books

Review: How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title

How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title
How to Knit: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques. A Storey Basics® Title by Leslie Ann Bestor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leslie Ann Bestor is also the author of Cast On, Bind Off. A book I heartily approve of and have recommended to many a customer and student of mine.

This new book of hers is not deviating from her previously displayed excellence. I love the easy to understand instructions and the general voice of the book.

Aside from teaching you how to create the knit and purl stitches Mrs. Bestor gives lots of information on other things important to knitting, but often overlooked, such as choosing a needle that is right FOR YOU!, how to fix mistakes and runaway stitches, why gauge matters, yarn sizes and measurements, how to read patterns and charts, and how to recognize what stitches create which fabric.

Everything is brought to you with a little bit of humor to keep things light. I adore her style of writing.

I believe any willing novice can learn to knit with this book, without frustration in a short while.

I will certainly recommend this book to people without ready internet access and even with the internet. It’s always nice to have a little guide in your knitting bag, to just quickly look up what comes next. Internet is not always available in all the places we like to knit!

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Review: How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques

How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques
How to Crochet: Learn the Basic Stitches and Techniques by Sara Delaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book for beginning crocheters.

If you ever wanted to learn how to crochet, but don’t have anybody to show you how, or a LYS around you to take a class, there are plenty of books to help. Some with greater success than others. This is one of the good ones. Trust me, I teach crochet and knitting for a living.

Easy to understand, concise instructions will make sure you are not getting lost, or confused with too much input at the same time.

I find the trick to start practice on a piece of tulle quite smart and might use it in my classes from time to time.

The book walks you through the importance of Gauge in your crochet. An important step, if you want to make garments that fit the intended recipient. Many first time classes forget all about it. I know I drone on in my classes about gauge and try to make it second nature for my students to check it before starting a project.

Aside from showing you how to perform the stitches and an entire chapter on gauge (Yes, it IS that important!!!) Mrs. Delaney also has a chapter on finishing your work. Sewing in ends, changing yarns, adding an edge and finishing off with blocking your piece. I find it incredibly important that this is also given. The student is not just left with the finished square, to fend for themselves. A lot of people don’t know, a hand crochet piece will look infinitely better after blocking. Not to mention HOW to block it.

Of course, there is lots of information to be had online, however, not everyone is connected at all times or can access it readily. A book on the other hand will wait patiently in your bag, or on a shelf until you are ready.
Also: Although there are tons of youtube videos, if you don’t know what to search for, you won’t find it. I think a good mix between youtube and this book should set you up just fine.

I will definitely let my students know about this book, to have something to look things up, after the class is done and they just need a small reminder.

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Review: Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids

Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids
Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids by Patricia Hoskins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok… I got this book for review and my first thought was: Aaawww, I don’t have little ones….
Then I opened the book.
Oh my gosh! I LOVE everything about this book! I love (nearly) all the patterns in it. I ADORE the fabric choices! I love how easy to understand the instructions are.

PLEASE, WRITE MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS ONE!

If you know me, I do not often give five stars….but this one deserves it.

The fabrics chosen for the samples in the book were absolutely delightful! They made you want to run out and get sewing. I kid you not! One of the few times, I actually read the source in the back of the book, to see where I can get these scrumptious fabrics.

The patterns in the book are relatively easy and straight forward. They are cute and practical and a few whimsical ones.

As I was sitting and squeeee-ing over the book, my daughter came to check it out with me and even she (18 year old teenager) thought the patters were absolutely adorable and she found a few things she would like to make to use for herself. (no, no babies on the way, or even in our circle of friends, just really great ideas on the pillow and bag- front)

All in all: If you even have a remote chance of having a little one around the house and are a seamstress: GET THIS BOOK! Even if you DON’T have little ones, this book will inspire you to get sewing! It certainly has for me!

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Review: Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles

Buffi's Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles
Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles by Buffi Jashanmal
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oi.
First off, let me tell you: I don’t think I am the right target audience for this book. I am a middle aged woman and an intermediate beginning seamstress. I also have a VERY specific taste when it comes to my clothes.

I am not a big fan of wild prints and bold colours. (Maybe as a splash of colour, but I do not like to walk around dipped in hot pink, or bright yellow, if that makes sense. Most of the sample dresses in the book, have either big prints, or really bold colours. So I had to look past that to “see” the dress.
Most of the dresses are also too short for a woman like myself. I do not hold that against the designer, however. There are plenty of people, not minding their underwear showing, when they bend over.
I guess this is easy to fix, by simply making the dress longer. Not a big deal. Most of the designs appear simple at first glance, but are not really just cut and go. One has to be aware at every stage what is going on. I am not sure, if these designs are for absolute beginners.

Also: The sample pieces do not fit the models properly. That is disturbing to see. It makes me wonder, if the dresses will fit me. I do not want to put all that hard work and money in, only to find out it won’t fit. Nice fabric is not cheap. This is not just my opinion. I have let several other (accomplished) seamstresses look at the book. They all concurred. I let them check it out, since I didn’t trust myself judging this. The dresses sag, strain and bunch up in the wrong spots.

The Chapters one and two (Fabrics and tools, Slopers, Patterns and Muselins) are actually quite interesting. In my opinion there is not much in this book, that would appeal to a 40 year old woman. I have no idea about younger generations (although my 17 year old daughter agreed, she didn’t like any of the fabrics chosen, or the way the clothes fit on the models). Take that for what it’s worth.

I am not saying stay away. I really think there might be people out there, that love bright colours and garish prints and short, short dresses. Go, give it a once-over when you’re in the book shop.
I might try one of the patterns in the book and see. I will amend my review at that point to reflect the experience. Please don’t hold your breath though, it could take a while.
Again, this review is not meant to put the designer down, it is just my opinion about the patterns offered in the book.

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Review: Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community

Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community
Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just got a copy of this book for review this past week from the publisher.
Initially, I always leaf through new books, after taking them out of the envelope, then set them aside to read later on. This book gripped me and would not let go. It was rather late, so I *had* to put it down, but I finished it up the next chance I had.

It has a few patterns and “how to’s” in it, but this is not the reason I would call it an instructional book. I read the Bios of all the artists. This is more inspirational and instructional and uplifting than any patterns they could have given.

It is amazing to read how other artists handle inspiration, go about their work and what process they follow. What got them into their medium and how they love it with abundance.

Now, I am not sure, if it was intended, but here is what I got out of this book:
I would even recommend this book to non-quilters. The colours, the photos, the stories… it will get you excited. It will get you ready to start something in whatever medium you choose.
It will make you feel amazing about the idea of creating something. Something simply YOU. While reading this book, I felt a big burden come off my shoulders. The words of the other artists, telling me through these lines that it is ok to make something nobody but myself will like. To make something JUST FOR ME. I have always worked this way, since I kept myself in some isolation by not joining ravelry and other knitting sites. However, I have felt bad ever since I did join, though. Was it ok, to continue making things for me and simply sharing my taste and my preferences?
I know it si weird to credit a book with this epiphany, but it really hit me while reading. I am doing what I love, I should keep doing it. Keeping my own spin on things will keep me relevant TO MYSELF. It will show in my art, in my work and in my life.

A truly inspirational book.