I couldn’t have stitched a dozen Christmas stockings without the series of three “Stitches for Effect” by Howren and Robertson. Each book has the same format. The first section is devoted to describing threads (very useful when a thread you aren’t familiar with is called for or if you want to substitute something you have on hand). There is a very handy thread to canvas conversion chart that tells you how many ply of a thread to use on a particular mesh, although I do find they tend to stitch “thinner” than I sometimes like. The next section is what it is all about. Stitches are listed in alphabetical order and are accompanied by a very clear, numbered diagram (have you noticed that some diagrams don’t tell you where to start, stop or continue???). The book recommends threads for effects and what effect you may be able to create. Best of all, one of the 4 indices is the Effect Index. Need ideas for bricks, moldings, clothing, paths, roads, whatever? Look them up and see which will best suit your canvas. When I’m too tired to stitch or I can’t figure out what to do next, I prop my canvas up and open these books for ideas. All 3 are available on our website.

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