Reviews of Spooky Stitches
by June McKnight
March/April 2011 (Volume X111, No. 2)
Recently premiered at the January TNNA (The National Needlearts Association), Spooky Stitches is June McKnight’s fifteenth book on needlepoint techniques. Inspired by the vast amount of Halloween canvas designs and incredible threads with which to embellish them, June compiled stitches and techniques to help bring these canvases to life. This is the first book published that is dedicated solely to the second most decorated holiday after Christmas.
The impact, user-friendly 4.5” x 6” book follows the format of June’s previous titles. The spiral-bound, index card-style makes the book easy to stand up near your needlework for easy viewing. Don’t let this little book fool you. It may be small, but it packs a big punch. June considers this to be her most ambitious book to date with more than 70 needlepoint stitches. Included are many stitches that have never been published before. “Snap bat” and “snap cat” use a common snap and a few stitches to make adorable faces. DMC’s Memory thread through Rainbow Gallery’s Flair are used to create steam rising our a witch’s cauldron. Wrapping a pony bead with Rainbow Gallery’s Frosty Rays to create a three-dimensional pumpkin is one of many innovative techniques June includes.
June provides a list of stitches that are appropriate for architecture, backgrounds, borders, clothing, novelties and other categories, plus the book is arranged with the stitches in alphabetical order and a complete index in the back.
The 165-page book has full color throughout. Each stitch is illustrated with a photograph as well as a chart. With wonderful names for stitches such as “Devil’s Underwear” and “Frog Tracks”, this book is a delight to peruse.
February 24, 2011
Janet M. Perry
This book is a must if you like to stitch Halloween canvases, but I think it’s a wonderfully clever stitch book even if you’d rather die than stitch a jack o’lantern.
Like her previous book on stitches for over-dye threads (previously reviewed), two pages are given to each stitch. On the left is a picture of the stitch, on white canvas, done in Halloween colors. The threads used are below each picture. On the right is a diagram of the stitch along with stitching notes or an explanation about how to use it.
At first I wasn’t sure about doing the open stitches on white canvas, they looked so bare. But as I thought about it, it made wonderful sense, I won’t be using them on white canvas, but on colored areas. So the open canvas and my threads will work together beautifully.
Beyond the many open stitches, some of which will make fantastic borders, there are plenty of inventive solid stitches. My favorite is a Scotch Stitch variation called Clinker Brick.
June also has a delightful introduction about the challenges of Halloween stitching, in it you’ll find more great ideas.
But the most useful part of the book is a section called “Pumpkin Parts.” It puts together three coordinated stitches, in different scales that you can use to stitch the carved sections of a pumpkin to give you a sense of distance. But I immediately kept thinking of other common situations: hills in the distance of a landscape, building in a town, or even the sides of a house.
This is great and useful stuff.
Besides this, there are delightful and inventive ideas for stitching spiders, witches, bats and cats. And lots of easy ways to incorporate something different in your stitching.
This book is a real gem.
I like the nice pocket size of the book and the sturdy glossy paper. I only have one small quibble and that’s the spooky font June uses throughout. While it certainly sets the tone, it might be hard for older eyes to read. I’d have used it for the stitch names only and switched to a more conventional font for the text.