Jayne Schofield, Twenty to Make Series, Search Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-78221-226-3, $9.95
The book, written by children’s book illustrator Jayne Schofield, is one of the few needlepoint volumes in Search Press’s Twenty to Make series. This represents something of a new direction for the publisher which used to write short but in-depth books on many arcane subjects.
The direction of these books seems to be short, modern, and easy. The projects are not complex and if the other titles are like this one, the instruction is minimal.
The book begins with two pages of stitching instructions. Because all 20 designs are in Tent Stitch this should be enough. Unhappily though for folks who want to create needlepoint using good materials and techniques, interlock canvas and Half Cross Stitch are suggested. While I understand that Interlock is far more easily available in the UK than mono, using this canvas and Half Cross will, almost certainly, yield poor misshapen projects. Perhaps this is why a large section of these two pages is dedicated to blocking.
Another area that seems a bit off for needlepoint is the section on getting started. All the projects in the book are charted and she suggests starting in the middle. In fact the designs are marked like Cross Stitch charts with arrows pointing to the middle rows. I don’t work much from charts these days, but while this is normal for Cross Stitch, think it’s far less common for needlepoint.
All the projects use Tapestry Wool and the color keys match the Anchor colors.
The instructions section shows to me that the author really doesn’t do needlepoint but figured, incorrectly, that the things she does in Cross Stitch would work exactly the same way. (She has written Cross Stitch books.)
After the instructions come the designs. Each gets a two-page spread. The color key and a color picture of the project are on the left. The chart, also in color, is on the right. Following the current convention for Cross Stitch the charts have symbols in each block as well as colors.
Needless to say the designs in the book are small, very few were bigger than 50×50 stitches. This keeps the charts large and easy to see. In general the designs are simple and use bright colors.
While this is the real value in the book, it is also one of its limitations. The designs really are almost all too simple in design to be made by an adult except as a gift for a child. On the other hand I can see children who want to learn to stitch loving the designs in this book. I would just give them some guidance for stitching correctly and start them off with nicer materials.
PLEASE NOTE: This book is also available in ebook format.