Hoopla: the art of unexpected embroidery


Hoopla: the art of unexpected embroidery by Leanne Prain is a gorgeous, hefty tome of an embroidery book. Featuring both projects and in depth interviews of some real embroidery heroes of mine, such as Jenny Hart, Jamie Chalmers (Mr X Stitch), Cate Anevski and Penny Nickels, amongst many great, great artists and ummm me!



My name is spelt wrong lol in all bar the author bio box (it’s Stafferton not Safferton) but I really don’t mind, I am just so chuffed to be in this book and totally humbled to be in a book with so many, like I say, heroes of mine. And all the patterns are so cool with some really cool street art style pieces, I’d be getting this book whether I was in it or not!

My project is the microbe hankie, it seems so long since I stitched this one up (and it is really, takes a long time to make a book). I’d got the idea because (as an ex-biologist with a Masters in Microbiology), I’d been wanting to stitch up some microbes for a while and one day, whilst walking down the road after dropping Girl Lacer off at a party, it hit me that the perfect place to stitch microbes on would be of course a hankie! In the book there’s the patterns for four different microbes and instructions on how to sew up your embroidery into a simple hankie. (Really impressed with the hankie model – Adam Farnsworth, a musician / songwriter, to 😉 )

Projects from Hoopla that are on my definite to stitch list include the Wide-Ruled Scrawl (a cool ‘doodle in class’ type embroidery) from Amy Adoyzie, Photo Feelism (stitching on photos) from Siobhan Long, the metro card pouch (a cross stitch New York metro card) from Erin Stanton, The “Always Prepared” Pouch (a first aid cross stitch pouch) also from Erin Stanton, Paulo and Stella (cojoined twins fighting over what to have for dinner) by Esther Oh (which looks great on the bag it’s stitched on in the photos), One Mutant to Another (a mutant girl) from Cate Anevski, All Good in the ‘Hood (a very ambitious looking embroidered and appliqued blanket), a hip hop record player needlepoint piece by Jennifer Baker, vintage table linens embroidered with flies and spiders (cool) by Sarah Terry, Ransom Note Pillow by Ellen Schinderman, Obsessive Beautification, a brilliant piece on the pressures to be beautiful, by Amanda Bowles, the All Aflutter Necklace (a beautiful feather necklace) by Karyn Fraser and Bite the Hand The Feeds You, a beautiful, beautiful cross stitch / freehand embroidery piece of a partly floral bull by Rosa Martyn. As you can see quite a list (and it doesn’t nearly cover how many brilliant projects are in this book), just that list will keep me busy for quite some time!

Reading all the brilliant interviews will keep me busy to, there’s lots of artists I already recognise through the work appearing in places such as Flickr, Feeling Stitchy and Mr. X Stitch’s blog but plenty of other artists I hadn’t seen before and I look forward to being able to settle down to read more about them and admire the fantastic photos. I particularly like the look of Sherri Lynn Wood’s tattooed baby dolls, Tumin & Prendergast’s embroidered life size chocolate wrappers, Johnny Murder’s portraits, both Liz Kueneke, Annie Coggan Crawford and Krista Muir’s map work, Iviva Olenick’s diarised confessions of her dating life, the animated embroidery of Aubrey Longley-Cook, Eliot M. Henning’s brilliant cross stitching, Takashi Iwasaki’s colourful abstract work, the illustrative embroidery of Esther Oh and the public embroidery of Ulrika Erdes.

All in all though, will somebody pinch me? Still can’t believe I’m in this!


4 thoughts on “Hoopla: the art of unexpected embroidery

    1. Hi! In the UK it’s available online at Amazon and waterstones.com, although last time I looked there’s a bit of a delay in delivery. Not sure if it’s available in real life bookshops here but going by how in the majority useless the craft section is in my local Waterstones, I doubt it. Elsewhere I imagine you can also get it on Amazon and hopefully in bookshops with far cooler craft sections than my local one!

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