John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 978-1-118-35997-6. $21.99
Anna Maria Horner is well-known for her quilting, fabric design, and blog. Earlier this year she added needlepoint designer to her accomplishments with her line of kits for Anchor.
This new book covers four needlework techniques (cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, and crewel) with several projects in her bright contemporary style for each technique.
The book is nicely divided into two main sections grid work (cross stitch and needlepoint) and free work (embroidery and crewel). This emphasizes the similarity in the technique, which is rarely done. Each technique has a short introductory section that talks about materials, basic stitches, and working techniques.
Following this are the projects. They include both decorative and fashion projects and have something for people of all ages. It’s a good selection of designs.
Each project lists the materials she used, has working instructions, and notes. Each project begins with a full-page picture and smaller pictures are included in the instructions where needed.
You will not find charts or line drawings in the text; they are all grouped in the back. The nice feature here is that the pages are perforated so you can tear them out when doing a project. Unhappily the pattern pages are not numbered so you’ll have to page through to find the right charts and patterns.
The designs, while charming, are pretty simple, so this is really a book designed for beginning stitchers, especially in the grid works section. That’s OK because Horner has a nice friendly style that will encourage people to stitch.
There is a bonus section on how to create your own design on the computer before the projects.
My main problem with the book is that, as is the case with virtually every commercially published needlework book I see, things are left out, deliberately simplified, or just incomplete. Often this could easily be corrected with a word or two (for example not saying “pencil” but “hard lead pencil”). Sometimes though the mistakes will lead to big problems (for example implying Half Cross is OK on any canvas). I just hate to think of the people who might be put off needlepoint by having their first piece ruined by these little problems.
I’d also like to see a short section on buying supplies. She recommends Anchor and Appleton products in the book, but there isn’t one word about where to find them. Since needlework stores are less common than chain stores, this information would be welcome.
If you are looking for a book to introduce a younger person to needlepoint and are close by to help, this book would be a nice choice.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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