by Jo Ippolito Christensen, Prentice-Hall, 1978 ISBN 0-13-888024-7
Updated September 1, 2023.
A couple of years after The Needlepoint Book came out, Jo wrote this book. It puts more emphasis on projects rather than on stitches. Even so, with 174 stitches and almost 100 projects, it’s a book worth seeking out.
The emphasis here is on practicality, giving you a great introduction to needlepoint, reference information, and finishing instructions as well as the projects and stitches.
In the first part of the book, she gives basic information about the basic materials of needlepoint — canvas and thread. While some of this information is out of date, for example, how to properly divide Paternayan, much of it is still valid. Exceptionally helpful is her table of how much thread does a stitch need. Using Paternayan as the basis, she lists how much thread each stitch diagrammed in the book uses on 10, 12, or 14 mono canvas. And then, she puts that amount in several different measurements.
I can hear you saying: “So what? I don’t do wool or large-mesh canvas.” It’s still useful. These would be great guidelines for yardage for 13 mesh, which is common. For 18 mesh, just add about a third to the amounts. Because so many of the stitches on the chart use three strands of Persian, you can substitute any thread with one strand/bundle as it is packaged for Persian and still get a good starting point for buying.
Even so, I’d recommend buying one package or 15% more than the recommendation. The book uses a fudge factor of 5%. Today, most teachers use 10-20% instead.
Great as this is, you may be wondering how to figure out how many square inches a color takes up on your piece. Jo has a great tool, the Project Planner, that she shows you how to make yourself.
The second section covers color and design, which is great advice and tips. Most fun are the two checklists for color and design that will help you create and stitch better projects.
The heart of the book is the section devoted to projects. There are five chapters of these, ranging from Beginner to Expert. They cover a huge range of items, techniques, and designs.
I often hesitate about recommending books from the 70’s because the projects are often garish. Not so here. The projects are presented in black and white. Most have a classic sense of design that makes them timeless. While these days, stitchers are unlikely to stitch a needlepoint clip-on tie, the Bargello pattern for it is so lovely, that you’ll stitch it on something else. The projects will teach you needlepoint if you are a beginner or stretch your skills if you have been stitching for a while.
At the back of the book, there are many more pages of drawings that can be used as the basis of even more projects.
The section on stitches has many of the stitches from The Needlepoint Book and uses the same diagrams and photos. That’s lovely because it means I have everything I need to make a project there.
Seek out this book, it’s a treasure.