A Pageantry of Patterns


Sherlee Lantz

I’m doodling with my next couple of “feature” post ideas.

Needlepoint Land has two types of posts:  light and breezy quickies, usually humorous (or at least, trying to be so), and longer, serendipitous pieces that are designed to cover some interesting subject that you might not normally encounter in a traditional needlepoint blog.

There are plenty of sources about particular stitching techniques, so I won’t focus on these as much here.  I won’t ignore them, of course, particularly as I have some surprise old-school goodies coming down the pike.

In the meantime, I’ll mention a seminal reference book, in which stitching techniques are covered more or less exhaustively.  More on that at the end of this post.

One of my upcoming features will be a review of a book about what happens when you “go online” to visit an e-commerce site.  I alluded to this book in an earlier post.  It’s called The Daily You, by Joseph Turow, and it was published in 2011 by Yale University.

It’s a very dry read, but I will give it the Needlepoint Land treatment, which means I’ll try to review the book in an off-the-wall way, for your entertainment, dear viewer, sometime during the next week, unless life gets in the way.  Anyone who visits a web site or blog, whether it’s about needlepoint or not, ought read this book, or, absent that, check out my standup routine review.

Also in the pipeline (and which I will probably publish first) is a piece that I have thought about writing for the last week or two.  It’s a subject that has long interested me, namely, why do we needlepoint?  More generally still, why do people create needlepoint art?  Aside from commercial reasons, or passing the time of day, I think there is much to say on the subject, and of the roles, if you will, played by the canvas designer, the canvas painter, and the actual stitcher (all these can of course be performed interchangeably by the same person, as is done by some viewers who visit this blog).  Keeping in mind my intent to avoid the obvious, I’ll approach the subject by starting off with Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, include something about the Bayeux Tapestry, and go from there.

It’ll be interesting to see if these two features are liked by Needlepoint Land viewers, as the received wisdom on this sort of thing is that it’s Internet anathema for any piece to run beyond 300-500 words long.  That blog readers have the attention span of a gnat.  I say, hogwash.  The most popular post on this site so far has been the Zen and Needlepoint one.  And I have the impression that it was read not only by patient needlepoint stitchers.  Based on the popularity of this post, I now have a sense that my super ultra sophisticated readership enjoys more than the usual quick bloggie fix, so I’ll take the risk in writing these other two pieces, and see how they fare.

Finally, I ought to leave you with something that’s maybe more practical, and immediate, as I slink into my own cave of dreams for the next few days, in order to have time to compose these features.  So here’s today’s useful bit.

Sherlee Lantz

If you are a novice needlepointer, or even someone with oodles of experience, and you asked me what is the one book you should have about Needlepoint Stitching, I would say it’s definitely A Pageant of Pattern for Needlepoint Canvas, by Sherlee Lantz (it has diagrams by Maggie Lane, and sumptuous photos taken at the Richard Avedon Studio).

Published in 1973 by Grosset & Dunlap, New York, the large form hardback has over 500 pages.  Admired by the likes of Jules Feiffer, the famous Village Voice cartoonist and playwright, this is a definitive reference tome on the subject, and you cannot go wrong acquiring it.  In fact, it’s a masterpiece on the art of needlepointing.  The images here are of my own dog-eared, tattered copy.

It’s can be more than a little pricey, bought “new,” at collectible resellers.  Luckily, there’s a used, original 1973 edition available, as I type this, at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan at a very reasonable price.

Grab it.

© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016.

About Erin

Owner of Needlepoint Land, LLC. Professional in the field for more than 15 years, during which I have managed and/or worked with various high-end needlepoint shops. I enjoy teaching both beginners and advanced stitchers, and have created numerous stitch guides, with speciality thread selections, for in-store customers and private clients. I maintain contact with an extensive network of needlepoint vendors, custom artists, and, most importantly, reliable, high-quality finishers. I look forward to hearing your comments on my blog!

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