Really cross stitch for when you just want to stab something a lot

Fahey, Rayna

London, Herbert Press, 2017  ISBN: 978 1 9122 1704 5 96 pages 

If profane language upsets you, do not peek within the covers of this book. If feminism infuriates you, ditto. It is a book of acerbic commentary, illustrated with a few pertinent photos. The introduction is a plea to MAKE this world better. How? By saving the world, one stitch at a time. This is followed by a (very) short history of the craft revolution. There are the obligatory basics and needs sections and then two pages devoted on to how to cross stitch – the only stitch used in this book. Four sections follow, each preceded with a double page photograph. The first, to give you a flavour of the book, is entitled, ‘Fight like a girl’.  

There are several cross-stitch projects, all quotes, enhanced with decorative elements. I shall pick out a few inoffensive ones… many are too risqué to put in our newsletter…be warned! 

• I’m really quite cross 

• Build kindness, not walls 

• Grab ‘em by the patriarchy 

• Science is NOT a liberal conspiracy. 

You get the idea? If you are a Trump supporter, or a global warming denier perusing this book, you may well want to stab something a lot – probably the author! 

Brief mentions… 

Criss crossing Paris; journey to the heart of Paris in 20 cross-stitch designs, by Fiona Sinclair and SallyAnne Hayes. With one exception, I found the designs in this book a bit dated. The only one which really appealed, inspired by carved stonework, is on pages 72-77, the skill level described as difficult. 

Joyful daily stitching, seam by seam, by Valerie Bothell, is a delightful addition to stitch dictionaries which describe combinations of stitches for crazy patchwork addicts. The stitches can, with a little imagination, be used for other projects. Beads and ribbon are both incorporated into some combinations. A truly lovely book. 

Some time ago, I reviewed a book by Kazuko Aoki, who is inspired by the flowers she grows in her New York garden. I was so impressed that I bought myself a copy and may well buy her new book too. Called ‘Embroidered garden flowers; botanical motifs for needle and thread,’ it is every bit as inspirational as her first book – prettily illustrated, and with excellent instructions. 

Erica Marsden