I’m mostly a self-taught stitcher, although I am indebted to Brenda Hart for teaching me lots of new tricks. A good reference library is invaluable for learning to use new stitches and to learn proper techniques. Not every book, however, is worth having on hand. These are some of my favorites:
Jo Christensen’s “Needlepoint Book” is called the “Bible of Needlepoint” by many. The first 7 chapters are crammed with all the information you need to begin needlepointing, making the correct choices in threads and colors, finishing, blocking and so much more. Chapters 8-17 group decorative stitches by type (straight, diagonal, cross, tied, etc.) and provide a drawing and a black and white close-up photograph of the stitch. Each chapter is preceded by chart that lists each stitch in that chapter and its characteristics—good backing, fast to stitch, yarn hog, snag-proof, distorts canvas and on and on for 21 descriptions. This book is a must have for any serious needlepointer. It will take you from beginner to Intermediate and beyond, or just makes a great reference when a stitch guide calls for a stitch you don’t remember or haven’t tried. We have this book with regular binding or spiral bound.
If this seems overwhelming to a newbie, The National NeedleArts Association publishes a 30 page paperback for $6.50 that takes you from beginner to advanced beginner and is not at all intimidating. It’s a great gift combo with a starter canvas and available on our website.