Mary Legallet, self-published, 2023, ISBN: 978-1-7339461-4-8
I am excited about the newest volume of Mary Legallet’s books. Shorter than the other three volumes, this book focuses on small stitches. If your definition of a small stitch is one where three repeats will fit into one inch on 18 mesh, these are all small. Legallet does not define small stitches this way, nor does she define exactly what a small stitch is.
Like her other books, there is little text. Mostly it’s a short introduction. Rarely is there text with a stitch. But the book’s heart is the stitches, divided into four chapters: classic, balanced, diagonal, layered, and straight. Each stitch is diagrammed, usually in more than one color, with numbering for the different parts of the stitch. For stitches with lots of open areas, the numbering provides a sequence to minimize seeing traveling threads.
The book has three helpful indexes. The first lists the stitches in alphabetical order. The second, less than a page long, lists full coverage stitches by chapter. It’s new to this volume.
The final, and most extensive, index is in chart form. Every stitch is listed in alphabetic order. The first column has the page number where the stitch is found, while the second column has the chapter number. The following 17 columns list various areas, from animals to water. If a stitch is suitable for that type of area, a dot is in the box. None of the stitches are restricted to one use, and I even found a stitch that could work in 15 areas.
Having this index is very helpful for stitchers that are looking for suggestions. It’s essentialy what canvas enhancement classes do but on a broader scale.
There are three problems with the book. The first is that the guidelines for picking small stitches and stitches that will fit are vague. While she shows in her text pages how one stitch might fit over another stitch on two mesh of canvas, but never does she give the reader precise guidelines. Are we left to test several stitches as we do our projects? Surely she can do better than this.
The second is that the lines in the diagram are shorter than they should be, making stitches appear significantly less open. I need to rediagram the stitches to get a clearer picture of their coverage. Her diagrams would be greatly improved if she could fix this.
The third is that the URLs for pictures of the stitches, in addition to diagrams, are replaced by QR codes. I didn’t like the URLs because the author should not force readers to go elsewhere for this knowledge. This is even more true of QR codes. Although they might be hip, they are even more user-hostile than a URL. Not everyone has a smartphone; it shows a certain amount of contempt by the author for those not as accepting of technology as she might be.
As a teacher, Legallet should know better and meet her readers at a level they all can use.
Despite the faults, this book is full of creative stitches, and I recommend it.