Essential Stitch Guides, Search Press, 2013, ISBN: 978-1844489237, $21.95
The newest book in the Royal School of Needlework series, this little volume is one of the best. While light on basic how-tos, it has an extensive and nicely written history of beadwork (often given short shrift in these books), and has tons of stitch diagrams.
Three techniques get a focus in the large stitches section of the book. First comes beading in needlepoint. You’ll see why, in great close-up pictures, you should run your thread back through a line of beads that should be straight. You’ll also see, in every one of these stitched samples, many different ways to enhance a stitch using beads. These samples are a tremendous spur to creativity, as are the pictures of stitched projects.
The second and third sections are less directly applicable to needlepoint, but still contain plenty of ideas. The second section use beads in free embroidery (embroidery on cloth). Many of these stitches can be done on a counted ground, so these ideas can also be used in needlepoint.
The final section covers beaded fringes. Because they hang off the edge of your work, these could easily embellish a finished bit of needlepoint. It’s an idea you rarely see, but one worth exploring.
Much as I liked the book, there were shortcomings. First off the book is pretty sketchy with details and tips for beginning stitchers. If these techniques are new to you, buy Sundance’s book on beading (reviewed here) to get started and then graduate to this book. In spite of the wealth of information in the RSN volume, good introductory material is needed to make this “essential.”
Unlike some of the other books in this series, there are no projects. Because the ideas here are so clever, I would have greatly enjoyed some projects, at the very least a sampler for each technique.
Even so, the book is a great value and a wonderful resource for those interested in beading in needlepoint.