Julia Snyder, 2017, no ISBN, about $40
It’s the beginning of the year and it must be time for the next book in Julia Snyder’s alphabetic book series. This book includes “patterns I have collected on (sic) the last six years.” There are just over 40 pages of Tent Stitch patterns, with a single page introduction and followed by 10 pages of stitches, which lean heavily on Hilton Stitch variations. Bringing up the rear is a single page with a few tips about ripping out and two ways to repair cut canvas.
I guess that page is supposed to cover the “Rip It” of the title. I’m not knocking that it was included, my problem is that it is so little. She doesn’t bother to tell you tools to use, except to point out that you should not use a seam ripper. She doesn’t tell you about reusing threads, unstitching, or getting your canvas free of leftover fuzzies. Yes, her method works but I will only be able to follow it if I add my own experience to it. Without that, it just isn’t enough.
The remainder of the book is the patterns and stitches, each charted and presented with a short introduction. These generally tell where she saw the item that inspired the pattern. While many of these are small enough that the pattern in the book can be used as is, at least a quarter, probably more, have reduced charts that must be enlarged to be used. At least this time Snyder tells you to enlarge them.
I like the trend towards using Tent Stitch patterns in needlepoint. They can make what could be a tedious task more interesting. They open a world of patterning to beginning stitchers. And they make outstanding backgrounds. I wish she wasn’t married to this odd book size so more of the patterns were useable as is. I’m far more likely to skip using a pattern if I have to take the extra step to enlarge than if I could stitch from the book.
The introduction page has some good ideas of ways to use the patterns, chiefly ways to stitch them as backgrounds. Once again, it’s just too little. Can’t she talk to us about using Tent Stitch patterns in other places? Can’t she give us some general advice about picking a pattern to suit an area?
Snyder is a well-known national teacher who teaches classes at dozens of shops. She has helped hundreds of students to pick threads and stitches for canvases of all kinds. Yet for all the stitching advice on using these patterns Snyder could be a salesman or motivational speaker who spends too much time in hotels and needlepoints as a hobby.
In short I don’t really see the love in the title in the book. I don’t know that she loves these patterns I just know that she collected them. I don’t know from the book how to pick one or more for my canvas, and I don’t know how to pick one that I’ll love. On top of that, I had to strain my eyes to see so many of the patterns, I certainly saw no love there for the reader.
It’s all well and good to want to have your products easily recognized and the size certainly does that. It’s also nice to have a plan for book titles — but couldn’t Snyder have done better than this in both title and content?
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Marilyn Young says
Thank you very much for this very forthright book review. It was very refreshing to read and you certainly explained different aspects of the book with great detail. It is a pleasure to read such an honest review of a needlepoint book. All you usually get is”what a wonderful book this is and you are going to find it extremely useful “. I have been told this so frequently and been taken so many times, I hardly ever buy a new needlepoint book. They are very expensive and more so when you are paying in Canadian funds.
You are providing what I am looking for. A reputable source for information and how it is laid out. You say exactly what the book contents are and any difficulties with seeing anything in the book. Your comments are so helpful.
I appreciate your honesty and integrity. Keep up the good work.
Thank you very much.