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Search tags: Cooking-and-crafts
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review 2018-07-17 13:55
Woven in Wire
Woven in Wire - Sarah Thompson

by Sarah Thompson

 

The cover picture of this book is enough to see that it's for the more intricate and polished end of wire jewellery making. This is not one for beginners!

 

Having said that, the basics are still covered. Tools, Materials and Techniques are the first chapters, followed by Weaving and Sculpting before it gets into Symmetry and Transformation.

 

There are a lot of full color pictures of some very impressive jewellery pieces. The chapter on tools is straightforward enough and would be useful at any level of experience. It goes into more detail than I've seen in other books on wire weaving. Materials is slanted towards working in silver, though other craft wires are mentioned.

 

The chapter on techniques seems short, yet it's mind boggling. How can something look easy and complicated at the same time? As I said, this one isn't for the beginners. Weaving and sculpting are similarly simple yet complicated. Then instructions for the pictures pieces give the reader a chance to apply the information and find out just how easy/complicated putting it all into practice can be!

 

I'll be honest, this book scares me. It also intrigues me! I want to be able to make the sort of amazing jewellery that is shown but I know it's not as easy as it looks. I think practice is in order, but I'm not ready to invest in silver to the extent that making the really cool pieces would require.

 

The pieces are gorgeous though and the instructions are clear and detailed, so maybe someday.

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review 2018-07-03 11:34
Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updated
Knitting Ganseys, Revised and Updated: Techniques and Patterns for Traditional Sweaters - Beth Brown-Reinsel

by Beth Brown-Reinsel

 

Not just another knitting pattern book!

 

Ganseys and their southern cousins, Guernseys, are a traditional form of textured sweater made for fishermen to keep in extra warmth and with gussets in the arms for extra freedom of movement.

 

This is a new edition of a book already in publication. It's well presented and has lots of good quality color photographs. It starts with a little history, explaining exactly what a Gansey is and where they come from. It goes into detail about the materials, tools and methods traditionally used, but adapts instructions for modern knitting tools.

 

It explains the forms and construction of this type of sweater and the reasons for such attributes as the underarm gusset. The instructions start with basic casting on and include design variations and a selection of edges the knitter might want to use for their project. It also includes instructions to make samplers for those who don't feel confident to jump right in with a full-sized pullover.

 

Reasons for different designs of ribbing and welts are explained and I saw some interesting possibilities for using side welts to make a more tabbard-like project. Knitting in initials was shown with a chart for all letters and my imagination took me well out of the traditional with possibilities for writing slogans on the backs of knitted projects!

 

There are lots charts for different traditional patterns of textures and information about how they were traditionally used. One thing that is different about this book is that it encourages the knitter to create their own designs, based on the basic elements. There is a little cabling, but most of the patterns are a matter of basic knitting and garter stitch.

 

Naturally a few different neckline choices are also offered. I have to say that as far as personal design in knitting goes, this is probably the most interesting and useful book I've seen. I can see myself experimenting extensively with these ideas! The way the patterns are broken down into basic squares, gussets, edges and shoulder straps and joins allows for a very personally tailored fit and completely personalised combinations of textured designs.

 

The knitting methods themselves are pretty basic and should be easy for any knitter to follow. Charts are given for measurements when creating your own designs as well as instruction for making the right fit. There's even a worksheet for planning out your project.

 

The last part of the book gives nine of the author's own patterns for those who feel more comfortable with working with an established pattern and these make good examples for the adventurous who are ready to jump in and design their own. One of the things I note is that the sleeves tend to mostly be roomy, which allows for wearing a pullover over a long-sleeved top which is likely in the sort of cold weather that would merit wearing a pullover at all.

 

I really liked this book. I think I may get more use out of it than any knitting book I've had before.

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review 2018-06-27 09:22
Cat Lady Embroidery
Cat Lady Embroidery: 380 Ways to Stitch a Cat - Applemints

by Applemints

 

This is a pattern book, so not a lot of text. The designs are all cats; cat faces, cats doing things, whimsical cats, cats with kittens, holiday cats, both Halloween and Christmas, cat alphabets, and of most interest to me, kitty borders that would look great on clothing.

 

The first section is full color pictures of all the designs, followed by a 'project inspiration gallery' with suggestions of where to apply the embroidery. Any piece of clothing or accessory made of cloth is a potential canvas. There is a comprehensive section on tools and materials that gives all the basics of this type of embroidery in simple enough terms for a beginner and shows the effects of using different numbers of strands of embroidery floss.

 

There are just three basic stitches involved; a chain stitch, a fill stitch and a French knot. Anyone who can wield a needle can do these. They include a chart to identify colors in two major brands of embroidery floss as well.

 

After that is pictorial chart instructions for all the designs. All the needleworker has to do is transfer the design onto whatever they want to embroidery and follow the lines with the color and number of strands indicated. Easy peasy, anyone who can follow a line can decorate their clothing with cute cats!

 

I thought it was brilliantly done and the designs are really cute. I'm looking forward to transforming my entire wardrobe into crazy cat lady clothes.

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review 2018-03-14 11:17
Amazing Origami Boxes
Amazing Origami Boxes - Tomoko Fuse

by Tomoko Fuse

 

Origami has interested me since childhood but these 20 original designs take it to a new level. Tomoko Fuse has achieved recognition for her modular designs and these intricate boxes and dishes show why.

 

This is not a beginners book. However, the instructions are clear and although I think practicing on cheap paper is a good idea before using the beautiful, decorative origami papers shown in the colorful illustrations, at least most of them should be possible for anyone with patience and prepared to practice.

 

If you have no experience with origami, I suggest an easier beginner's book would be better to start, but some of the square boxes are reasonably easy and once those are mastered, the harder ones should be doable. As I said, practice with cheap paper first. Common printer paper can be squared by folding it over and removing the excess. When you've got the hang of a design, then the origami papers will make it beautiful.

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review 2018-01-29 11:13
Alice Starmore's Glamourie
Alice Starmore's Glamourie (Calla Editions) - Jade Starmore,Alice Starmore

by Alice Starmore

 

This is a knitting book with a difference. It focuses on costuming and has pictures of some incredible creations the author has designed. The big difference, however, is that the costumes also have stories attached, so it's more than a craft book.

 

The author also explains much about how she made each of the costumes and the inspiration behind them.

 

There is one disappointment though. The patterns in the back are not for the elaborate costumes pictured with the stories. We don't get those. They are for items more for everyday wear, with some elements of the costumes. For example, the Raven costume that drew my attention to the book is truly magnificent, but the related pattern given is for a basic poncho with some of the feather design that was incorporated into the more intricate costume.

 

Looking at the sale price of the book, I do feel let down that the actual costuming patterns were not included. While someone walking around in something like the Raven costume would be immediately perceived as a nutter in ordinary circumstances, there are events where costuming is appropriate and I would love to make this one for such events.

 

Having said that, the everyday wear patterns are unusual in their own right and the book is certainly attractive for someone who wants to add some unique items to their wardrobe. Details about stitches are given and I think any fairly experienced knitter could easily follow the patterns.

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