Updated December 14, 2018
Golden Gate Canvas Workers ANG, self-published, $25
Many years ago, a suburban San Francisco chapter of ANG decided to turn the results of their study of background stitches into a book. The book was revised in 2000, changing the charts to clearer, computer-generated charts. You can still find copies of the book. If you can snag one, it’s great!
The book is a marvel and an outstanding reference for needlepointers. It’s divided into chapters first according to stitch families, then with a chapter on exposed canvas stitches and then one on specialty stitches.
The stitch diagrams have some nice features not seen in other needlepoint books. When used, instead of showing numbers for both sides of the stitch, only one number, where the needle comes out of the canvas, is used. On other diagrams, arrows are used to show where the needle goes back into the canvas. Some diagrams don’t have either because the stitches are self-explanatory. The result is stitch diagrams that are clear and easy to follow. The “aids to navigation” are only used where needed.
In addition to the clear diagrams, there are stitching instructions and suggestions by chapter members. I love this aspect of the book because it inspires our own creative use of the stitches. So many of us struggle with creative ideas for backgrounds. With this book you are sure to get plenty of great ideas.
The book draws on many sources for stitches suitable for backgrounds, which makes it wonderfully useful. The reader doesn’t have to wonder if the stitch will work for a background, she knows it will. Beyond this there are stitches and variations unique to this book.
Buy it for yourself or a stitcher you know. I have had both the original edition and the reprint. It’s one of the best needlepoint books around.