You are here
40 Year-Old Needlepoint Books That Will Rock Your World Today
So, I think about needlepoint a lot, because I think about plastic canvas a lot. Sadly, there don't seem to be very many current needlepoint books on the market that work with my design sensibilities, so I maintain a stash of carefully-guarded old books.
Today, I thought I'd share some of my very favorites. (Excepting my all-time fave, Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men, which I reviewed a while back.) There are still used copies of all these titles out there, and I've included some links, but don't forget to also search eBay and Etsy. Keep your eyes open at your local thrift store, and you just might score copies for next to nothing.
The Complete Guide to Creative Needlepoint,
Jo Bucher 1973
This is just an excellent go-to reference I find myself turning to time and again. When I want to learn a new stitch, I pick this one up first, and usually it's the only one I need.
There isn't a lot to show you of the interior – it's black and white inside with a few inset color pages (as craft books often were in the 70's). You'll find very detailed diagrams of 200 different needlepoint stitches, and a lot of information on working with traditional needlepoint canvases.
In the back, a series of projects using needlepointed canvas. My favorites being these neckties, collar, and cuffs, which… wouldn't they have weighed a lot? Still, you can use the project instructions to turn needlepoint into things like coasters, small item cases, pillows, lamp bases, and more.
Better Homes & Gardens Needlepoint, 1978
This book is part of a craft series - slim volumes of projects in various techniques. I mostly keep it around because 70s-era BHG is a wondrous fount of craft-crazy, and I get endless inspiration looking at the pictures.
In Needlepoint, there are 35 projects and a few pages about handling traditional canvas. The photography is pure BHG, and as always, many of the project ideas are really surprising (in a slightly not-sane way). They were true modernists, those 70's BHG designers.
Also, there's a plastic canvas project. So, you know, 50 extra points.
The New World of Needlepoint,
Lisbeth Perrone 1972
What I love about this book is that it's more about repeating pattern designs than individual stitches. They're beautifully presented in groups, stitched in saturated colors. And then each design is presented in diagram form
Being someone who approaches needlepoint with a hacker's mindset, I do find these stitch diagrams a little challenging to follow, especially for complex patterns. But I've always been able to figure them out by simply noodling them out on some scrap canvas.
This is a great book to have on hand for when you've come up with a great plastic canvas form and need some pretty stitchery to fill up the panels. Also, that font!! Another 50 extra points for that.
Needleplay, Erica Wilson 1975
The real joy of this book is the visual inspiration it offers. Erica Wilson's projects are modern and exuberant, and many of them look as fresh as if they were designed yesterday. She takes inspiration from all over the world, and she covers all kinds of things in stitchery.
Also, there are projects for plastic canvas, which she refers to as "Space Age Canvas." So… let's say 1,000 extra points for that.
(Incidentally, did you know that you can watch some clips from Erica over on YouTube?)