cover image Feminist Cross-Stitch: 40 Bold and Fierce Patterns

Feminist Cross-Stitch: 40 Bold and Fierce Patterns

Stephanie Rohr. Lark Crafts, $16.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4547-1080-6

“Nasty women” will find much to cross-stitch in Rohr’s sharp-needled pattern book of designs for “craftivist” feminists. After a childhood of traditional cross-stitching, Rohr began her “subversive” cross-stitch career in 2010, moving it into higher gear after the 2016 presidential election. She declares that cross-stitch, once dismissed as mere “women’s work,” is now being acknowledged both as an art form in its own right and as a way for crafters to “express their opinions, show support for marginalized groups, and protest.” Rohr begins the book’s instructional component by clearly covering the basics: Aida cloth, DMC floss, large-eyed tapestry needles, and hoops for tautness and/or framing. The 40 patterns fill chapters from “Stitched Affirmations” (“Believe Women” and “Smash the Patriarchy”) to “Sassy & Subversive” (“Don’t Tell Me to Smile” resembles folk art); from “Politically Active” (with quotes from Michelle Obama, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Maxine Waters, among others) to “Feminist Iconography” with rainbow flags. Each pattern is marked with a cross-stitch icon denoting the project’s difficulty level, ranging from one to six stitches, with the toughest project being, fittingly, a Rosie the Riveter pattern. Each design is clearly graphed, and Rohr encourages free adaptations. The patterns, “bold and fierce” indeed, will speak to stitchers who share Rohr’s spirit and convictions. (Feb.)