Until recently, I probably wouldn’t have said that I was a fan of Joan Elliott. While I have probably always appreciated her work, her cutesy designs never really appealed to me. But, as she seemed to get more of her fantasy and figure designs published, my interest in her grew dramatically. So much so, that I added her book [amazon_link id=”0715329278″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Bewitching Cross Stitch[/amazon_link] to my collection not too long after it was released. Her latest book, actually a “book-a-zine” released by Future plc (the publishers of several UK cross stitch magazines), has also found a home on my bookshelf.
The book-a-zine (gosh, I don’t like that term. I’m just going to call it a book), is £9.99 and was available for order directly from Future Publishing as well as on newsstands here and in the UK. However, it has now sold out on the Future plc wensite. Apparently, it is still avaliable for sale on the newsstands in Canada and the US, but I haven’t seen it here yet. I’m not sure what it sells for over here in North America, but given the current exchange rate, I expect it is probably around $16-$20CAN. Which, clearly, is a great deal for forty-four charts given that Joan sells her chartpacks for $12US.
The book is a bit larger than a typical softcover craft book. In fact, it is the same size (except thicker, of course) as a UK magazine. The chart presentation, also, is reminiscent of a UK magazine. So, if you’ve ever read Cross Stitch Collection or World of Cross Stitching or the like, you know what to expect: large pictures of the finished design, a blurb about it, and a large colour chart.
There is also a small write-up for most designs talking about where to start, how to add beads, etc. They often feature a lovely close-up of some element of the design, as well as advertise another design of Joan’s that you can order. You’ll also notice in the picture above a full page add for another Future plc magazine. Honestly, they don’t bother me very much, since this book is so filled with charts and the number of ads is limited. My only issue with them is that they will be terribly out of date in no time at all. And, this is the sort of book that is going to be on your shelf at home for years. Why waste the space advertising a magazine I’m not going to be able to order in a couple of months?
Another nice feature of the book is a fairly lengthy bio on Joan. It talks about her inspiration, her two homes, and shows some lovely pictures. I’m pretty sure that’s my dream home right there.
Now, I’m sure you are probably most interested in which charts are included in the book. It’s a long list, with lots of variety.
- Spring Fairy
- Summer Fairy
- Autumn Fairy
- Winter Fairy
- Green Goddess (an exclusive design)
- Stitching Renaissance (aka The Musician)
- Castle Princess (aka The Reader)
- Renaissance Rose (aka The Gardener)
- Golden Buddha
- Thank Heaven for Little Girls (four small country-style designs for Thank You cards)
- Flamboyant and Free (a peacock)
- Oriental Lady
- Water Wonderland (a lotus and dragonfly design, with two additional motif charts)
- Eastern Promises (another geisha with two kanji designs for cards)
- Jolly Stocking
- The Lady in Red (holiday Victorian lady, along with separate dog motif chart)
- Christmas Post
- Teddy Bear Christmas (stocking)
- Father Christmas
- Angel of Peace
- Christmas Angel (not the same one as is shown on Joan’s Order Chartpacks page)
- Wings of Heaven (aka Angel in White)
- Heavenly Host (a set of four country-style angel designs for cards)
- Country Escape (a lovely cottage)
- The Time of Your Life (a wedding sampler with two additional small designs)
- Unicorn and the Maiden
- Thank Heavens for Mum (four country-style card designs)
- Water Goddess
- Fire Goddess
Hmm, that’s 45 at my count. Maybe the wee dog design doesn’t count.
Overall, I really like this book. It is large, full of easy to read charts, and very few disappointing designs. I am a bit sad that only two of the four elemental goddesses are included. It is going to cost me $24US to purchase the remaining charts. So, two designs for more than 44. Not very sporting, in my opinion. I could also do without the country-style designs. They seem a bit out of place among the lovely ladies and stately Santa. And, of course, there are the colour charts. But they are par for the course with a UK cross stitch magazine, which I knew when I purchased this book. The biggest minus of this book is that only one design is exclusive. If you’ve been buying Future plc magazines for the last few years, there is a good chance you already have most of these designs in your collection. Thankfully, that isn’t the case for me.
If you are a Joan Elliott fan, and you don’t already have these designs, I think this is a book worth picking up.