Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Shapes of Needlepoint Series One (Circles, Squares, Triangles, Rectangles)

Shapes of Needlepoint:  Series 1
Sandra Arthur's new book, Shapes of Needlepoint, has been a big hit.  All you have to do is read about Marianne's attempts to keep it in stock in her online store and you know how folks are thirsty for stitches organized in a way in which they find the shape they need for their painted canvas easily.

Recently a friend sent me a copy so I thought I'd do a review so you can see whether you need to join the stampede to get your own copy.  Marianne covers the basics above very well but I have taken a photograph at random to give you another inner page to look at.

This book is just what Marianne describes:  a book of diagrammed stitches organized into shapes.  Each section has its own table of contents with the stitches described in terms of how much space they cover.  In other words, there are Circles - 4x4, Circles 5X5, Circles 6x6, etc.  After the four tables of contents (one for each shape covered in the book) there is an Index By Thread Count that lists all the 2x2, 2x3, 2x4, etc. stitches diagrammed in the book.

The diagrams are very clear.  They are done in shades of gray but occasionally an important area will be highlighted in red.  Stitches are usually, but not always, numbered to show the sequence your needle and thread follow to make the stitch.  In a very few instances there are colored photographs of stitched examples.  A great many of the stitches diagrammed are "string art" type stitches that counted canvaswork geniuses like Jean Hilton use in their designs.  This makes the book not something a stitcher new to needlepoint will need but it is useful for both the painted canvas and the charted design crowd.

I have to admit I probably would not have bought this book as I am used to analyzing the sort of space I want to fill and flipping through my stitch books looking for what I want.  If you aren't good at analyzing your unstitched canvases, this is going to be a useful series.  But it won't tell you which stitch to choose for your design, just what will fit into the space you have unstitched.  Picking just the right stitch is still going to be up to you.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at and at