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The Needlepoint Book: A Complete Update of the Classic Guideby Jo Ippo Christensen
For centuries needlepoint, also called canvas embroidery, was worked in one stitch — the Tent Stitch — in wool on canvas. The women of many countries did this traditional version of needlepoint in addition to the distinctive ethnic embroideries of their societies. As the earth has grown smaller in the last quarter of the twentieth century, the lines between these ethnic embroideries have blurred. The yarns, threads, and embellishments of these beautiful art forms are being mixed with different needlework techniques to some degree or another and are being done on needlepoint canvas! Some of them are amazingly simple, yet elegant; others are so complex that advanced skills must be developed in order to execute them. Unfortunately, it is far beyond the scope of this hook to give detailed instructions on all of these forms of needlework. I have tried, at least, to introduce you to the predominant methods of this new needlepoint.
This book is directed to you, the student of needlepoint — both in the classroom and out. Nearly fourteen hundred illustrations are included to help you over the rough spots. Procedures that are considered difficult — or at best hazy — are clarified in this book. Techniques such as blocking, framing, and applique are explained in many steps. Nothing is left lo your imagination.
Chapter 1 gives you a variety of information on equipment, fibers, yarns, and canvas. The equipment needed for needlepoint is neither complicated nor horribly costly. However, the choice of a wrong marker, for example, can ruin your work, so having the right equipment is all-important. A thorough discussion of all the things you will need is given in Chapter 1. Your options in selection of equipment are listed; even though I have told you what I think, the choice is still yours.
The different kinds of needlepoint are discussed. Again, you decide what appeals to you. Choices crop up again in the selection of canvases and yarns. A section on canvas, fibers, and yarns will help you decide.
Chapters 2 and 3 tell you how to get started and help you progress toward more difficult undertakings.
Over 370 stitches are explained with both photographs and drawings. A guide to the drawings leads off the section. If a stitch is worked in steps, the steps are clearly indicated on the drawings. Numbers tell you just where to begin and where to go next. Often there are two, three, or four different drawings of one stitch to make it crystal clear. Some suggestions on how and where to use the stitches are included.
Common errors in working the basic stitches are pointed out in the text. Hints on how to avoid or overcome these errors are given. Suggestions are sometimes made for more than one approach to working a stitch.
If you really feel that designing your own work is what you want to do, Part 2 is for you! Often, getting an idea is the hardest part for some people. Others think that actually drawing the design is hardest. Still others have trouble with the color choice.
The basic art principles will help you in making your own design, Both right and wrong choices are well illustrated in drawings. A discussion of the color wheel aids you in color choices. Helpful hints are given on adapting designs from other sources. Try your hand at your own design — you might surprise yourself.
Nothing is more important than proper finishing. Mediocre stitching can be overlooked if the finishing is perfect. And even flawless stitches won't be noticed if one is preoccupied with poor finishing. But nothing can beat the winning combination of error-free stitching and exquisite finishing. This book can help you achieve both. Please do not lose sight of the idea that this is FUN. If striving for perfection makes it work, just have fun!
Your needlepoint can be both useful and decorative. The color plates and a long list give you ideas on what to do with needlepoint — besides the obvious pictures and pillows.
Jump in with both feet. Try making an heirloom. Let the many color photographs inspire you to make beautiful and admired works of art. I hope you will come to love needlepoint as I do!
Copyright © 1976, 1999 by Yolanda M. Christensen
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