Elizabeth Bingham, (Chatto & Windus, London), 2023, ISBN: 97817843963, $29
If you are fascinated by stitched church kneelers, as I am, you’ll want to get this book. You’ll find plenty of examples to get you thinking about your own project. If you are fascinated by folk art, you’ll love the dozens of examples of kneelers on every subject, almost all done by amateur local artists.
But if you are a needlepointer who wants to see inventive stitched needlepoint, get this book. It has, by far, the best selection of stitched needlepoint I’ve seen. Like most people, I’ve thought that kneelers should be stitched in Tent Stitch. And indeed, most of them are. Many of the Tent Stitched hassocks show real inventiveness in this stitch’s different colors, textures, and patterns. And many more of them use other stitches to achieve texture and variety. The variety of backgrounds using Bargello and many other stitches are of special interest.
The early part of the book gives a short history of kneelers, along with a detailed description of the projects in a few select churches. The book’s last section has practical information on transferring designs and stitching the kneelers. The bulk of the book shows kneelers from all over England and Wales, divided loosely by subject. Kneelers often have captions that give insight into the design. Each has the name of the church and its location under the picture. In this section, you’ll find even more inspiration.
The book is an excellent overview of this fine folk art and would make a lovely idea for a UK visit. But you’ll be able to see even more kneelers, over 5000, in Binghham’s excellent site, described in this article.
All too often we get into ruts as stitchers, looking at these inventive pieces, I am ready to incorporate so many of these ideas into my own stitching.