One of my all time favourite embroidery books is Made in France* and since its release there has followed a whole stable of further embroidery books under the same label. Cross-stitch Samplersby Marjorie Massey is amongst that group. As usual I bought this book online (my one and only local bookshop’s craft section is mostly terrible – unless you’re a really big fan of Kirstie Allsop), so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, so when I first received it I have to admit I was a little disappointed, as at first glance most of the designs seemed too old fashioned for my tastes (you know how there’s ‘old fashioned’ and then there’s old fashioned, sorry I can’t tell you what the difference is either but I think it could be broadly defined as something your granny would like versus that indescribable old fashioned something that appeals to a more younger generation), however I did quite like a series of heart patterns within the book (the fox on the front cover is one of them) and as I was after something to do purely for the joys of stitching I made a start on one (it happened to be the fox). And you know what? As I stitched I grew in love with the book. At first glance, yes, most of the patterns are old fashioned but I love how they are either monochrome (in either red or blue) or use just a limited palette of different shades of blue and that does add more of a modern touch (and I don’t know what I was expecting really, the first Made in France book is pretty old fashioned to).
The photography in the book is pretty gorgeous but I like how some of the patterns also have little diagrams to show what the pattern would look like if red instead of blue (in the case of the fox for example) or the other way round.
Talking of diagrams, after having to squint at the charts in a few cross stitch books recently, it was a pleasure to see such easily readable charts in this book.
As I loved stitching the first heart, my go to stitching for the sake of stitching, for those moments when I wanted to quickly grab some stitching before settling down for a night in front of the TV, I couldn’t resist stitching a second heart from the book once I’d finished the first.
I can easily see myself stitching more, there’s quite a few heart patterns in the book and they’re just the right size for quickish portable stitching, specially as you only have to remember one thread colour!
There are bigger patterns (including 8 very big patterns that come on separate pattern sheets in an envelope attached to the inside of the cover) and although I’m not sure if I have the time or the patience for those yet, I could see them making great gifts for people who may not appreciate some of the more modern stuff I make.
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