Good Reading : April 2007
knitting circle in London, who meet in public to knit and crochet.This renewed interest from younger women seemed to take book publishers by surprise, but feisty titles like Knitting Rules! and Hookorama are now appearing. Chick Knits by Julia Cooper is a lively introduction to knitting that comes complete with a set of project cards. For embroiderers, there is a recent, exquisite book by Diana Lampe: Embroidered Pansies, published by Writing on Stone.This local pro- duction is both a thing of beauty and a source of information, aimed at ‘free embroiderers’.Those who like to count their stitches might prefer Inspiring Designs for Needlepoint by Clare Muzzatti, which has an Australian flavour.This is my big chance to sing the praises of Australian Cross Stitch, my new collection of designs of all things Australian: animal, vegetable and mineral (well, it includes some landscapes). Market reports would suggest that craft as a pastime is in hibernation, but everywhere there are clandestine meetings of (mostly) women, furtively knitting, embroidering, quilting and, yes, scrap- booking away while they socialise. Overseas, there’s even a ‘Knit the Classics’ movement that functions as a bookclub- cum-craft-circle, in which members read a nominated novel and then knit, crochet or stitch an item inspired by their reading. (I wonder how many life-size Mr Darcy dolls are now out there?) Are we too busy consuming to pro- duce things ourselves? I find it extremely unlikely that craftwork can ebb away totally and suspect that a tide of people, keen to embrace the notion of voluntary simplicity, will bring handcrafts back into mainstream consciousness. Meanwhile, I’ll just finish stitching this possum’s ear … Gillian Souter’s latest book, Australian Cross Stitch, rrp $34.95, is available at bookshops or can be ordered direct from firstname.lastname@example.org YOU WILL NEED: • White 14-count Aida fabric, 25 x 10 cm • DMC stranded cottons as listed in the key • Thin white card, 6.5 x 23.5 cm • Narrow ribbon • A tapestry needle (size 26 or 28) • Embroidery scissors 1. Orient the fabric to match the design. Cut a 60-cm length of DMC stranded cotton and split it into single strands. Thread both ends of one strand through the needle and, on your first stitch, catch the end loop at the back of the fabric to neatly secure the thread and to form a double strand for stitching. Start at or near the centre of your fabric, working the cross-stitches by following the chart (the centre is indicated by arrows). 2. To cross stitch, stitch diagonal bars running from left to right, with each stitch covering one band of the Aida fabric. Then, at the end of the row, return by stitching the top bars from right to left. Drop your needle to the bottom of the next row and repeat the process. Once you have stitched some crosses, use them as your reference point to count from. Complete each colour block, jumping short distances where necessary. To finish off each section, run your needle through the back of several stitches then trim cotton. 3. When stitching is complete, trim the fabric to leave one band intact around the border stitches. Use a glue stick to secure the embroidery onto the coloured card. Use a craft knife to make a tiny cut 1 cm up from the base of the card. Thread a narrow ribbon through and secure it with an overhand knot. Trim ends. 20 goodreading ı APRIL 2007 KEY 470 535 720 722 921 3819 categorical Gecko bookmark Cross stitch is easy to learn and relaxing to do; the only negative is that it might cut into your reading time! Start with this small design from Australian Cross Stitch.