Threadscapes – Book Review

Lois Kershner, self-published, 2012 ISBN978-1-4675-1069-1

Lois’s threadscape needlepoints are so wonderfully compelling: take a stunning landscape and use it as the basis of needlepoint. Others have created needlepoint postcards in the past, but Lois’s pieces not only depict the scene, they make it better. Visit her website and see some she offers as classes and you’ll immediately see what I mean.

Better than taking a class to do one of these projects, though wonderful in itself, is learning how to do your own version of these lovely threadscapes.

This new book is designed both to give you the tools and techniques you need to stitch a threadscape, and to give you the confidence to do one on your own. In this Lois succeeds admirably.

The book is divided into three sections. The first chapter handles design considerations in creating a threadscape. I like that it applies many tried and true design principles to needlepoint and landscapes while showing us, through pictures of both landscapes and their stitched versions how these principles apply.

This topic is so large that volumes could be written on it, but the helpful bibliographgy in back has excellent resources listed to deepen your understanding.

One extremely helpful aspect of this section is the stitch for perspective table. It summarizes neatly each design element (color, line, etc) and what should be in different areas of the canvas. Even if you never design your own threadscape, having this will improve your stitching.

Once design considerations have been handled, Lois gets down to the process of how to design your own threadscape in the next five chapters. Not only does she describe the process of creating your design, she looks at issues unique to needlepoint such as canvas and thread choice and how they apply to this process. The planning and designing process goes down to the level of deciding, and writing down, threads and stitches. I could see these considerations as helpful for any stitcher.

The second section of the book goes into depth on many of the techniques used in threadscapes. Some of these considerations, such as stitch direction or exposed canvas will be familiar to most stitchers. Others, though, such as coloring portions of the canvas with stamp pads, or applying roving to be fog, are new. Once again, I can see so many of these techniques being used on other pieces.

The final section is her stitch dictionary. Stitches for eleven types of items are diagrammed. The diagrams are large and often in more than one shade. Stitches are numbered and many have arrows. Helpfully, each stitch is named. A small number of stitches appear in more than one section. The stitches shown are a nice mix of stitches that have full coverage and stitches for exposed canvas.

My only concern is that the numbers in these diagrams are very tiny.

At the end of the book you will find a perspective evaluation checklist that will help you apply design elements to your design as well as serving as a double-check for your potential design. By following the checklist you will get a better and stronger design, even if it is not a landscape.

Finally there is a stitch index. It’s more useful than many because it lists both the diagrammed stitch but where you can see a picture of the stitch in action in one of Lois’s pieces.

There are relatively few books in the needlepoint world that help stitchers design their own work. That makes this book very useful. When you couple this with a revolutionary and accessible idea for creating your own original needlepoint designs, you get something really special. This book is a real treasure and I am so glad Lois has shared her vision with us.

Please note: A copy of this book was provided to me for review. In addition, several friends were in the pilot class for this book, although I did not know that until I read their names in the book. I have also taken a class doing one of Lois’s threadscapes.

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