Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Background Books

I recently managed to score a copy of June McKnight's Decorative Backgrounds for Needlepoint,  and have been browsing it.  It's a great little book (85 pages more or less), in June's usual small size with a wire binding, perfect for taking with you or just keeping in your stitching tote bag.  The backgrounds are divided into chapters:  variations on tent stitches, fast and easy stitches, delicate patterns, trellis patterns, Florentine stitches, pattern darning stitches and blackwork, pulled lace and bold beautiful designs.  None of the stitches included are particularly hard and I recognized almost all of them.  The great thing about this little book is that it's backgrounds only.  Inside its pages you have a nice selection of backgrounds that aren't going to drive you nuts with their complexity but which are going to be great choices for many canvases.  Even the "pulled lace" section is stitches that can be worked without distorting the canvas. They'll look good pulled or not, which is nice for the stitcher who is uncertain about yanking their threads enough to pull the needlepoint canvas out of alignment.

Is this book for the experienced stitcher?  If you like having good background choices all in one place, it is.  If you like complex and unusual backgrounds, then you will be better off investing in Carolyn Hedge Baird's Needlepointing in Your Nest, or any of Brenda Hart's books, or Lynda Richardson's new Stitches a' La Carte, or the Golden Gate Canvas Workers'  Background Stitch Reference Book since nothing in June's book is unusual or very complicated.

Is this book for the beginner?  Well, none of the stitchers are hard but they are background stitches, not stitches for small spaces, hair, clothing, plants and animals, buildings, etc.  This book is best for the stitcher who works a lot of canvases and wants background ideas for them.  A dedicated beginner who is certain they are hooked on needlepoint will enjoy this book but they might be better off with a book like Carole Lake's and Michael Boren's Painted Canvas Embellishment:  An Idea Book.

Finally, what sort of Master Enabler would I be if I didn't tell you where you could find the above books if your local shop doesn't have them?  In alphabetical order (and with thanks to Google), here they are.  But do shop around.  Prices vary some and you might find a good deal if you do a little hunting.

Brenda Hart

Carole Lake and Michael Boren

Carolyn Hedge Baird

Golden Gate Canvas Workers Chapter of ANG

June McKnight

Lynda Richardson

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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