Needlecrafts

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General Information

This guide is designed to help in finding more information about various needlecrafts including cross-stitch, needlepoint or tapestry, knitting, crocheting and sewing.

These crafts are best learned by example from a more experienced practitioner, however, this is often not an option. Most people these days learn from books and there are literally thousands of books on this subject. It can be difficult to select a resource, especially for a beginner. Directions even for basic stitches can be confusing at first, and many patterns use abbreviations which many not be clear. Because of this, it is generally best to go to a book store or library and look at the books before deciding which to purchase. Read the instructions and look at the pictures and see if they make sense, and fit your learning style, before you buy. Also check to see if there is a table of abbreviations in the book (they are usually located in the back or front of the book).

Craft books generally come in three varieties. The first is a beginners, or general instruction book. It is a good idea to have access to one for reference, even for experienced practitioners. The second is a project book. These generally have a number of different projects, organized around a central theme. They usually include basic instructions for completing the projects in the book, and frequently have lists of suppliers in the back. They offer more variety than the general instruction books, but many of the projects can be difficult for a beginner, or are too large. The third type is a pattern book. These books usually offer very little in the way of instruction. However, they allow the reader to combine different elements in the book into their own unique creations. I have created a list of books with an example of each of these types. Once again, before purchasing a book, it is a good idea to take the time to look at it first. These books should be available most bookstores and some libraries, and are a good place to start. They can also be found at a local bookstore or online at Amazon.com or Barnes &Noble.

Note: It is especially important to select a book with an stitch guide for crochet (usually located in the back). British and US stitch names differ, and it is necessiary to read the forward to determine which convention is being used.

The Needlecraft Encyclopedia
by Judy Brittan (Portland House, 1997)
This book has instructions on a wide variety of needlecrafts. It gives good instructions and examples of patterns. It includes information on crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, embroidery, quilting, sewing and much more.

Anchor Complete Embroidery Course
by Christina Marsh (David &Charles, 1998)
A good general resource for embroidery. Contains detailed instructions and small projects for learning.

How to Knit - The Definitive Knitting Course Complete with Step-by-Step Techniques, Stitch Library and Projects for Your Home and Family
by Debbie Bliss (March 1999)
A good book, but specializes in knitting. It has instructions and projects for learning purposes.

Needlepoint Cats
By Julie Hasler (August 1998)
A project based book for tapesty ot needlepoint. Good pictures, instructions and color guide.

Charted Folk Designs for Cross-Stitch Embroidery
Collected by Maria Foris, Ed. by Andreas Foris (Dover Needlework, 1975)
A cross-stitch pattern book. It contains 278 'plates' or designs. The crafter must combine the patterns into a meaningful project

There are many other books, and most specialize (knitting, crochet, embroidery) in one area. Many are simply pattern books, especially in cross-stitch and tapestry. Keywords to look for are knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlecrafts

Places to Start on the Web:

There are many, many sites on the web for arts &crafts. Many, even commercial sites, offer free patterns and instruction. If a site looks interesting, it may be worth visiting for that reason alone.


Cross-stitch and Embroidery Sites

Needleworker Magazine (http://www.interweave.com/)
"Discover The NeedleWorker Magazine - the magazine for lovers of beautiful handwork. Every issue will bring you designs and projects for cross stitch, step-by-step instructions for specialty stitches, and new techniques to add texture and dimension to your work".

Wonderful Stitches (http://www.needlework.com/)
This is a nice site with good pictures and discussion of things related to needlework.

Blackwork Embroidery Archives (http://www.blackworkarchives.com/)
This site has information, history and patterns for Elizabethian Blackwork embroidery.

Knitting and Crochet

Wool Works (http://www.woolworks.org)
Nice site for discussion, patterns and links to other crafters and suppliers.

About.com Knitting (http://knitting.about.com/)
A lot of information about knitting, how to do it, patterns, etc.

About.com Crochet (http://crochet.about.com/hobbies/crochet/mbody.htm)
A good online resource

Suppliers

Here are two links to Internet suppliers of craft materials. Many craft books are imported from the UK, and the materials described many not have US equialent. It is often possible to find these materials on the Internet. Another issue when purchasing craft supplies is that even if they are avalible in the US, they may not be in a craft store near you. If you find that you cannot find the materials you need in a local store or on the Internet, you may want to ask at a local store if they know of a substitute. For example, many needlepoint books use threads not avalible in the US and difficult to find on the Internet. However, there are conversion charts to convert thread colors from one manufacturer to another.


Herrschners (http://www.herrschners.com/)
This is a strictly commercial site, but it is a good resource for hard to find supplies.

DMC (http://www.dmc-usa.com/)
The manufacturers of the most widely used embroidery floss, crewel wool and tapestry wool in the US. They do not sell at this site, but there is a store locator and a list of online shops which sell their products.

Petit Point (http://www.petitpoint.co.uk/)
A UK company that sells most tapestry and crewel wools


This pathfinder created by Rebecca Chamberlain.