For people who watched her Needlearts show on PBS, used the Best Laying Tool, or have been taught by her, Shay and her wonderful way with all forms of needlework needs no introduction. For those who haven’t let’s just say that Shay is one of the nicest and most innovative needleworkers around.
This beautiful book distills much of Shay’s wisdom covering Goldwork, painted canvas, and shading. Each section is lavishly illustrated with detailed explanations of techniques. I’m not very familiar with Goldwork and I found Shay’s explanations clear enough so that I would feel confident tackling a beginner’s project. There is a charming one, a dove, in the book.
The section on painted canvas has a good overview of threads and techniques. It includes detailed instructions on techniques which often aren’t covered, stripped threads, using a laying tool, and properly starting and ending threads. A wonderful part of this section talks about choosing the right canvas. Further information covers how to change colors on a painted canvas as well as several techniques for optically mixing colors.
Following this chapter about painted canvas is a chapter which goes into depth discussing how three different painted canvas Christmas stockings were stitched. Several pages are devoted to each canvas with a picture of the entire canvas as well as close-up pictures of the details. Even if these three Tapestry Tent designs aren’t your cup of tea, you will find many ideas for using on your own canvases.
The section on shading covers two different techniques to create realistic shading. While the techniques were developed for surface embroidery, a part of this section shows how they can be applied to canvas. In fact, the shaded canvas piece is photographed on the
cover of the book.
The book ends with a gallery of designs. Each of the pieces in the gallery shows Shay’s consummate skill as a designer and stitcher. They provide much food for inspiration.
While this book is not a book for beginners. Every stitcher will learn useful information and find plenty of inspiration in this wonderful book.
This inspirational book is a classic and should be in every stitcher’s library.