Needlepoint Design (1970) & More Needlepoint Design (1975), William Morrow
Often we find ourselves wishing that we could make beautiful needlepoint without the expense of buying painted canvases. We also might be wishing for something beautiful and unique.
Let me introduce you to Lou Gartner, a man of wonderful taste who published two lovely needlepoint books in the 70’s.
His first book, pictured above, has his fantastic needlepoint malachite on the cover. It sticks in the mind not only for its arresting color, but also because it’s so over-the-top (malachite is). I’ve had this book for ages and it certainly was part of the inspiration for a needlepoint malachite evening purse I stitched.
According to his obituary in the Palm Beach Daily News “Mr. Gartner once said that there were only two kinds of needlepointers — “the one who doesn’t finish the first pillow, and the one who becomes addicted to it for life.” He operated needlepoint shops in Palm Beach and in New York, at Bloomingdale’s and at Bergdorf Goodman.”
His books are both typical of many 1970’s needlepoint books and uniquely his. Instead of charted patterns for the many designs, he provides us with line drawings. To use them, make a copy and use that to trace the pattern onto your canvas. I love this because we can pick what mesh size we like and your finished design will be the same size as the original pattern. Use charts and your finished size depends on the mesh.
As is true of most needlepoint in the 1970’s everything is stitched in wool using Tent Stitch.
You’ll also see his finished pieces set in lovely room settings, such as his malachite room with table obelisk and more (I told you it was over the top).
One thing that is fantastic about the books is that there are so many color plates. Scattered throughout, this is unusual in books from this period.
The first book is more widely available and puts the emphasis on designing your own needlepoint. After a lengthy chapter on transferring your designs to canvas, there are several chapters on types of patterns and then more on creating designs from various sources. The closest book to this is Kaffe Fasset’s Glorious Inspiration, but this has less color and more text. It’s a way of looking at needlepoint that was revolutionary in 1970.
The second book is more project-based. There is a brief chapter, with five projects on tracing the design. The next chapter, with almost a dozen projects has designs, mostly simple, for learning stitching techniques. Further chapters explore specific finished items such as belts, rugs, and chair seats. Other chapters emphasize types of designs such as faux stones or animal designs. Each of these chapters has more wonderful patterns and projects, with well over 50 in all.
They give you the tools you need to create unique needlepoint that is truly timeless.
His two books are easily and inexpensively found on eBay and at used bookstores.