Embroidery for Personal Empowerment
and Magical Embellishment
by Christi Johnson
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
First things first- this book is amazing! It was an absolutely perfect book for me, and I am lucky that I was able to review it. It has everything you need- clear instructions, amazing tips, patterns, sketches and a lot of inspiration. I reviewed this book digitally, and enjoyed it so much I bought the hardcover as I know I will be referencing it many times in my crafting journey. I could tell right away that a lot of time and effort went into this book with the creative layouts, colourful pages and the fact that the images rely on photographs rather than photoshop, which means the author took the time to make this book filled with her work.
The forward in this book gives some nice details about the author and her life as a “stitchery witch”, which is a term I have grown to love. It makes embroidery more than just a craft, it makes it a lifestyle. I have always found stitching, or crafting of any type very soothing, but with Mystical Stitches it delves into that more and focuses on meditation as well. You set an intention and look at the symbols and the power they hold. She goes over talismans and how embroidery can slow down your brain and create a meditative state and she even gives some wonderful examples on how to get into the right mind set, so if meditation is something new to you-there is some assistance.
Christi goes over the materials you will need for this. I already had everything as I do cross stitch, but I wanted to add some nice touches to an existing jacket I already owned. She goes over a lot of hints and various methods for even something like transferring your image to the fabric. Personally, I took some inspiration from the images she provides in this book, then free handed the symbols I chose onto my jacket with a chalk pencil.
Now, as I mentioned before, I do cross stitch and embroidery is a newer field for me, so chapter 3 was critical for me. This chapter goes over all the various stitch methods. I tried out a few while doing this review, but will be learning more as I feel more confident in my work- which with this book, I know I will continue to embroider and make some bigger projects.
A chapter I really enjoyed, and reviewed a few times was the fourth- all about the “treasury of symbols”. It contains symbols in geometric forms, platonic solids, numbers, planetary magic, zodiac signs, animalia, botanica, forces of nature, human forms, and our tools. There were so many wonderful options for someone to choose from. Each symbol has a description of what it means, so if you are drawn into something you can read into it and make sure it is what you need.
The following chapter takes your information from previous chapters and brings it together to help with your colour palette and composition for stitching a talisman and gives some examples of ones you can use. The examples suggest which colours to use, what stitches to use and which symbols you will be using and does this with step by step instructions. I know I will be making some talismans. I wanted to start smaller to get the hang of embroidery, but now that I have this to use, I will be brightening up my closet with a number of these stitches and symbols.
Chapter 6 is all about “The Art of Ritual” where you can set your intention to bring ritual to the embroidery you are stitching, about to stitch or have already stitched. There are some ways to build your altar, charging talismans and creating your space. After this, Christi talks about developing a creative ritual and ways to be kind to your body- even giving some relaxing yoga exercises and stretches. The last chapter is the stitch key- which is extremely useful. It breaks everything down, shows you which stitches in each symbol and gives all the patterns you need.
I think that this book would be an amazing addition to anyone’s library who wants to focus on self care. It is great for experienced or new crafters, as it is filled with everything you need to get you started. It was well put together, filled with valuable information and was a pure joy to read.
As stated above, I tried out some smaller items on a jacket I have. I started with a pocket and did some neon yellow stars using the star stitch. I then took a neon orange and tried out the blanket stitch around the edge of the pocket flap. I really liked the look of this. After getting a feel for embroidery, I moved onto adding some small symbols. I did an orange spiral trying out the split stitch, and learned I really like how that looks, so I added some white lines coming out using the same stitch. After that, I added a small lightning bolt in yellow using a satin stitch, then outlined it using the backstitch- it wasn’t the prettiest, but I still really enjoyed it. I made a blue star after that and tried out the stem to satin stitch and again, outlined it backstitching. To finish off the pocket, I put an outline of a moon and added a slight purple background.
Once I had tried out some basic items, I moved on to try out one of the patterns and used the suggested symbols and stitches. So, I went with what she had for Sagittarius. I changed the colours and had to adjust a few small things to correct some small mistakes, and added a nice gold metallic thread instead of the normal embroidery thread, but I really love how it turned out.
I took some time and wore the jacket out under a full moon and felt energized and cleansed. After adding these small touches I know I will be adding more and am now slightly hooked on this book and will be recommending it to others. It’s an excellent book and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to review this.
About the Author:
Merry meet! I’m Jazz and I’m a Canadian oddball. I love roller derby, kickboxing, spending time with my dog and husband & love all things art, craft and pagan!
I was raised by a Roman Catholic family but discovered Buddhism, then Paganism while in elementary school and have followed the Pagan path ever since.
My main deity is Gaia as she approached me in a dream and I feel a very strong connection to her.
I love working with runes and absorbing knowledge and working on my never ending book of shadows.
I have always been drawn to the arts & have done many crafts and randomness for as long as I can remember. I find it peaceful and it helps settle my mind. I enjoy drawing, painting, cross stitching, doll making, jewelry making and more! I hope to spread my love and passions with others and put as much positivity in the world as possible.