I’ve stitched an awful lot of canvases in my time, but the Chinese Letter canvases from Raymond Crawford remain among my favorites.
They come in two sizes of canvas (14 and 18), they have a huge variety of background colors, and there are lots of different characters form which to choose.
So, literally, there is something for everyone here. I’ve made nine of them and eight of those are collected into two classic stitch guides, both available to shops from either Raymond or me.
I also love these because stitching them is such a wonderful way to learn more stitches and learn about needlepoint. And I’ve put that into the guides.Chinese Letters I covers stitches in four families, box (pictured), cross, diagonal, and straight. These families are the basis for the majority of needlepoint stitches. Each of the four samplers has four stitches, one for each quadrant, so a beginner has plenty of time to master the stitch.
Chinese Letters II uses a single stitch for each of the samplers and has four variations of the stitch. The book begins with discussion of how a stitch can be varied and explains how each variation came about. Although this book is slightly more advanced, beginners can still use it. Experienced stitchers will love all the ideas it sparks. I was rereading it earlier this week and got so many good ideas for my current projects.But wait, as the commercials say, there’s more!
I’ve also packed the books with lots of extra reference material about needlepoint.
In Chinese Letters there are short articles about scale in needlepoint (and how to scale a pattern or stitch), compensation, using a stitch dictionary, and using thread with directional light.
In Chinese Letters II besides the introductory essay on stitch variations, there are essays about stripes in needlepoint (with lots of stitch diagrams). a long discussion of borders, and a in-depth discussion of how to “read” a needlepoint canvas and pick appropriate stitches.
These two are among my favorites and I wanted to share them with you.