Updted March 7, 2023.
dede Ogden, self-published 2011, distributed by Fleur de Paris
One thing that needlepointers love is to look at each other’s work and to learn about the choices made in stitching it.
That’s good, but even better is getting a look into the thought processes of a truly remarkable stitcher, such as dede Ogden.
I’ve known dede almost as long as I’ve lived in California and have always marveled at her lovely work and inventive ideas.
Now we are all so lucky because we can get see how she stitched a number of her own pieces in her new book, That’s Not Needlepoint.
I get the same thrill looking at it as I do looking at an artist’s notebook. It’s not a formal book; it is a series of stitch guides in note form for several of her undersea canvases.
The canvases are complex (many are pictured in the book) with lots of detail, and her stitching makes them even more gorgeous (I saw two of them in person, and they are amazing).
For each piece, she lists an area, then lets you know the threads she used, the stitch, and any special techniques. Some, but by no means all, of the stitches are diagrammed.
dede uses lots of inventive techniques, including light stitching, wrapping, blended threads, needleweaving, and tons more. Often her notes are accompanied by line drawings of the canvas.
This is not a book that you could use by itself to stitch any of these canvases; at the very least, you will need a good stitch dictionary. Beginners will find many of these techniques and ideas to be confusing.
But if you remember that it’s a notebook in book form, you will find so much to inspire.
My biggest difficulty with the book is the photos. The color photos are grouped into two sections, both near the end of the book. I found it annoying to page back and forth to look at them. A better idea would have been to make a color copy of the page to have right there as I read.
My other difficulty is that often I felt as if the canvases pictured weren’t completely stitched. Usually, this was because I couldn’t see the background. dede uses lots of light stitching and an almost transparent sparkly thread for her backgrounds, so it is possible that they did not reproduce well, but I found it frustrating.
Overall, though, the more I think about this book, the more I like it. I like that it is so full of ideas that I can use on other canvases. I like that it will be a springboard for my imagination on needlepoint for years to come.