Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Book Review

Book review
A cross Stitcher’s Oriental Odyssey
By Joan Elliott for design works crafts
(a David and Charles book 2001)

                Stuck in the library while my car was being serviced I took the opportunity to browse the craft books and was delighted to find a book by Joan Elliott. Those of you who have read this blog for a little while now know that I am a big fan of Joan and aspire to be like her.
                It’s been out a while so you might have seen this book, but it was new to me.
                I would have taken this book home in an instant, but unfortunately I’m out of my area and not actually a member of this library. 
                As usual Joan has created some stunning designs for this volume. The complexity of the patterns in the Kimono’s alone is astounding. Unfortunately that complexity comes at a price. Even by looking at the patterns I could tell they would drive me nuts to stitch. The intricate floral patterns that are so much a part of oriental decoration require small areas of stitching in lots of different colours, and alas ... masses of backstitching. I hate backstitching. But I could possibly be swayed by these divine patterns. There are one or two patterns in the book that are not as intricate and require less back stitching. However I suggest this book is not really for beginners or the faint hearted.
                I adore the little bonsai tree on page 42 (I’ll may try this chart) and the dragonfly border on page 94. Much as I think the oriental ladies are stunning with their doll like faces and serene backgrounds, I won’t be attempting them. I already have a UFO that I abandoned because of the amount of backstitch in it.
                Apart from the patterns the book includes some interesting information about oriental culture. I wasn’t aware that a Kimono is a symbol of a woman’s wealth.
                If you are enamoured with oriental designs and not afraid of colour changes, or backstitching, this is definitely the book for you.

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