dede Ogden, self-published 2013
I’ve been a fan of Shadow Stitching since I first saw dede’s Circle of Hearts years ago. I love the idea, first pioneered by dede, of letting the beauty of the canvas painting show through by stitching it lightly.
dede’s first book on the technique, More Shadow Stitching, came out several years ago and was mostly a stitch dictionary. Although there are other books on the topic, none of them has done a good job of showing you how to use this technique. And that’s been a problem.
It’s all well and good to say that shadow stitching can be the same stitches as you normally use but done in thinner threads, but for many of us this is an even harder idea to grasp than leaving a bit if canvas uncovered.
By not only giving us a wealth of stitches, but also showing us how shadow stitches and traditional stitches can combine in one piece, dede has addressed this problem beautifully.
The book is two books in one. The first half of the book has almost 60 stitches beautifully diagrammed, thanks to Robin King. These run from familiar stitches, such as Skip Tent, to variations of common stitches, to new stitches and stitch combinations. If a stitch needs to be done in passes it gets more than one diagram. In addition many of the diagrams are in more than one color. Every stitch is numbered to make it easy to do.
Many of these stitches are used in the lovely Butterfly Collection pictured in color in the book. Those stitches are highlighted with butterfly outlines and information to find them.
If this was all that was in the book it would be valuable enough, but there is so much more.
Following the stitch diagrams there are two pages of stitching tips, many of which are useful for any needlepoint.
Now you’ve seen the stitches and the fun can begin. The remainder of the book is a set of stitch guides for six of dede’s canvases, including the set of strawberry emeries. Each has
- a color picture of the stitched design
- a materials list
- an outline drawing “map” to the figures
- a chart for stitching
The chart is so much more than just a recipe of stitches and threads. It includes goals for stitching the canvas, hints, explanations of additional techniques, and comments when needed. Then for every area of every part of the project there is a line in the table. It lists the area, the thread(s) used, the name of the stitch, and the plate number where you can fund it. For some designs, additional, non-shadow stitches, are charted after the table.
Finally there is the index. It is also in table form and lists the stitch, the plate number and the projects where it is used.
This is an amazing, information-packed book. It should be on your bookshelf.