Jacqui Pearce, North Light Books, ISBN:978-1-4403-2138-2, $22,99.
It’s a rare modern cross stitch book that can make the transition to needlepoint as easily and beautifully as Big Cross Stitch does. In fact, if you saw the cover picture without the title you’d probably think it was needlepoint.
That’s because much modern cross stitch uses several things that don’t translate to needlepoint very well, namely: lots of colors, outlining, and partial stitches. In this book we find bold designs without the detail of outlining, relatively few colors, and whole stitches.
Besides these things, the designs completely cover the ground, unlike most cross stitch and they are stitched in a familiar material– tapestry wool.
Look inside and you’ll find that the designs are all stitched on 7-count needlepoint canvas (rug or quickpoint canvas), using a strand of tapestry wool, with only a few using cross stitch fabrics. It’s a larger ground, and more contemporary designs, but this is the same stitch and yarn used in Elizabeth Bradley kits.
In fact, in her introduction, Pearce says that these designs can all be done as needlepoint. She explains that her big cross stitch technique is a hybrid of needlepoint and cross stitch.
There are 30 projects in all ranging from a small change purse to a Christmas tree skirt. Each project is introduced with a full-page picture plus a smaller detail picture. A box called ‘stitch stats’ has the stitch count, thread, ground (called base), and skill level. The skill levels are consistent throughout the book an are defined in the first section. The first page for each project also has a material list (with amounts) and the method to complete stitching the project.
Following this you will find a full-color chart, color key, and finishing instructions. Also on these pages are some ideas for variations in making the project.
My only problem with the book is that many of the charts cover two pages. Often this can cause problems, but these charts are large and the book opens enough, so that no part is lost in the binding.
The final chapter, Stitching School, covers the basics from thread coverage to basic stitching techniques. There is also a color conversion charts that uses both symbols and names and lists colors in Appleton, DMC floss, and Anchor floss. It ends with finishing instructions for a variety of items.
I love the designs in this book. They are bright without looking childish, modern but modern that is a twist on the traditional. It’s a great resource for easy-to-complete projects that deserves a spot on your shelf.