June McKnight, self-published, 2013
If you are like most stitchers you probably have a “go to” background stitch. But have you ever thought that you probably also had a “go to” background color?
I didn’t think that way until recently. Chances are that go to color is white, cream, or a very pale color.
In this immensely useful book, June McKnight shows us how to get out of our color and stitch ruts when it comes to backgrounds. This volume is a revision, in full color, of her previous background books.
Every stitch in the book has two pages devoted to it. On the left is a sample of the stitch done in a colorful thread with the threads used listed below. On the right is a diagram in one or more colors, along with stitching notes and suggestions.
The book divides the backgrounds into two sections: Complete Canvas Coverage and Open Canvas Stitches. Within each section the stitches are presented in alphabetical order. It’s worth looking all the way through because sometimes stitches have different names than you would expect. I found so many fantastic ideas for backgrounds. Not only stitches I didn’t know but many I had forgotten.
Beginning the book us an introduction with good advice on picking colors and stitches for backgrounds.
Wonderful as this all is, the real treasure in the book comes from the colors used to stitch the samples. Before I got the book I was worried there would be too great an emphasis on multi-colored threads, which all too often distract from the focal point. While these threads are well-represented, half or more of the samples are stitched in solid threads. In addition many of the backgrounds use two or more threads in different colors or textures.
All this will get you thinking: What color could I use on my next project? Could using a more complex pattern and two threads improve my background? Can I use an open background for this project? How can I very this stitch?
I found myself asking these questions and getting inspired throughout the book.
I also like that June has made this book so easy to read. The photos and diagrams are large and clear. Most of the samples use high contrast colors on white canvas so you can really see the stitches. The diagrams are easy to see. Best of all the hard-to-read typeface used in her previous books, making them less useful, is only used for titles and June’s signature. The text and stitch names throughout is a clear font.
This is a book you should buy, read, and keep it near your stitchy chair to enliven all your backgrounds.