Sandra Arthur, self-published, $30
If you have ever been perplexed when you needed to stitch hair (I know I have), you’ll love Sandra Arthur’s new book, Can Do Hairdos. It’s full of great ideas that work for every kind of hair for every level of stitcher.
The book isn’t long, just 30 pages, and it’s small enough to fit in your stitching bag. But like the character in Shakespeare’s play, the book is both little and fierce.
Each full color page is devoted to one way of stitching hair. The pages include text, stitch diagrams and photos (often more than one) of the completed stitch. We see the stitches in the context of faces, heads, and back shots, whichever is appropriate for the technique. Actual hand-painted canvases that use this technique show off the stitches.
These things, just by themselves make for an immensely useful book, but as you would expect from a great teacher, more complex techniques have multiple pictures showing how to construct the hairstyle step-by-step.
The very first page of the book is the index. It is listed by specific types of styles (i.e. curly, whimsical. buns, etc.). We find within each large category smaller categories of people or types. When you are looking for a hairstyle for a little girl, you can just open the book and find 6 different curls and 10 suggestions for straight hair. That’s many more ideas than I’ve ever tried.
One very small flaw I found in the book was that sometimes she recommends specific threads. While this makes sense when there really is only one thread like it (i.e. Memory Thread), the book would be improved and have a more lasting value if she listed a general thread description and additional threads. For example, if I did not already know that Rachel is the same as Flair, how would I know that Fractured Flair can work for both?
I would also have liked it, if possible, if the threads used were identified under the pictures. That way if I see a look I like I know the thread to buy.
A limitation in this book is that if a technique is unfamiliar to you, you will need to try it out yourself on a doodle cloth before using it on a canvas. I certainly found several techniques where I had this problem. This problem happens in many other stitch books.
Can Do Hairdos fills a gap in our needlepoint knowledge. It does so with enormous creativity, great instruction and a thoughtful format. It’s going on my shelf of must use needlepoint books.
You an find this book at your local needlepoint store or directly from Sandra.