Susan Battle, the owner of The Point of It All in Washington, DC, has written a charming and useful little book for the beginning needlepointer. Sub-titled “Susan Battle’s Introduction to Needlepoint,” the short book covers many of the basics that will get anyone started well with needlepoint.
Written in a clear engaging style, the book covers basic and decorative stitches along with selecting a canvas and threads. Unusually in beginners book, but so helpful, is two pages of troubleshooting as well as two pages of hints.
To encourage the beginning stitcher to try more advanced techniques, there is even a section on beading basics.
I love the tone of the book. I really could see Susan’s experience as a shopowner coming out in her friendly tone and great advice. She says exactly the things you’d want your shopowner to say to you, with suggestions about good canvases for beginners, ideas for choosing threads and clear, useful advice.
The book really shines in the sections on stitches. These begin with basic information on how to read a diagram and hold a canvas. There’s advice about reading the grain of the canvas and using the push/poke methid of stitching. When the basic stitches are explained, there are explanations with large, clear diagrams for both righties and lefties.
The decorative stitches section includes eight great stitches. Before getting to the stitches (once again with great diagrams), the important topics of coverage and compensation are discussed.
Small, essential, and clear, this book is the best I’ve seen for beginners.