Monday, October 9, 2017

Review and Giveaway: Feminist Icon Cross Stitch

Women, huh? Can't live without 'em, can't live without 'em (that's NOT a typo). When I try to imagine what the world would look like without a feminine influence, I shudder. We are the unsung heroes of history, the by-nature nurturers, the makers of pretty spaces, and the peace peddlers. We rise early, go to bed late, and cram a multitude of things (work, kids, home-making, and a million other tasks) into every available minute  of every day. We have brilliant minds that have given themselves to some of the greatest accomplishments in history. We are designed to grow an entire being within us, and are then bodily equipped to sustain that tiny human's life. We make it through our days whether with cramps or migraines, and sniff with haughty derision at the notion of a man cold. We are strong, and we are beautiful. Many of the people I admire most are women. Women who have had struggles both public and private, and have managed to come through with grace and dignity, and not a hair out of place.

When I was asked if I'd like to review this book, I immediately said yes because I loved the title. Feminist Icon Cross Stitch. It sounds like a feminist oxymoron--a quaint little craft that hearkens back to yesteryear, juxtaposed with feminism? Well, why not? Feminism isn't about eschewing our past or the things we may like because they are traditionally girly, but in recognizing that we have a choice to do those things, instead of being assigned those tasks because it's thought we can't handle anything more. It's the choice that makes the difference.

This book contains thirty designs to celebrate strong women. It's got a little bit of how-to, a little bit of history, and a good bit of patterns to choose from.

The very beginning shows you the assortment of patterns available to stitch--most are actual people, some are historic icons, and some are quotes.

Counted cross-stitch is one of the easier fiber crafts to indulge in, but in case you're unfamiliar there's a 'basics' section at the beginning of the book that discusses supplies and the stitches you'll need to stitch your way through the book (with some helpful diagrams as well).

Each woman in this book gets a brief write-up of the accomplishment(s) she is best known for.

After the bio, there is the cross-stitch pattern, as well as the DMC floss color numbers so you can get an exact match to the design.

And then a photo of the actual stitchery. Some of the designs could use a little more detail to make them more realistic (but then it crosses into the more advanced arena, which might make it less appealing).

Along with the book, I received a cute little accompanying box of goodies--magnets, buttons, and patches all based on designs from the book.

The first thing I thought of with this book was "What a great gift to give a young girl--it's a classic craft, and along the way she'll learn about a number of women who said 'You know what? Your way doesn't really work for me, so I'm going to do my own thing and absolutely kick butt, m'kay?'" I think it'd be a great gift to give a boy, too--the actual stitch-work might be difficult to convince him of, but there's plenty to learn within the pages of this book. We often try to convey that it's good to learn about other places and cultures, but in the words of Abigail Adams "Please remember the ladies."

Now for the giveaway--I've got a copy of this book to give away to one of you lovely folks. Just leave a comment about your favorite woman (famous or otherwise) and a way to contact you if you win (if your email isn't linked to your comment) and I'll have this book sent your way. Giveaway is open until Saturday, October 21st at 11:59 p.m, and I'll pick a random winner the next day. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the kit at no charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. For my complete disclosure policy, click here.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Baby Blanket for Nobody

Hello? Anyone still there? I swear I got up to get a cup of tea and here we are several days into October already. I've had nothing but sweater angst (I finished a sweater and then unfinished it and salvaged the yarn for a different sweater--you'll get the details if I ever finish it), but I completely forgot to share a baby blanket with you that I made over the summer.

I made this sweater with the sincerest of intentions--I delighted in how the yarn worked up, I filled each stitch with good wishes, I felt excited for its eventual gifting. And then....I had one of those situations where you can no longer give that thing to the person you intended it for without seeming like some kind of lunatic (see related theory: curse of the boyfriend sweater. And if you think it's all rot I'm now 2 for 2 when it comes to proving that theory correct).

But anyway. Babies will always be born. They will need something soft and snuggly. So I will carefully put this away until it is needed. So moving on to the blanket.

This blankie is a perfect one yard by one yard square. The yarn is Bernat Softee Baby in Gray Marl, and is such a divine yarn to work with. It's a baby-weight acrylic (easy wash and dry) and the color is just fabulous. It's a gray and white twist, so it works up with this almost silvery sheen from a distance, but lets you see the separate colors when you get up close and personal.

As I was stitching I frequently stopped and sighed, saying "Isn't this color great?" as I held up the thus-far blanket for everyone to see.

I used a 'G' hook on this, and your basic corner-to-corner instructions that you can find anywhere online with a simple search. The intended recipient was a boy, so I didn't want a frilly feminine border. I did a single round of half-double crochet, playing with the spacing until it was laying nice and flat without pulling.

I was curious if, after a wash and dry, the blanket would stretch beyond its one square yard starting point, but it did not. It came out of the dryer oh so soft and fluffy, but the same size as when it went in.

So while this won't be going to its intended home, it was made with love and happy thoughts, so hopefully those are transferable.


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