Darn Fillings, Julia Key H. Snyder, self-published, 2010.
This little book is a nicely guide to laidwork but if you are looking for pattern darning, look somewhere else, only 12 pages of 61 at the end of the book are about darning patterns. While the title is catchy, it has nothing to do with the content of the book. That’s important, especially if you are buying the book unseen, as I did.
Laidwork is a wonderful technique and one well worth exploring. It gives great dimension to needlepoint, is infinitely variable, and is tons of fun to stitch. Snyder tells you right from the beginning that laidwork is the basis of the book. She has organized it well, with each chapter devoted to a particular base grid, i.e. the bottom layer of the technique.
Each chapter begins with a diagram of the base. These diagrams may show the sequence of stitches by following the letters. Following this are a number of laidwork stitches done over the base. The working sequence of these stitches is usually shown either by letters or by arrows. For the more complex stitches only some of the repeats of the pattern are marked. Even if there is no sequence, the large, clear diagrams show the individual stitches clearly.
There is little text in this book or than the overall introduction and short intros to each grid. Personally I would like to see more. For a stitcher new to laid work, I don’t know if I am supposed to use a single thread or color, two or more. Although many of the patterns are large, I don’t really know where I can use them. In the introduction, Snyder talks about “thinking outside the box” and “using fewer strands” if you are using laidwork for a background. But if I am new to this technique, then I’d like some guidance here.
And it’s likely that laidwork will be new to me. The most definitive book on the subject, by Joan Taggert, has long been out of print.
This book, while excellent in many ways, could have been so much better with a little more text, more shades in the diagrams (to show possible different colors) and maybe some pictures to give us an idea of how to use laidwork in a canvas.
But, all in all, it’s a good introduction.