Thursday, June 16, 2016

Winter: A Book Review UPDATED

Recently I got my hands on the latest book from Stacey Tombros of Little Shoppe Canvas Company.  The book is called Stitch Winter.    As you see in the photo above, it's the same small size as Stacey's popular Stitch Landscape and her Ins and Outs.   The inside is much different, though. Instead of stitches to use here and there on select areas of painted canvases, which is what Landscape and Ins and Outs are about,  Winter contains motifs to use as backgrounds or to use to create a counted canvaswork pillow or ornaments for the winter holidays.

The motifs that are included are angels, bells, bows, candy canes, holly, menorahs, stars of David, hamsa hands, dreidels, holiday lights, ornaments, presents, Santa hats, snowflakes and Christmas evergreen trees.  The book opens with an explanation of the multi-step diagrams (all in black and white and shades of gray), thread choice ideas, and embellishment recommendations.

The book is 107 pages, usually with two diagrams per page--front and back--except for the larger, more complicated motifs.  There is also an introduction and table of contents (but no index).  It is spiral bound, and the front and back cover are cardboard with a slick finish for durability.

The format is the same for all but one section.  You are introduced to one-three main stitch diagrams for each shape.  (In many of the sections the numbering for a stitch motif is only done for these introductory diagrams.)   Ways to vary each main diagram are mentioned, i.e., substitute bugle beads for the center of a bow, use a cross stitch instead of a tent stitch, etc.   Then before variations on the main diagrams are shown, you are given some thread and color ideas for some of the variations.  The variations on the main diagrams usually show the stitch in straight rows, then in a zigzag  or offset line, then the motifs used among various trellis or diagonal patterns.

However, the snowflake section is a little different as there are no main diagrams here, the snowflakes being so complex.  There are just twelve lovely snowflake patterns, with the usual thread and color ideas plus variation tips included as in all the other sections.

I think the earlier books are more useful for painted canvases while Winter is more focused on the counted stitcher who wants a large background pattern, help coming up with a counted pattern for a holiday design (pillows, ornaments, borders) by combining various elements, or beautiful designs to copy as all over patterns or use as borders for a holiday piece. I think the trellis patterns used with the motifs are lovely myself, and plan to try some of them out on several larger backgrounds of my painted canvases without the holiday motifs to make them less seasonal as I don't do a lot of holiday stitching myself.

I think Winter is a great little book, but it isn't what you expect based on Landscape or Ins and Outs.  It is the perfect gift for the stitcher who does mostly counted pieces and holiday designs.  There is a lot of information inside but you'll need to use your imagination to make the best use of this inspirational little book.

By coincidence, BeStitched just posted a video review of Winter by Paula Schmidt on their blog.  Here it is for your further information.

UPDATE:  The newest newsletter from The Needle House features a stitch from Winter at the very bottom.   The photo shows how the stitch variations are diagrammed.  I thought you might like to see.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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