cover image Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery

Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery

Leanne Prain. Arsenal Pulp Press, $29.95 trade paper (408p) ISBN 978-1-55152-406-1

Duckies in puddles and Southern belles with crocheted skirts%E2%80%94don't look for them here. You expect these designs on tea towels and pillowslips, but Hoopla is about "unexpected" embroidery: U.S. Army-issue drop cloths, aprons with knife and fork as crossbones beneath a skull, and Canadiana with maple leaves for fig leaves. Prain (co-author of Yarn Bombing) offers out-of-the-ordinary designs, starched with humor. As Betsy Greer writes in the foreword, "Embroidery allows us to be silent but not subservient." Informative and inspirational interviews with embroiderers, such as Liz Kueneke, Ray Materson, and Tumim & Prendergast, prove they don't sew like their grannies. But Grandmother would approve of the practical sections -- on history, tools from needles to the humble thimble, types of embroidery, and finishing techniques. Prain includes resources; relevant blogs become stitching bees. The projects range from Allison Tunis' "Bosom Buddies," using 35 different colors of skeins, to Joanne Arnett's modern cuckoo clock. Directions for all projects are clear and helpful, with lists of tools, materials and required skills set off and highlighted. Full-color throughout. (Oct.)