Sandra Arthur, Duo Designs, 2021, 54 pages, coil-bound
Only recently published, this book is the fourth of Arthur’s volumes in the Pocketbook series. These books are designed to cover one particular area stitchers often struggle over. Past volumes covered hair, leaves, and stars.
The format of the books is similar. Each page or two-page spread covers one particular stitch or technique that can be used to stitch this area. In this volume, the emphasis is more on the finished results than on the stitches. Yes, there are diagrams for the stitches, but there are also pictures, lots of them, showing those stitches used for a particular beard.
I hadn’t thought about it before, but this approach works very well. Beards aren’t just found on Santa figures, and choosing the right stitch for a beard depends more on the look you want than on the particular stitch. To give an example from the book, there are several techniques used to stitched bearded men in different hats, You’ll find everything from Basketweave in simple wool to a glorious beard composed of corkscrews. With so many pictures illustrating the techniques, you could just go through to find the look you want and then apply it.
Another really helpful feature is that each of the pictures has the thread identified. The very first technique used, Bargello, shows why this is so important. The illustrated beard used Fuzzy Stuff. If the thread and stitch had not been identified for me I would have had no idea how this beard was done — and it was so simple to do.
The one, minor, fault is the section on mustaches. It only receives three partial pages at the end of the book. Although the ideas are good, they are done with less detail and no stitch diagrams. While the thread used is identified in some of the ideas, this is not always the case. At the very least the text could have referred back to the pages covering this technique and identified the thread more clearly. Another possibility would have been to integrate the mustache techniques with the rest of the book.
I like that the book has wider applicability than just to stitch beards. I can easily see this as a second volume of hair ideas because so many of these techniques would make great hair.
If you stitch lots of figures, this book is a great quick reference.