I picked up a copy of Robert Capes Creative Needlepoint - inspirational ideas and techniques for creating original designs at the thrift shop last week. I don't think it's actually intended to be a pattern book, but I love the way it's set up. Most of the projects are reproduced as numbered line drawings, like a paint-by-number. Then there are several pages of text, explaining what stitches and techniques were used in each of those numbered spaces. That's a lot more instruction than comes with my thrifted crewel kits!
I haven't read it from cover to cover yet, but definitely will.