MY CANVAS EMBROIDERY NOTEBOOK Susan Ettl, self-published, 2003
Susan Ettl, a noted needlepoint teacher, has put her accumulated knowledge into a lovely book for beginning stitches, My Canvas Embroidery Notebook. The book is designed for beginners and provides a firm foundation for learning needlepoint.
Ettl is outstanding in explaining the concepts behind needlepoint and hasn’t neglected and important concepts. The book flows naturally from subject to subject beginning with a definition of canvas embroidery. Materials are examined, and large clear illustrations provide additional information.
Since the book is for beginners, there are careful and complete explanations of preparing the canvas for stitching, threading needles, and starting and ending threads. Each concept is clearly and carefully explained.
The terminology of threads and yarns, which is so often confusing, is explained in detail. Concepts are given a background. While it’s well and good to know three or four different ways to start a thread, it’s even better to know which should be used in any particular case and why this should be so.
There is a long chapter on color and design which explains many of the concepts in enough depth that all stitchers can apply them to needlework pieces. Several color schemes beyond the usual are explained and the color wheels are marked so that several schemes
Following the section on Color and Design, there is a section on stitches. The stitches are grouped into categories Each stitched has a chart with recommended starting and ending techniques, applications for the stitch, variations, a detailed prose explanation of how to make the stitch and a large numbered diagram. The level of detail here makes these stitches easy for a beginner to master.
I have a couple of small quibbles with the book and changing these would make it even better. I wish that there was more of an obvious distinction between the chapters. While the continuity was fantastic when I was reading it, it did make it very difficult to find particular topics.
I also felt as if the chapter on color and design had not been proofread very well (not that I’m great shakes at this myself). Several times the text referred to “lessons” and “projects” when neither were a part of the book. Color abbreviations were done incorrectly as well. If these small corrections could be made for future printings, it would be an even better book.
Ettl’s book is distributed by Rainbow Gallery and is widely available in needlework shops.