Drawing on the realms of lore, legend, and magic, Fantasy Cross Stitch
is a stunning gallery of intricate designs, a refreshing departure from the usual cross-stitch themes. Celestial subjects and mythological figures abound, from the signs of the zodiac to unicorns and mermaids to wizards and warriors. Accomplished needlework designer Julie Hasler finds inspiration in many places and many eras: medieval Europe, ancient Egypt, Greek and Norse mythology, the Orient, and the heavens. Each of the 23 highly detailed designs is fully charted in color, plus there is nice background information about each one. We learn, for example, that the ibis-headed Egyptian deity Thoth is credited with the invention of hieroglyphics, and that the Chinese dragon's waking, sleeping, and breathing was believed to determine night and day. In addition, a "symbol library" charts 35 smaller motifs (such as the yin-yang, Viking runes, Hindu talismans, and early Christian symbols). With subtle shadings and elaborate detail, these designs are apparently meant for the more experienced stitcher. But the artwork is good enough that anyone intrigued by these mystical motifs may even want to consider adapting them to other crafts. --Amy Handy
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