Diane M. Schultz, Needlework Gazette, 2001
Please note: This is a reprint of a review of a classic book. The book is available from the Needlework Gazette’s lulu site. Please be aware that it is expensive when bought here. You may be able to find copies for considerably less money through Amazon, ABEbooks, or on eBay.
Many of the patterns found on the original Wonderful Stitches site can now be found on Pinterest.
One of my particular problems in needlepoint is that I’m timid about using more than one thread in a stitch. I just never feel very confident about combining colors and threads into one pattern. But armed with this fantastic book I’m ready to venture out into the unknown.
Diane Schultz has expanded her popular stitch dictionary and published a new edition, reprinted around 2000. Diane started doing needlepoint on her own in the mid-70’s and taught herself. As a result she did things which “weren’t done” at the time — using lots of decorative stitches, working on a frame, and lots more. Her pieces from the very beginning show a wonderful exuberance which is more typical of needlepoint today and not typical for the period.
One of the most inspirational parts of the book is the many illustrations of Diane’s work. These photos, including some close-ups, really show off how wonderful multi-colored decorative stitches can be in needlepoint. Her website shows off even more of them.
The heart of the book (the stitches) are arranged in 9 samplers. Each sampler shows off about 25 or so stitches and is photographed in full color at the beginning of the chapter (you can also see some of them on her site). Then each stitch is photographed and diagrammed, sometimes with enlarged details to make stitching easier. The many stitches have more than one graph, each graph showing a step in the stitch so it’s easy to compose the patterns. Almost all of the stitches are done in more than one color or thread and each color is represented on the graph.
Following the nine samplers there are several chapters with specific types of stitches. One chapter deals with borders, edges and blackwork. Another deals with stitches which let you adapt quilt patterns to needlepoint. A third contains diaper patterns.
Borders are another one of my needlepoint weak points, but this chapter inspired me to do some as part of a piece I recently completed. Adding one of them to almost any design or painted canvas would make the piece original and unique.
I love quilts and so the chapter on quiltstitch was a real treat for me. Her method uses straight stitches and shows you how to make squares and triangles. It then follows with several examples of quilt blocks charted using this method.
The chapter on diaper patterns includes many small scale patterns for use in needlepoint. Looking at the charts you could vary any of these designs by stopping the pattern at one of the earlier steps.
The final chapter is a springboard for your imagination as well. It shows you a dozen examples of stitches made by combining and varying the stitches in the book.
With a book like this, you will have inspiration for needlepoint for years to come.