Sandra Arthur, self-published, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9829427-2-7. $48.95
Updated October 26, 2021.
Shapes of Needlepoint Series IV is the fourth book in this innovative series. The books look at stitches from the point of view of the shapes they create on canvas. If you know the shape of the area to cover and the size, you can use the Table of Contents to find the stitches that will cover the area.
Diagonal, horizontal, and vertical stitches are covered in this volume, each with its own section. On most pages two stitches are diagrammed. THe diagrams are large and clear, with numbering and, often, stitches in various gray tones. While very clear, stitchers with eye problems or those using the book in low light may find the mid-gray color of the stitches and the grid lines a bit difficult to see. I certainly saw this at times when I was looking at the book in the evening, but it wasn’t difficult to tell what was going on.
Horizontal and vertical stitches show only one direction, for example, the height of a horizontal stitch; this is because these stitches can be extended to any desired number of stitches in the other direction.
Diagonal stitches show two dimensions, for stitches that are oblique as well as those on the true diagonal. Oblique stitches are often neglected in stitch books, so I’m glad to see them well represented here.
New to this book are areas outlined with a black rectangle. These have been added to many diagrams to help you see the space needed to do a stitch. They appear most often for diagonal stitches, but there are some in the other sections of the book as well.
I really loved that in the diagonal section two versions of every stitch were shown. One slants up and to the left, while the other slants up and to the right. The concept of reversing a slant can be difficult for many stitchers, so this is great for visualizing (and stitching) the stitches.
Sandra’s assumption in this book is that the stitches are presented, and will be stitched, as single rows (think borders). However many of these stitches can, and usually are, used as textured stitches. I would say that before you try any stitch that’d new to you as a textured stitch, test it on a scrap of canvas. Not all of them will convert nicely.
The Shapes of Needlepoint series isn’t just a set of fantastic reference books for needlepoint, it’s also a springboard to your creativity. With so many exciting new stitches, you’ll be plotting wonderful new pieces to use them.