Stitch Graffiti Book Review: Unexpected Cross Stitch by Heather Holland-Daly of Monsterbubbles

Stitch Graffiti – Unexpected Cross Stitch by Heather Holland-Daly , owner of Monsterbubbles, is a long way from your run-of-the-mill cross stitch design. The book will appeal to crafters from other areas as well as cross stitchers looking for something different. Heather Holland-Daly explores the versatile nature of the craft by presenting the reader with over 25 unusual designs. Some of the projects are presented framed in a traditional manner, however many more are presented in an innovative way. A cross stitched patch for jeans, fly swat or bracelet are all interesting ways to use cross stitch design. Throughout the book, Heather Holland-Daily provides plenty of other inspiration and ideas for variations.

The Book

The book is broken down into two broad sections. The first section provides the background, giving information about canvas, thread and basic stitching. There is enough detail here to help beginners with the projects, however this is not a “how-to” cross stitch book. The section talks about supplies and even experienced stitchers will find this useful, for instance some of the projects are stitched onto nylon screen. Information about fabric count will help stitchers work out how to substitute fabric for a project. Heather Holland-Daily also talks about the use of hand dyed yarns and the illustrations of projects stitched with hand dyed yarns should inspire stitchers looking to achieve different effects within their projects.

The second section covers the projects. Each project has a chart and supply information (including DMC embroidery thread); in addition to this readers may find it unusual to find ‘stitching tunes’. For each project a list of recommended tunes is provided – take them or leave them, this is certainly a different approach! Heather writes a personal note about each project along with ideas for other ways of using the project. This is a really useful feature and will help to inspire people who like a design but not the way it is used. This demonstrates the versatility of cross stitch. There are also some useful hints and tips for presenting the work, for instance how to paint a frame.

Liner Notes

Throughout the book Heather Holland-Daly gives suggestions in ‘liner notes’ about how projects can be adapted, and the alphabet chart towards the rear of the book will enable people to stitch their own words and sayings. The tips about dying fabric and threads will help stitchers create their own unique supplies to customize their projects. Tips are also given for embellishing designs with beads and unusual framing ideas.

Photos and Charts

The projects are clearly illustrated with color photographs which are attractively presented, yet present the project so the detail can be seen. The color charts are large enough to be easily read and are clear for a beginner.

Who Will Enjoy This Book?

This is an excellent book for beginners who have been put off cross stitching because of twee designs or unimaginative projects. Stitch Graffiti would also be a good book for a stitcher feeling a little jaded and looking for a new perspective on the craft as well as being of interest to crafters of other disciplines – for instance other fabric arts – looking to extend their skills into new areas or introduce a new dimension to their work.

While some of the projects look challenging, they are actually quite accessible and even novice stitchers ought to be able to successfully complete the majority of the projects. Some of the projects are small enough to be completed in an evening which many stitchers will find satisfying. The projects can be used as patches or other accessories and embellishments that can adorn other sewing projects.

The publishers, Interweave Press, have an electronic preview of the book on their website and this is an excellent way to find out more about the book.

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