StitchPlay Designs, self-published, ISBN: 978-0-9971066-0-2
Twisty Stitches is the first of two volumes covering those often confusing stitches commonly known as Hilton Stitches. The book covers seven stitches: Amadeus, Chilly Hollow, Crescent, Double Fan, Double Fan Doubled, Eight Point Star, and Jessica.
Jean Hilton developed and promoted these stitches taking her cues from string art and macrame. Although they appear in many stitch dictionaries and projects, they remain difficult for many stitchers to execute (I know, I’m one of them). The numbering in typical diagrams can only take you so far because the look of the stitch is often dependent on what happens while the needle is between the numbers.
That’s what makes this book so fantastic — you’ll see with clear photos what each stitch looks like until the Hilton Stitch is completed, not just a picture of the completed stitch. The pages with these step-by-step pictures are accompanied by a large numbered diagram of the stitch.
I’m delighted because each set of these pictures is accompanied by a picture of the back of the completed stitch. That’s important because often these stitches have little thread on the back, making starting and ending threads difficult. These pictures illustrate what the authors say in the introduction to each stitch.
Before these pages, there is a one-page introduction to the stitch. It tells you about the origins, how the stitch is created in general, and lots of tips for success.
Following the step-by-step photos there are several more pages with both pictures and diagrams of variations. There are so many: combinations of multiples of the stitch, different shapes and sizes, variations that have longer stitches or spread stitches. Often there will also be suggestions for how the stitch can be used.
The book is thoughtfully designed also. The samples are stitches on cream canvas, making them easy to see. In each chapter all the stitched examples are done in a single color of thread, so that color changes do not distract from the instruction.
The book is so thorough and so rich with material about these stitches, about the only thing you might want are some examples with multiple colors for inspiration. Don’t worry — they have that covered. The last page of the book has dozens of pictures of these stitches used in various ways from multi-thread versions to inventive combinations of stitches.
Hilton Stitches are an area of needlepoint I’ve avoided because my past experience with them has not been good. With this book and its forthcoming companion covering more stitches, I know I can tackle them.