Review: Magical Needlework

Magical Needlework: 35 Original Projects & PatternsMagical Needlework: 35 Original Projects & Patterns
by Dorothy Morrison

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Magical Needlework / 1-56718-470-7

To date, I have found about three guides on Wiccan craft projects, and these guides are all fairly disappointing; this one is definitely the most disappointing of them all.

I was really excited about this book. I am an avid cross-stitcher and quilter and own several books on each. I'm not much of a seamstress, but I'm learning and I love what I've learned so far. I really couldn't wait to get my hands on this book and start making Wiccan bed spreads and Wiccan cross-stitch wall-hangings.

I really wish I'd saved my money. This is a very lazy effort, put together hastily and with no respect for the customer. The section on quilting absolutely infuriates me - the author shows nine (only nine!) quilt blocks and explains their "significance" to Wicca. The deep "significance" being that the Texas Star looks like a pentagram, the Eight-Pointed Star was the symbol of Ishtar, and the Pandora's Box is named after, well, Pandora's Box. After these three sentence "explanations", the author doesn't even bother teaching the reader how to piece these blocks together. There are no patterns, no sizes, no instructions, nothing more than "here's a picture - quilt it". I have many, many quilting books and none of them would *ever* consider describing a quilt block in this ridiculously lazy manner! Every single book would at least instruct the reader in what order to piece the pieces, what size they should be, where to cut along the bias, and so forth. I seriously doubt that the author of this book has ever quilted anything at all.

The section on cross-stitching is just as bad. The major cross-stitch picture included (a goddess clutching the earth to herself) is very rudimentary and includes no color chart whatsoever. (There aren't even color pictures in the book, by the way.) I guess you can just cross-stitch the entire North American continent as one uniform shade of green, but I was hoping for color depth and subtlety, not a kid's coloring book. This lack of effort in a pattern is absolutely insulting.

The rest of the "projects" here are forgettable or insulting. The Norse Amulet project is as follows: Get a piece of Aida cross-stitch material. Cut it into a circle. Stitch a rune in the center of the circle. Hang the cloth circle from some yarn. Wear yarn amulet proudly to work or play. I don't think I need to defend my irritation at being told that it's normal for a grown woman to wear yarn necklaces to work. This is the sort of stuff I made in Sunday School as a kid (substitute "cross" for "rune" and voila!) and it's insulting that this is being packaged as one of 35 adult Wiccan projects.

If you are a pagan parent and you're just desperate for a Wiccan "Sunday School Project", this book is a decent resource as long as you don't mind spending the money. If you are a pagan adult who really likes needlework and expects a level of respect and professionalism, try Polson's "Witch Crafts". It's not a remarkably good craft book, but it is more detailed than this one.

~ Ana Mardoll

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