Bulgaria in Embroidery by Iren Velichkova-Yamami

We just received Iren Yamami’s new book “Bulgaria in Embroidery” and WOW, it was so much more than we expected.

It has 144 traditional motifs that represents each region in Bulgaria.  The overall design is in the shape of a map which is fondly called a FLAG.

I can feel the labor of love that went into the creation of the book and charts, which is a work of art within itself.

The book tells us the history of Bulgaria and the struggles of war that finally led to independence as a country.  The flag represents peace and an expression of passing down traditional values to the children.  It has always been the women of every culture to tell the story of their people.  This one is an excellent example of how their stories are expressed… with the needle.


There are 144 motifs in this design.  The symbolic significance of each of these motifs are derived from ancient symbols and beliefs.

The book is in three languages.  Bulgarian, English and Japanese.  This is a page in English.


The main stitches are slant stitches, both with or without a leading thread.  These variations of the slant stitch (Leading, Mesal, Tron) make it interesting.  There are other traditional bulgarian stitches like Samokov backstitch, Straight stitch, Brick Stitch, Sokai Stitch, and a dense textured jepchej.  Cross stitches are the single stitches inside the form. 

These stitches are carefully illustrated in the book.

The charts are a work of art as well.  In three languages, it describes what region it came from and what it’s traditionally used for.   Superb color reference.




There is also a chart of the flag divided into 8 sheets  (10 squares to the inch) for those who would like to take on the challenge.





DMC colors are at the back of the book and printed in color on a cardboard grade sheet and printed on each chart sheet.  Very nice touch. 








A few close-ups of this magnificent design