StitchPlay Designs (Carole Lake & Michael Boren), ISBN: 978-0-615-93267-5, 2014
updated August 23, 2022.
If you can’t take a Painted Canvas Embellishment class, go out and buy this book. Packed full of great ideas and information, you won’t be disappointed. Michael has retired from teaching, but this book remains a popular resource for stitchers.
The book is not designed to be comprehensive; but instead it’s supposed to be a springboard of ideas for your stitching.
The book is roughly divided into three parts. The first part is about stitching in general, including general information about canvases, thoughts about stitching a canvas, and a section of Frequently Asked Questions. While some of the information is different from that of other teachers, and it seems a bit disorganized, there’s plenty of useful information and advice here.
The second section is about threads. The authors have grouped and described a huge number of currently available threads by mostly by fiber content. While some manufacturers and some newer threads are missing, this is a great list and one that is needed. At the end of it, you’ll find a listing of manufacturers with their websites.
There is one thing in the descriptions that may be confusing to many stitchers. Following the usage of ANG they use “ply” for the smallest divisible unit of a thread. Many teachers and stitchers use “strand” for this and “ply” for the indivisible parts of a strand. That’s confusing enough, but often in the section on threads, they say the plies of a thread are divisible when they are not. It’s a small thing, but one that could lead stitchers into areas of great frustration. My advice, try dividing some of these threads yourself to test if they work for you.
The last, and largest, section of the book is taken up with stitches. The stitches are classified by use, making it easy to find a stitch for a specific purpose. Unlike most stitch dictionaries which put stitches in diagrams in boxes, this grid takes up the entire page, with computer-generated diagrams packed onto it. The diagrams are labeled with the stitch’s name and are large enough to be easy to read.
If stitching notes are needed, they are put into boxes or bubbles with the grid erased in them. This makes them easy to read.
I liked this book. It’s full of great ideas and information. Although I see some inaccuracies, they are small. Painted Canvas Embellishment deserves space on your stitching bookshelf.