Melitastitches4fun's Blog

Books in My Library – Stitches For Effect and Stitches To Go by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson

Except for The Needlepoint Book which was discussed previously, I’ve probably mentioned these books by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson more than others.

Stitches For Effect has 4 indexes including a thread index (some are probably not available now), a stitch index (in alphabetical order), an effect index (such as trees, roads, sky, etc), and a general index. Can’t say I ever used the thread index but I skimmed through it to write this review looking at just threads I use most. Occasionally, an equivalent weight to a pearl cotton is stated and that can be very helpful to save time practice stitching with a thread. I discovered that if you use 6 plies of stranded cotton, then you could use 3 strands of Floche (2:1 ratio). I have not tried combining Kreinik #8 Braid with 3 strands of a coordinating stranded cotton for a subtle shimmering effect which sounds like a good idea (stranded silk would probably work too). I will have to look more carefully next time I use Impressions because it is a 50/50 woll/silk blend and the two fibers reflect light differently creating depth. There are conversion charts to indicate a suggested number of strands/plys for use on canvases/fabric of different sizes including: 13/14, 18, 22/24, and 28. The diagrams are next to a paragraph discussing what ground, threads, and effects are good for that stitch diagram. Very interesting to read and they are excellent diagrams.

I never bought More Stitches for Effect and Even More Stitches for Effect although getting the indexes would probably be useful. Do you have and like either of these books? I’d be curious to know.

The second one of theirs I did get was Stitches To Go which contains every stitch in the three books I mentioned above. Although it doesn’t have any of the indexes, it is always by my side!

Books in My Library – The Needlepoint Book, Second and Third Edition

I’ve probably mentioned this book more than most others. Everyone has there “Go To” books. This is always within reach.

The Second Edition remains my preferred edition mainly because it is lighter to hold and most importantly I have added notes next to the diagrams that I want to keep. Part 1 covers basic information, procedures, and stitching techniques. She offers suggestions for left-handed stitchers since most diagrams are written for right-handed stitchers (turn the diagram upside down). Part 2 covers design and color. These topics are books in and of themselves but Jo covers key points clearly. Part 3 covers putting everything together such as my favorite tip (on page 108 – Mixing Stitches) to stitch diagonal stitches before straight stitches when they share holes. Part 4 offers stitch diagrams and stitched samples (all in black and white). The stitches are divided into chapters: straight, diagonal, box, cross, tied, eye, leaf, line, decorative, and open. At the beginning of each chapter, a grid is presented to show characteristics of each stitch such as would it be good for a background stitch, accent stitch, shading, would it snag or not, does it have texture, does it create a weak, medium, or strong pattern, and more.

The Third Edition does have the same great information including how to mix stitches on page 148 and four new chapters, and 225 new illustrations including 62 new stitches. Since some images are not as good as in the Second Edition, 75 of the stitches were restitched and rephotographed to replace the less-than desirable photos. The main difference is more information covering color and design issues under the chapter title Interpreting the Painted Canvas although much of it really applies to those principles in general not just for painted canvases. Parts 1 – 3 covered 132 pages in the Second Edition and now covers 202 pages of information. Part 4 reorganized a few diagrams, added new ones, and offers the same great charts at the beginning of each chapter.

Books in My Library – A Needlepoint Christmas with Ruth Dilts and Sandra Arthur

Books are always appreciated! And, I’m sure I’ll enjoy these.

In May 2012, I donated quite a few books in an effort to make room available for what turns out to be more books ( I still have (probably) more books than I need or use. Then in August 2012, I started a post of “Books I Am Keeping” but never completed that draft. That was almost 10 years ago! Well, I think I’d like to resurrect that idea and discuss books I do own. So, this is my first post to begin a series of book reviews.

Needlepoint 202 A Guide to 12 Different Techniques with Illustrations for Embellishment of the Painted Canvas by Ruth Dilts intrigued me because my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter has been discussing how to stitch painted canvases. I’ve not read every page but I found the discussions of thread painting and tufted couching particularly interesting. The book (from 2007) provides stitch guides for 12 painted canvases of which I easily found 4 are still available (online google search) including: Baby Carriage by Cooper Oaks, Moose in the Birches (Oval) by Kathy Schenkel, Slavic Doll by Shelly Tribbey, and Grape House Gingerbread House by Susan Roberts. The stitch selections for all the canvases are still interesting to read. I liked the thread blending for the shading of the Water Maiden by Terry Medaris (Sundance Designs). That canvas doesn’t appear to be available but the shading on the painted canvas is seen quite often and is similar to that seen in Madonna #2 by Terry Medaris (Sundance Designs). There are 42 stitch diagrams in addition to the technique diagrams. And, Ruth discusses aspects of 32 threads used in the models. I didn’t know that the twist of Splendor is tighter than most silks making it easier to use and unlikely to snag on your fingers/hands (unless they are really rough). I haven’t read too many stitch guides for painted canvases but what I have read are presented in a table with columns for Area, Thread, and Stitches. Ruth writes conversationally rather than in a table format which I found made for more of an enjoyable read.

Shapes of Needlepoint Diamonds, Hearts, Octagons, and Stars – Series II completes my collection of Sandra Arthur’s series of 4 books covering all different shapes. I love that Sandy indexed them by shape and by thread count. However, they can be adjusted to fit the space you have available. The diagrams are large and easy to read. Google duodesignsinc and look for the tab for books and you’ll see details of each 100-page book and examples of the diagrams. Past Christmases brought the others in Sandy’s Shapes of Needlepoint. So, I might as well include them in this post as well. They are: Circles, Squares, Triangles, Rectangles – Series I; Corners, Hexagrams, Ovals, Parallelograms – Series III; and Diagonals, Horizontals, Verticals – Series IV.

While waiting for my husband to golf at Shipyard on Hilton Head last month, I pulled up a chair to the book table at Needlepoint Junction (basically just across the street in a mall) and found Tisket, Tasket, Lots and Lots of Baskets by Sandra Arthur. I have an idea about baskets that I’d like to pursue at some point. Sandy really captures the art of basketry. I hadn’t see this book on her website or in her Etsy shop. So, this was a must have!