New Book: finishing

I have my father to thank for my love of books; I never remember him not having a book to read in his position. Somewhere I have a bookmark where he wrote; “a good book is sometimes the best company to keep.”  AND, I have procrastination down to an art…but I learned this from my mother. She had to own every book, magazine and all the tools and supplies on a subject before she tried doing it. I remember tole painting…I didn’t think she would ever get around to putting brush to paint. After reading and taking several classes she tole painted a few pieces…she was really rather good at it too.

14-06-12_finishing101So, I stopped the finishing and read Pat’s book and it is a good one. Great advice and it is more than a finishing book, it has thoughts on the whole process of stitching. I loved that she said to read all the finishing instructions before starting and to adapt your own style of finishing. I think that’s great advice, what I might do to my piece you might not like on yours and I am not opposed to glue in certain instances and Pat doesn’t use glue.

The first third of the book is general information about needlework and finishing. I found it very interesting and also thought provoking. She takes about everything from clean hands; how to make a blocking board and how to make trims. She gives you suggestions for where to obtain or make those little things that will make finishing easier.

The major part of the book Pat walks you through how she finished several different pieces of needlework. I had a “AH-Ha” moment while reading one of these instructions for a finishing idea I’ve been mulling around in my head. And another I wish I had read before I did the Henny Penny Eyeglass case ( last year…would have made finishing much easier.

This has long been the advice of needlepoint books to know what your needlepoint will be after it is stitched and if it requires fabric then purchase it and then pick your threads. This is great advice but we seldom do this, we just expect our finisher to find just the perfect match. And like Pat said you’re not likely to find much apple green when hunter green is all the rage.

Another thing we never think about when we take our stuff to the finisher is her costs. She has to buy fabric, remember decorator fabrics are 55 inches wide and the finisher has to buy the whole width; dress fabrics are only 44-45 inches wide but she still has to buy the width. And your green may not be my green even if we were in a class together and I may want my pillow 15 inches while 12 inches is your size. And in some decorator shops there is a yardage minimum unless you happen to find a remnant, but if you order that special fabric there is a minimum.  This drives the cost of your pillow up…finishers have to figure they may never use the rest of the fabric purchased for your pillow. And we haven’t even talked about the trims, ribbons and do-dads that make you needlework special. So please remember this the next time you wince at the cost of finishing what really goes into the cost of finishing that ornament, pillow or whatever…and it’s not just the cost of the materials but also the time and cost it took to look for that special fabric, ribbon, do-dad.

Pat also suggests you start a notebook with your own finishing hints; I have a 3 inch binder that I keep all sorts of finishing notes from ideas that appeal to me; helpful hints I have garnered from other needlework teachers; to finishing instructions I have written for other needlework projects. I’m sure I will need a larger notebook before I am finished.

Pat’s Bibliography and Sources is very good. She has far more books in her finishing library than I have in mine…but she finishes professionally and I am but a dabbler. This book also has possible design patterns with information on how to use.

I am not indorsing any one book but I will tell you I am glad I have the books I have in my library (See 2 posts back for list:  From Pat’s book, my newest addition, through Edie Weilemann, Sandy Higgins and Summer Truswell’s books (, I will be reading the how to’s before I start a project. I also hope to take lots of pictures and do lots of notes and drawings for my notebook. I glad I have my old books too ( Pat calls them her: “Classic Books”) by Dorothy Burchette and  Katharine Ireys, they have some unusual finishing items that I may want to try , plus some helpful timeless hints.  And I am going to look through my Singer books for ideas, not to mention the interne.  And next time I am at the fabric sore I am going to look at the pattern books for ideas too, maybe someone has already invented my wheel… and of course the book section (this girl can never have too many  books…my family would disagree but they are wrong.) .

Reading Pat’s book has affirmed for me that I can do my own finishing; I may not be as fast or as good as the finisher who does this all the time, but I can do this. And it does not mean that I am not going to send needlepoint to the finisher, it just means I can do this and I can share my ideas with others.

So it is back to the sewing table; summer is here and I want to make lots of progress.

I’ll be back later in the week I finished stitching Betsy and I had some issues; not with the canvas Anne Stradal ABS Designs ( or paints a great canvas. I had a problem with a thread. Later this week.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today! I’ll be stitching some finishing. ttfn…sue


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