Although I’m finding it hard to believe, Tink Boord-Dill’s alphabet books are now 20 years old. In honor of this, she’s revised them and made them available through Amazon in their new format. I’m so happy about this because it makes these fantastic books available to a wider audience.
The main difference between the new books and the older format is the binding. The original books were comb-bound. The new ones are bound like standard paperback books. I was worried that this would make it harder to see the charts, but the books open nicely and stay open so you can stitch from them easily. What you cannot do with these books is completely open them, so that only a single page shows. But this is not a big deal. If you need a single charts, you are explicitly given permission to make a copy for your individual use.
The other noticeable difference is that the covers are different. The original covers were printed on colored paper, giving rise to their nicknames (“The Yellow Book,” etc.). Now the books have the titles in color and a colored border around each white cover. The nickname is also printed on the cover.
Each of the books has more than 40 alphabets and they are charted with whole stitches. This means that they can be used for any form of counted work, not just needlepoint. Another wonderful aspect of the books is that they contain alphabets beyoind the usual. You’ll find among the books Greek, Hebrew, and Braille alphabets as well as other unusual ones. The two monogram books in the series add many great monogram choices to the mix. With Tink’s books there are so many alphabets you don’t need others.
The books have both upper and lower case alphabets listed in an index, below. This index is one of the best features of this series. You’ll notice it’s packed with information. First is the alphabets name with a number. The number tells you how many stitches high the letters are. Most of the alphabets come in two sizes so it’s easy to select the size that works for you. Next you’ll find the type of alphabet it is. Many of the alphabets have upper and lower case as well as numbers; you can use this information in the table to plan your project.
The next two columns let you know if the alphabet is suitable for cross stitch and/or needlepoint. Although all the alphabets use whole stitches only, some will work better if the stitches are square, i.e. cross stitch, than if the stitches are slanted, i.e. needlepoint. Very few of the alphabets won’t work for needlepoint, but knowing this in advance saves you some heartache when your letters don’t look great.
The final column has the number of the alphabet (think of this as a page number) and how many charts are used. This number is at the top of each page. The second page of each graph is noted above the graph. At the bottom of the tables are some helpful designer notes.
The alphabet charts are printed on one side of the page only, making it very easy to page through the books looking for inspiration. The charts are large and very easy to read.
Grids & Graphs
At the back of the book I bought, Grand and Glorious, there is a really helpful section of grids and graphs. It’s in the other books and it’s so great for planning. The section contains three types of grids along with an opening section on how to use them. These grids give you an incredibly easy way to preview your design before you start making it. It’s a practice I recommend.
Square grids look like graph paper and are used for needlepoint and cross stitch. These grids in 12, 13, 14, and 18 squares to the inch are true size. This means the charted letters will be the same size when stitched — you will not need to convert the size!
Beading grids have oval “squares” and are used to chart beadwork. Because different kinds of beading techniques produse different grid patterns, this is critical to be sure your beaded letters look correct. These charts are not true size, but are proportionally accurate. This makes the charts easier to see and use.
Ratio grids are used for techniques such as knitting where the shape of the stitch is rectangular not square. Like the beading charts this is important because the rectangulaer shape of the stitch can sometimes distort the letters. The two ratio charts are 2:3 and 4:5. Beause you can turn them a quarter turn ratios of 3:2 and 5:4 are also here.
I’ve reviewed the monogram book in this series on Nuts about Needlepoint. Read it here. You can find all they books as they become available on Tink’s Amazon page. PDF/Digital versions will be coming soon & will be available on Etsy.