volume 1, Mary Legallet, 2020, TSBN: 978-1-7339461-0-0
With a popular blog, nearly 4,500 followers on Pinterest, many stitch guides, in-demand classes, and over 3,750 followers on Instagram, Legallet is one of the more popular figures in the needlepoint world today. Earlier this year she published her first book of stitches. It’s in a convenient 6×9″ format, but with 250 stitches at 1 per page, the book is quite fat.
The book includes many great features. Unlike the stitches in her blog, the books stitches all have numbered sequences, The diagrams are large and clear. Without compensating stitches, they are easier to read than many of her blog diagrams. Some stitches do include compensating stitches, but these are few. For most stitches, Legallet has included stitching notes. There is also an index that lists the stitches in each chapter.
The organization of the book is different from other stitch dictionaries. It is not arranged by stitch families. The first chaper is Essential Stitches and covers more than just different forms of Tent. These stitches have longer notes than elsewhere in the book. Other chapters cover balanced (stitches that have multiple directions), diagonal, layered, oblique, straight, and small stitches. There is also a chapter of border stitches, and it is the third chapter of the book. This puts a greater emphasis on borders.
Several of the stitches have more than one example of the page. For example Small Classic Leaf shows the stitch done in four directions. Another stitch, Diamond Composite, has four options for fillings on its page. These variations can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes I felt as if I was seeing the same stitch over and over with very subtle changes.
Much has been made of the pictures of stitched samples in other reviews I have read. They are not in the book instead selected stitches can be found on Instagram. By putting them on a site which you need to join, Legallet has limited the usefulness of the samples. She should have put them on her own site. It also limits the diagrams usefulness because to see them I will need to step away from my stitching, go to my phone or computer, and look up the stitch. Most people won’t bother.
When you look at the stitched samples, the pictures are large and appear to be of stitches as they appeared in her blog. The captions are inconsistent and do not always say the name of the stitch. In fact they are mostly hash tags of various kinds. Perhaps I’m being old-fashioned here, but I think stitchers would be better aserved with either more information in the picture captions or with getting rid of the references altogether in the book.
But the real genius of the book is the Decorative Stitch Index, a table at the back of the book. Here the stitches are listed in alphabetic order, along with page number and chapter where they can be found. Following that is a number of columns, listing different types of items, again in alphabetic order. If the stitch is suitable for the area, there is a dot in that column. For example, Jessica could be used for birds, small areas in clothing, flowers, roofs, snow, trees, and water. If you are looking for a stitch for a particular area, you can look down the column and find prospective stitches. The page number references make it easy to look up each stitch to find the one you want. I wish more stitch books included tables like this.
Overall, this is an excellent stitch dictionary. The diagrams, which are very large for a book of this size, will be helpful to many dtitchers. The index with uses of stitches is a huge help for folks picking their own stitches.I recommend this book.