Patchwork of Peace – Needlepoint Book Review

Originally posted 2009-07-28 07:02:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I know this book has been out awhile and is very popular. I’ve not looked at it because I didn’t want to stitch the project. But I looked at it recently and have to say that it’s a disappointment.
In order to get enough out of the book to make it worth the cost, not only do you need to stitch the project, but you also have to be an experienced needlepointer, able to read stitch diagrams and also decipher a stitch from a sample. Why? Because every stitch is charted and many of the charts have mistakes in them so you need to do the stitch from the picture of the block.
The book says it has 247+ stitches, but far too many of them are simple variations of each other. This is fine when I’m using it as a guide to stitch the canvas, but limits its usefulness after. Without a guide or table to stitches and how they relate, how can I use this for another canvas? The two indexes there are include one with stitches to use for particular areas and another with a listing of stitches with the stitch and page numbers.
Information needed to stitch the canvas is sketchy as well. There is a table showing you thread types and colors, but no indication of amounts or where they are used. As a result, I am left completely to my own devices to decide which two blues are used for stitch 18 and which of the blue threads is used for stitch 26. Maybe I should just be willing to use whatever takes my fancy, but it might have been nice to have added a line telling me what the model used, since the picture of the block is right there.
There is a full color picture of the finished project after the thread table and then another table, with no explanation, that shows, I think, which stitch (by number) is used where. The stitches in the book seem to be put into the book with no rhyme or reason. Stitch 1 is in the upper left, stitch 2 is in the lower right, 3 is in the lower left, but where is stitch 4? It’s two thirds over in the middle. Having a variety of block colors on each page makes for a pretty book, but not a useful one. I’d hate to try to stitch the project from this book.
The diagrams are in color with two thread stitches being diagrammed in two colors. But often the diagrams are poorly drawn or have obvious mistakes I opened the book to a page at random; there are three stitches diagrammed. One stitch is correct. Another one has stitches that charted so that if you didn’t already know the stitch, you couldn’t know how it was made. There is no text to help me with the stitch, so I can’t even try to figure it out. The third stitch has colors and stitch outlines that don’t line up, making it look like the stitch is vibrating there on the page. Many pages have mistakes such as these.
The pictures are uneven in quality with some being very fuzzy.
My feeling after examining this book is that it was put together quickly after the project was stitched without any real thought about how to make it a successful project book or stitch guide, and with no consideration about how people might use it later. Just because the original piece is good, doesn’t mean you can slap a book together and expect stitchers to pay over $60 for the book when you can’t even be bothered to give people enough information to stitch the canvas.
We, as stitchers, deserve better than this.

Comments

  1. Joyce Shannon says

    I actually did that piece from the book – it came out wonderful, but I did struggle. I agree with all your comments. I do think that the book was only intended as a stitch guide to a painted canvas because there are many stitches where you can see the canvas underneath. I had my stitch how to books around me the whole time I worked on the piece.
    I had thought that paying $60.00 to learn all those stitches wasn’t bad – but it is after having to consult other stitch books to figure out the stitches.

  2. Coni says

    Thank you for such a comprehensive review. I wish I had read it BEFORE throwing this thing out the window and then backing my car over it. Repeatedly. I wanted to do this as my “Olympic” project, but I’m afraid that I just didn’t have it in me to keep going.

    And thanks to your review, I don’t feel like the only stitcher on the planet who thought this was a disappointment. Ahhhhh, vindication at last!

  3. Mary Lou Heinig says

    I wish I had had the review also before spending the $60. What a rip off. I also had planned on doing the front cover as a project. Thank goodness at least I did not start it but I sure am disappointed. We who bought the book ought to get a refund as there are so many errors in it. Who proofread it anyway.

    Thanks again for your great column.

  4. Barbara says

    I totally agree with the evaluation of this book! I was warned ahead of time about the errors, but I would still like to tackle the project.
    Can anyone who has done this project recommend a supply list? I’m not very familiar with all the fibers available, but I’m pretty sure I can get them if I have a list.
    Thanks so much.
    Barbara

  5. Grace Bruzelius says

    I have a collection of Needlepoint hardback books, quilting books, embrodery books. Work Basket magazine (60) etc. I would like to sell some were published 40 to 60 years ago. In very good condion. Could you give me some advise on the best way to sell them. Do they sell on e Bay, or another Neddle craft on line store.
    Thanks. Grace

  6. Pat Cooney says

    There is a Facebook page called “Patchwork of Peace” . .. all who are interested in this piece are welcome. I will gladly share my experience and thread combinations to anyone interested.

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