Painted Canvas Embellishment Books

If you want to embellish your painted canvas, you are going to have to figure out what stitch to use to create the illusion of water, hair, clothing, snow, etc.  Fortunately for us all, there are several needlepoint books that are particularly helpful for those who aren't very experienced in picking just the right stitch for the effect you want.  I've described books for beginners, the advanced needlepoint embellisher and some additional books to round out your reference library below.

First, here are books for beginners at canvas embellishment:

Carole Lake's new book, Just in the Nick of Time, is geared toward helping folks who are stuck finding a stitch for a section of their painted canvas.  I reviewed this book on Blog this week.

I didn't emphasize just how helpful this book is for folks doing canvas embellishment in my review, though.  If you are interested in learning how to pick fancy stitches for your canvases, this is a very useful book.  Carole talks about the books' stitches in such a way that you'll be able to find good stitches for problem areas without too much effort.    This is the book for a beginner in canvas embellishment to buy if you aren't sure whether you'll do much canvas embellishment.  It is a good little book for anyone wanting to master stitches beyond tent stitches even if you don't do a lot of canvas embellishment as the diagrams are very clear.  The tips for variations on each stitch, the threads it looks good in, etc. are invaluable.  The book doesn't have an index by design.  Carole wants you to flip through it looking for inspiration.

Ruth Dilts's Needlepoint 101 and Needlepoint 202 books are also useful. They are not as helpful for looking things up (there is no index that says which stitches work well for snow, etc.)  but I think they are very inspirational for new stitchers as Ruth shows off a series of projects and explains what stitch (with diagrams!) she used and why. You can use Ruth's ideas for beards, clothes, houses, etc. over and over in your own projects. Her books are not as full of stitches as the Stitches for Effect series  described below, but they are cheaper if you aren't certain you want to learn embellishment and I think they are less intimidating to beginners.  You can see the stitches used on an actual project in color photos which is very important for some people.

You can buy either book or both for help.  Both are small, portable books that are full of ideas. Ruth is very good at picking a stitch for small areas, too, which is going to come in very handy.

And here are the books to buy if you are doing lots of canvas embellishment:

The Stitches for Effect series of books are The Bible for someone who needs help choosing stitches for their canvas. Written by Suzanne Howren and the late Beth Robertson, there are three books in the series. They are organized by effect so that if you need a stitch for snowflakes, you can look in the index and find stitches recommended for snow and snowflakes, etc. The front of each book talks about various threads and the companies that produce them which is helpful if you aren't familiar with many threads or don't have a shop nearby and have to mail order supplies. These are the Bible of Canvas Embellishment and anyone who does a lot of it will want these three books.

Suzanne and Beth also wrote Stitches to Go which is all the stitch diagrams from their Stitches for Effects series, but there is nothing else in the book.  It's just diagrams, no thread information or index to find all the stitches that work for roofs or baskets or whatever.  It's a terrific book but it's not geared toward helping you master canvas embellishment.  It is a stitch dictionary instead, more like the stitch diagram books from Brenda Hart, SuZy Murphy or Ruth Schmuff.

If the books above are helpful to you, you might want to round out your embellishment library with others:

The folks at Little Shoppe Canvas Company have two great books for those looking for stitches to create an effect on their canvas.  Their first book is called Stitch Landscape (or just Landscape).  It has a ton of stitches that look like clouds, flowers, grass, mountains, sand, bushes, sky, snow, dirt, stones, trees and bark, and water.

Little Shoppe's second book is called Stitch Ins and Outs (or just Ins and Outs).  Like Landscape, it is a collection of stitches for interior items and building exteriors.  You'll find stitches for barns, baskets,  bricks, buildings, chimneys, fabrics, floors, houses and their moldings, patios, pavements, roofs, rugs, trims, borders, walls, wallpaper and windows.

Little Shoppe also has a third book out called Winter, but this is spot motifs and borders for winter themes and winter holidays.  It is more suitable for backgrounds, borders and samplers made up of these elements.  You can use some of the stitches here for embellishment but this is a slightly different book from the first two, so only buy it if you are in love with their series of books.

Carole Lake and Michael Boren co-authored Painted Canvas Embellishment: An Idea Book several years back.  This is a larger, longer,  less portable version of Carole's Just in the Nick of Time.  If you really like Nick of Time and want more information along these lines, invest in this book. It is nearly twice the length of Nick of Time.

Carole and Michael also have written Desert Island Stitches:  Book One.  This is a book full of stitches suitable for small areas. As I mentioned in the blurb for Ruth Dilts' books, small areas are a constant problem for embellishment needlepointers and this book is very helpful for picking stitches for tiny areas.  It's the same size as the Nick of Time book, so it's very portable.  (Desert Island Stitches: Volume Two is all about borders, by the way.)

UPDATE:  StitchWiz really likes all of Brenda Hart's books (Favorite Stitches, Favorite Stitches Book Two and Stitches for the Millennium) a lot.  The diagrams have suggestions for threads and areas to use the stitches in.  I use these books more than any other series.  They are not for beginners but if you are comfortable doing canvas embellishment, these are a Must Have.

I'd forgotten that June McKnight has a terrific series of books, including Architectural Stitches for Needlepoint and Plants and Animals in Needlepoint.  Both have great ideas for stitching buildings and animals and plants.


To read my articles on Learning to Embellish a Painted Canvas, click on any of these links or use the tabs at the top of the page.

No comments: