Book Review: Criss Crossing Paris by Fiona Sinclair and Sally-Anne Hayes

Mr X Stitch Book ReviewWho’s it for?

Obviously the Cross Stitch enthusiast, however speaking as someone who has had less of an interest in this art form….I would wager that this book would gather interest from the Watercolourist to the Embroiderer.  It would make a non “cross-stitcher” cross stitch!


There is an introduction section, where we discover how to use the book and a little background info on the writers.

Even the contents page is beautiful….

Beautifully illustrated contents page with diagrams relating to the cross stitch pieces.

A few pages in, this book opens with the words:

‘Travel takes courage – a willingness to experience, to celebrate the adventure.  our cross-stitch illustrations are born of this. They are not typical counted-thread designs; they are cross-stitch interpretations of Parisian moments captured in a photo.’

We learn a little about the authors in this early section, both having their own interpretations of the city and memories of it.  One of the writers has an apartment there, thus the material we read about in the book has a fresh ongoing feel.

Meet the authors

Here we have Fiona to the left and Sally-Anne on the right – we were kindly given the above photo by the authors themselves. P.S On a side note I love their stoneware!

Patterns and Instructions

Is this a diary?  A memoir?  A textile instruction book?  Or maybe a mix?  Whatever you want to classify it as; the instruction section is just as well presented and thoughtfully planned as the rest.

This personal insight into one writers life really warms us to the book itself. A view of her apartment in Paris – doesn’t it make you jealous?

I love how each pattern comes with background information on the source image. This isn’t your tourist map of Paris, made in that everlasting tacky form – each image used is “Instagram worthy”; the type we would all be bragging about – yet seen here in a new fabric format.

Many of the images are personal to the writers – this lends itself to our curious nature our desire to understand more about what we are stitching.

Staging and Stylising

The thought which has gone into the photography puts the artistic barrier high.  Parisian style frames and materials have been used within each image to convey to the reader how their cross stitch pieces can be used.  A good mix of the vintage thrown in too; portraying that shabby chic look:


Its not just imagery we get instructions to play with – more practical projects are conjectured too, such as this text one.  Photographed as a bag, we then get to see it has real use – not just a frame worthy piece.

Final sections

Nothing is left to chance.  Advice on making up the projects is given, along with a stitch glossary.

Overall thoughts

As someone who has family living in Paris, I may be ever so slightly biased – but I have to say I was really drawn to this book.

The average cross stitch book leaves me a tad cold; but this has inspired me – not just to cross stitch, but to get over to Paris and paint!  It’s got such an invitingly artsy feel.

There is such a mix of projects; some directly for framing, others suitable for bags, cushions and buttons – so we have plenty excuses to create.

Through this more personal view of Paris, we are invited to share their experiences, stitching them, experiencing them for ourselves.

Start your travel journey

This beauty is available to purchase here

Follow their journey on Instagram.

Ailish Henderson

Freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor and, as if that wasn't enough, Editor in Chief of Mr X Stitch.

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