Friday, November 13, 2015

The Stitching Hour ~ review and guest post by author Amanda Lee

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I would love to welcome Amanda Lee to WV Stitcher she is guest posting today !

Embroidery – Good Enough to Appreciate Real Talent
I love to embroider. The little porcupine there on the left was done from a pattern I ordered from Follow The White Bunny (she has an Etsy shop). I transferred the design to a canvas tote and carefully stitched the little guy rowing downstream in his teacup. Once I finished the tote, I refused to carry it because I didn’t want to get it dirty or risk tearing out any of the stitches. The tote sits on a bookshelf.

Another project I’m particularly proud of is my angel tree-topper. I can’t remember where I got the kit for her, but I bought her because the angel we’d used for years had begun falling apart the Christmas before and I couldn’t find a suitable replacement. So I found this one and worked on it on the weekends as I watched The Bionic Woman on Netflix. (I was doing that in the bedroom as my husband and son watched football games in the living room.) And, together, Jaime Sommers and I got the job done. JThere was a lot of metallic thread used in the pattern, so I sometimes had to use my “bionic” strength to pull it through!

I also enjoyed making this redwork pillowcase. The thing about redwork is that you don’t have to constantly change thread colors. For me, that’s nice because I can concentrate solely on the pattern rather than trying to figure out how many spaces I need to leave for the next color, as I do with cross-stitch. I finally learned—thanks to researching one of the embroidery mystery books—that most cross-stitchers work with several colors of thread at the same time. That’s a really neat idea, and I intend to give it a try the next time I’m working on a more complicated project.
With all that said, I can honestly say I embroider well enough to truly appreciate those who do a fantastic job. I once began the ambitious task of making a cross-stitch picture of a herd of horses racing out of the ocean toward the shore. I planned to give it to my husband as a gift. Not terribly far into the project, I realized I needed to get him something else. The unfinished project is, I believe, in a tote in my closet. L
In studying various forms of embroidery for the Marcy Singer books, I’ve been so impressed with the stunning projects I’ve seen. For instance, Japanese embroidery involves forty-six techniques, and I believe the pattern is the same on the back as it is on the front. I’ve discovered embroidered projects that look like oil paintings. And, I’ve become a student. Through Craftsy, I’m taking ribbon embroidery and crewel classes.
I’ve also seen wonderful projects from readers. One reader from the Netherlands sent me this photo of the Irish Wolfhound her husband cross-stitched using the pattern from my site. Isn’t that terrific? I have to say that after I made that pattern, I looked at it and immediately knew I didn’t have the skill to complete it. I’m glad Louis did!
And I couldn’t end this article without sharing the Stitchy Witch my friend Donna sent to congratulate me on the release of Wicked Stitch. Not only is it adorable, but Donna really showed me the importance of adding your own flair to finishing a piece. Look at how beautifully the ribbon hanger and bow accent the piece.
So when readers ask me if I do embroidery, I guess my best answer is, “I dabble.” And, as I pointed out in the title of this post, I’m good enough to really appreciate the experts.


cover stitching hour
The Stitching Hour:
An Embroidery Mystery

Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Publisher: NAL (November 3, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473844

In the latest mystery from the bestselling author of Wicked Stitch, the future of Marcy Singer’s embroidery shop is dangling by a thread…
Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, is one year old this October so it’s time to party in little Tallulah Falls, Oregon. Aside from the Halloween decorations and festive stitching kits and patterns, Marcy’s got all sorts of celebratory swag, including Seven-Year Stitch key rings and goodie bags.
Unfortunately, her new neighbors might spoil the revelry. An eccentric couple has opened a haunted house next door, and all that screaming will certainly scare off customers. But there’s even more to be frightened of after a local waitress is found dead on the sidewalk with mysterious markings on her neck—and one of Marcy’s key rings beneath her. With no time to hem and haw, Marcy must act fast if she hopes to restore the peace to Tallulah Falls…

My take on this book:
I am always drawn to an eye catching cover and The Stitching Hour provided one that I couldn't resist, and while the cover was great, it was the mystery that I found within the pages of the story that held my attention because the story involves embroidery, something that I enjoy doing. Truthfully though, I also enjoyed that the story takes place during Halloween! The plot is easy to follow with this one, but figuring out who-dun-it sure wasn't easy to figure out. I enjoyed following along with Marcy, but it was the scenes with her dog that I really enjoyed.  I am not sure how I missed the rest of this series, but thankfully the author provides enough background information that it was easy for me to jump right into the story, although I enjoyed it so much that I have plans on going back to read the entire series.  Anyone who enjoys a not so easy to solve mystery with interesting characters, and a fast moving plot will enjoy this one. The Stitching Hour is actually book 9 in the Embroidery Mystery series, but can easily be read as a stand alone, although be warned once you read this one you will want to read the rest of the series.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Amanda LeeAbout This Author
Gayle Trent (and pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series and the Embroidery Mystery series. The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop.
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Tour Participants
November 3 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review
November 4 – Laura’s Interests – Review
November 5 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
November 6 – Tea and A Book – Review, Guest Post
November 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Guest Post
November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
November 8 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post
November 9 – fuonlyknew – Review
November 11 – readalot – Review
November 12 – View from the Birdhouse – Review
November 13 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
November 13 – Bubble Bath Books – Review
November 14 – WV Stitcher – Review, Guest Post
November 15 – Book Babble – Review
November 16 – Back Porchervations – Review
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  1. Thanks Brenda and Amanda/Gayle. I really need to "dabble" more in embroidery. My passions these days, though, is reading cozy mysteries. :)

  2. I think you are much better than a dabbler. I find it to be a relaxing hobby.
    I have not tried redwork yet, but I have several patttern books.

    Loved this book and the great characters in this small town.


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