Friday, September 6, 2019

Grab and Go Stitches: A Review

I just received a copy of the Lone Star Chapter of ANG's first book, Grab and Go Stitches, courtesy of Cynthia Thomas who is a member.  Thanks, Cindy!  You can pick up a copy at many of the big Texas shops and other stores are starting to stock it as well.  I understand that the first edition is sold out so you might have to wait for a second printing to be printed and distributed before you can get your hands on a copy.

The stitches were compiled by Lone Star's membership over a year, with everyone submitting hand drawn diagrams of their favorite stitches.  The only caveat (beside the fact that the diagrams had to be hand drawn) is that any stitch submitted should not be in Stitches to Go since this book was designed along the lines of Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson's classic.  Like it, the book is small enough to put in a tote bag or large purse and is spiral bound with a cardboard front and back.

The book is divided into eight sections, according to the direction of the stitch.  The sections are:

Stitches That Read Straight
Stitches That Read Diagonal
Stitches That Read Oblique
Leaf Stitches
Laid Fillings
Darning Patterns
Lagniappe (basically anything that doesn't fit in the other categories)

The section on Straight Stitches is the largest.  There are not many pages of blackwork or darning stitches.  The other sections are medium-sized.  There's a three page section in the back called "Tips and Tricks" with some general information on things like how to create mirror images of a stitch.  All the pages are printed front and back, so "Tips and Tricks" is essentially six pages long, for example.  There is no index and the stitches are not named.  To find something you need to figure out if you want a straight or diagonal stitch (for example), then hunt through that section.  The editors suggest you refer to stitches by page number and position on the page:  "10 UR means page 10 upper right."  

It's 92 pages long plus an introduction.  Most pages (but not all) have six stitches on them, front and back, so there are a LOT of stitches. The diagrams are usually two inches square and in black and white (with gray stitches sometimes) without the stitch path numbered.  There are no photographs of the stitches stitched on needlepoint canvas.  There are no thread suggestions or ideas where to use any of the stitches—this book is just diagrams.  The online price seems to be in the $25 range, so this is a good deal.  (Stitches to Go is 64 pages with fewer diagrams per page and costs $20-25.)

Page Chosen At Random

Beginners won't have the skills to figure out how to stitch many of the more complex stitches without a numbered path, and folks who have vision problems may have trouble seeing the diagrams without magnification.  I leafed through my copy today and I don't see many stitches that I haven't seen often in other books.  Probably only a dozen at most are truly new to me.  If you have a large stitch library, you may not want this book unless you need a good reference book that is small enough to take everywhere with you.  

Don't get me wrong, this is a great little book!  Pair it with Stitches to Go and you have a fabulous collection of stitch diagrams in just two little books that are easy to carry anywhere.  It's just not suitable for every needlepointer because of the issues listed above.  

Cindy says they have enough stitches to do a second book if the first does well.  Keep your fingers crossed!  

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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