Each week throughout the summer we’ll hear from a designer about a pattern or book that caused them to head in a new direction and helped form their career. This is the fifth post in the series. You can read all of them right here.
Cintia Gonzalez describes herself as an all-around crafter. She’s the author of the popular Australian craft blog, My Poppet, where she publishes a steady flow of original, beautiful, and fun tutorials for everything from braided t-shirt rugs to cross stitched chairs to woven yarn bangle bracelets. Cintia has a colorful, vintage-inspired style and she often incorporates upcycled elements into her projects. I love Cintia’s blog and I’m thrilled to have her as my guest today to share the pattern (or, in this case, craft book) that changed her life.
The book that changed my life is a reference book called Readers’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft. It is an amazing tome that explains every possible stitch, technique and process you’d ever need to know when it comes to needlecraft. I’m talking embroidery, crochet, knitting, macrame, tatting, rug making, quilting, appliqué…and the list just goes on. It was my mother’s book and I loved it.
As a girl I would spend hours pouring over the pages and studying the illustrated step by step instructions for the embroidery stitches and other crafts. I was especially drawn to the sections on design and creating your own work, choosing colours and finishing projects for practical use.
Later when I moved out of home, I asked my mother if I could have it. She said no, of course, and there was a little crafty hole in my heart that I thought would never be filled. The book is out of print and as hard as I looked I never found a copy of my own, until…one day I went to a craft meet up where the idea was to bring along unwanted craft supplies for a swap. The supplies were wrapped up and all put in a box like a lucky dip. I chose a big heavy parcel and to my delight it was the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft. It was meant to be!
I think this book has had a huge impact on me since my childhood. It not only taught me specific skills but has helped me understand how to make things without having patterns because I understand the fundamentals of the processes involved. As a reference I still use it all the time to refresh my memory for a stitch or technique I haven’t used in a while or want to learn, as well as to find inspiration when I am looking to create a new project for myself or the blog.
A sampling of some of Cintia’s projects. Her skills are eclectic and you can see how she applies the various techniques from her life-changing book in each one.
Once you understand the foundation of how something is made, there is a million ways to reinterpret it to make an original piece or design.
If I could only ever have one craft book, this would be it.
My daughter Emma who is five, now enjoys looking though the book too. I think I’ll need to keep an eye out for another copy as I don’t think I’ll be able to let go of mine when she gets older.
The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft was the craft book that changed Cintia Gonzalez’s life.
What’s book changed yours?