Sandra Arthur, Duo Designs, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9829427-0-3
Updated January 3, 2020.
There are lots of stitch dictionaries that are not only useful references, but are wonderful for browsing. I often get ideas for stitching when doing this.
But there is often a problem with them. When you want a stitch for a specific shape, how do you find it in these book? Even worse, once you find it how do you make it the size you want.
Well-known needlepoint teacher, Sandy Arthur, is addressing this problem with her series of Shapes of Needlepoint books. While ultimately there will be more in the series, the first covers circles, rectangles, squares, and triangles.
While you might have plenty of ideas for squares and rectangles, you’re probably stumped for stitch ideas when it comes to circles and triangles, I know I am.
Sandy has taken shapes of different sizes from 4×4 to 22×22 in the case of circles, and charted stitches specifically for that size and shape. Each size of each stitch is given a large numbered chart usually one, but sometimes two on a page. If needed, some explanation is given under the stitch diagram.
If you find a problem shape in your stitching, figure out the size and then use the Table of Contents to find that combination. Under it you will find the stitch suggestions and the pages where they can be found.
Handy and useful yes, but think of it as a springboard to your creativity & imagination. Even if a stitch isn’t listed for the size of your shape, can you change another stitch in the book to make it fit? Can you substitute a different stitch for part of this one?
While for an experienced stitcher, resizing might not be a problem, for beginning stitchers, these limitations present an obstacle. This could be corrected by some explanation of how the stitch is constructed, so that you could resize it yourself; an explanation would be so helpful here. I wish Sandy had brought more of her knowledge and experience as a teacher to the book by providing us with this.
This whole series should be on experienced stitchers shelves. Newer stitchers might find some of the later volumes more useful.
Even with the limitations, this is a handy book to have. You’ll get plenty of ideas for stitches for your various shapes.