Review: Peanuts Cross-Stitch

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The embroidery craft of cross-stitch is inherently a low-resolution one. Putting an X of thread around a weave intersection of aida cloth creates a single pixel, and one by one you build up your grid of pixels, generally with a handful of threads giving you a limited color pallet. As such, it’s not surprising that some of the simpler designs on the books Peanuts Cross-Stitch look less like a Schulz drawing and more like a character from an Atari 2600 (or, for those of us around at the time, Atari VCS) game, jagged blobs of color that you can recognize the character.

The book opens with a two-page explanation of Peanuts and its history… although this is one of the cases where a few chosen panels with added captions might have carried the information more entertainingly than the carefully considered prose we got. Then there’s six pages on the hows and whys of cross-stitching. Then we get to the designs themselves. Each design is pictured twice: once with a picture of a finished cross-stitch, the other a diagram showing you what colors go where. The design’s section also includes a few paragraphs about what’s featured in the design… some with an accompanying strip, some with a strip grayed out to use as a background image rather than intending to be readable.

The cover promises “16 easy-to-follow patterns featuring Charlie Brown & Friends”, but five of the sixteen don’t have any characters on them at all, just words life “Good Grief” or a “Smak!” with some cartoon effects around it. Oh, okay, I guess the one where the words are “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown” does technically qualify as featuring Charlie Brown. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these cross-stitches, a “Happiness is a warm puppy” message is a perfectly reasonable cross-stitch in the grand cross-stitch tradition; I’m just being my usual overly-attentive self to the question of precision.

This isn’t a book that I’d recommend to someone who doesn’t to cross-stitch… and what little needlework I’ve done was so many decades ago that I’m in no place to judge it for people who do do it. But there is one thing I can tell you about this book: it exists!

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