeen of these, each organized by dealing with each item in the panel separately. This typically consists of a mixture of about four flowers and creatures, each described briefly with a list of what you need to buy and the stitches used. Staged instructions feature small detailed photographs and if you need to refresh your memory or learn a new stitch turn to the back for some clear diagrams. The designs are mostly worked in chameleon threads and hand dyed silk ribbons plus a few seed beads, giving the work a lovely and lifelike look, rather like a botanical painting. Included too is a chart showing how you can use the panels in various other crafts and which ones would be suitable. There is a wide range of choices from decorating a teddy bear to adorning a wedding dress. The book finishes with a chapter on finishing the sampler, and then you just stand back and wait for the admiring remarks. Another lovely book for the keeper shelf.

West Country Embroiderers

Newsletter 65, Summer 2007

A really fascinating book combining both old and new embroidery techniques. The flower designs are lovely and the animal and insect examples are very original. The working instructions are clear and fully detailed with plenty of working diagrams to help even the beginner in this field of embroidery.

Barbara Hector, St. Stephens-on-Brannel

New Stitches Magazine

March 07

There is something very magical about creating life-like and three dimensional images with a needle and thread. The effects that can be achieved are absolutely breathtaking and leave many who have not tried Stumpwork or Ribbon embroidery totally in awe. The secret is to take one tiny motif at a time to develop confidence and with this technique a little motif goes a long way.

This book features a wonderful sampler of flowers, insects and animals within a lattice framework of seventeen panels. Overall there are sixty different elements to the design all of which can be worked individually or put together in your own combination to create smaller projects. For example just one of the flowers could be made up as a card, added to a hand-made box or trinket pot or any other accessory.

The design is based on a watercolour painting by South African botanical artist Verde. The author recommends that this is printed on to the fabric and the stitches worked over the top leaving the background tints and shading to show through. There are various means of doing this described in the book and there are templates and images provided for you to do this or choose to use more traditional methods.

To recreate the flowers a combination of Ribbon embroidery and Stumpwork is used to produce great results. There are new ideas for working insect wings and flowers with many helpful shortcuts. As there are many more products available today that can make Stumpwork easier and less traumatic to stitch, these methods are also included. Look out for many clever ideas such as covering seed beads with ribbon to make cup-shaped flowers and tips such as repairing an accidentally snipped edge with clear nail varnish.

The sampler is broken down into panels and these in turn are approached element by element to complete it. These stages are explained step by step and illustrated with extremely clear close-up colour photographs. There is a glossary at the back of the book where there are diagrams for each of the stitches used and each panel has a comprehensive materials listing for the threads and ribbons required.

Although there is a South African slant to the plants and wildlife, the vast majority are universal including freesias, corn poppies, bluebells, roxes, phlox, bulrushes, daisies and many, many more. Of the creatures featured in the sampler, there are butterflies, a beetle, bee, dragonfly and even termites!


Issue 45

This is a stunning book. One of those books that when you open it you think you've died and gone to heaven. The front cover doesn't give too much away, it's only when you actually open the book and start to read on that you realise it is just overflowing with new ideas and techniques for ribbon embroidery and stumpwork enthusiasts. Each chapter covers one panel which can be completed on its own for smaller projects or combined with the other 16 panels to create a magnificent finished sampler piece. Quilters may want to use a single element, for example one of the beautiful flower or butterfly designs to make their quilt unique. Clear colour photographs, step-by-step diagrams and instructions and a clear stitch gallery offer great guidance for beginners. There are also lots of great ideas for the more advanced embroiderer.

Merseyside Embroiderers Guild

Oct 06

Di van Niekirk, the author of this lavishly illustrated book, has produced an inspiring collection of beautifully illustrated embroideries based on the natural forms she observes in her native South Africa. Her book is based on the tradition of three dimensional work we are familiar with from Stuart times, but updated to include ribbon work and stitchery giving a rich raised surface. There are 17 panels to be stitched, based on beautiful watercolour paintings by the artist Verde. Carefully laid out and informative instructions enable beginners as well as acomplished stitchers to achieve satisfying results. The techniques used could then be developed by experienced stitchers to their own designs. This book would give inspiration to all levels of ability.

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