book reviews

Review — The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop — four out of five stars

18796087Beginner, or intermediate crocheters will get a lot of use out of this book.

I specially like books, that help people to make their own project dreams come true. This book definitely qualifies for this category. It will help you build your skills and add new and fun techniques to your repertoire page after page.

Starting out with fibre choice all the way to finishing techniques.
On today’s market, there are tons of yarns and it can be hard to pick the perfect one, if one is still new to all of this. The book begins with help on choosing yarn and explaining a bit about how it is manufactured. It gives an overview of yarn weight and what the finished fabric will look like in the different fibre qualities.

It doesn’t only explain how to put one crochet stitch on top of the next, but it has an entire chapter on crochet with different colours. How to add a new colour to your project and how to do tapestry crochet.
Another chapter deals with crocheting in the round and one with shaping. So in case you want to make a sweater, or cardigan as your first project, don’t despair! With this book you will be able to in no time!

Almost everything is explained in writing and with pictures. The writing is easily to understand and if there is a tricky technique to be mastered, the pictures are right there to clear up any questions that might come up.

I gave this book to my daughter to look over and see what she had to say. She does crochet, but not a lot. She appreciated the idea of the stitch along swatches and we both were thinking of making them, just so we could sew them together for a finished blanket in the end. (It is on our to do list, but at the moment pushed aside, since we are working like mad on putting the studio together) .

This book will be a staple in the “further reading” list I provide to my students, and it will sit on a shelf in my studio, for anyone to read and get inspired.

This book has instructions to the crocodile stitch as well. A lot of people came in the shop and were asking for instructions to this stitch. It has been out for a while now, but it usually does not appear in any of the older crochet help books. So it was very nice to see that added to the content.

Another really wonderful addition is a section about hand health. I find it important to keep your tools in perfect working order and your body is certainly on top of that list!

I recommend it very much to beginning crocheters everywhere.

The one about another issue of PLY magazine and how awesome the fibre community is.

So. I hope you all remember this post, about Ply Magazine. I received an issue to review from the editor in chief. I was overjoyed at being given this issue. I thought it was a one time thing. After reading it at least three times, cover to cover, and nearly being able to recite it word for word, I put it aside. I was sad that I could not fit it in my budget to actually subscribe to the magazine. I would have to make due with hanging on every word they would post on FB and on their blog for a bit longer

Imagine my surprise, as on Christmas eve, I came home from volunteering to find another issue in my mailbox! I have to admit, a squee escaped me and I might have done a bit of an embarrassing dance as well! I got slapped in the face with  proof of how wonderful and supportive and just all round awesome the fibre community is. The editors and contributors of PLY magazine are all working hard on each issue and I truly believe it is worth every penny. Yet, here they are, sharing their talents freely with me. I feel incredibly blessed to having received another issue. All I can say is: Thank you!

So here it is. The Worsted issue!

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Have you subscribed to ply magazine yet? Or maybe even gotten a subscription for the holidays? YOU LUCKY PERSON, YOU!

If not, let me tell you gleefully what you are missing out on! (Sorry.. but there is no delicate way of putting it…you are MISSING OUT. PERIOD.)

I am still incredibly smitten with the concept of every issue having a THEME, rather than being guided by the seasons. This was a stroke of brilliance! It makes PLY magazine so much more useful than just a regular magazine. I personally treat it more like a reference guide, to have on my shelf. When I am looking for answers to a particular question, I don’t have to sort through years worth of spring through fall, to find where that one article on wool combs was in. I can be certain there was one in the worsted issue! This in itself makes PLY magazine a keeper for sure!

As the title states,  this issue is about spinning worsted yarn and how the debate still goes on about what exactly IS worsted yarn and what does NOT make the cut (the opinions are divided on this one. Do a few fibres out of line still make it worsted, or not? I personally am not *that* particular, but some people are…). The Articles on combing, flicking or using hackles to prepare your fibre are a must read. They will give you a good basic understanding. The articles are well written and easy to understand, even for someone who has never used these tools before!

On top of learning everything about worsted techniques, there is a tutorial on how to make and Andean Plying Ball. I use the Andean Plying bracelet technique, when I have short bits of handspun samples, I want to ply, but this ball thing will be tested by me as soon as next time I spin!

The review on the HansenCraft miniSpinner was specially enjoyable to me. I have long looked at e spinners, but never really dared to even try one out. For some reason, it just didn’t *feel* like spinning to me. The review gave me a bit more insight in the e spinners and I might actually try one, if I have a chance.

And then there are the photos! They are works of art in themselves! I am in love with the photography of PLY magazine! I guess I will show you just a few of them and let them speak for themselves.

Oh, there is more… So.Much.More! But I’m afraid you will have to get the magazine and read it for yourself, to find out. (yes, I kept things from you! GOOD THINGS! I am evil like that!)

In closing: I am in love and a true fan of this magazine. Should I fall into a pile of money, I will get subscriptions for all my spinning friends. :) Alas, until then, you should go and get your own,in order to bridge the gap and not miss one more issue of awesomeness! <3

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Review: Fermented Vegetables: From Arugula Kimchi to Zucchini Curry, a Complete Guide to Fermenting More Than 80 Herbs and Vegetables

Fermented Vegetables: From Arugula Kimchi to Zucchini Curry, a Complete Guide to Fermenting More Than 80 Herbs and Vegetables Fermented Vegetables: From Arugula Kimchi to Zucchini Curry, a Complete Guide to Fermenting More Than 80 Herbs and Vegetables by Kirsten Shockey My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book for review from Storey Publishing

Ok… I have a confession to make. I love Storey books! I love, love, love them.

I know, every time I get a book published by them, that it will be awesome (only ONE book so far, that I haven’t liked, but that was the subject, rather than the layout, or the writing).

This book was no exception. Wonderfully detailed, step by step instructions and explanations of the why and hows of fermenting. Clear and inspiring pictures throughout the book. You just want to run out and get started!

My husband and I have been trying to eat more seasonal. Alas there are things we simply LOVE and want year round. So we have also been thinking about fermenting. Sure, we have made Kraut before, but that was about the extent of it.(We shall not speak of the wine, that accidentally turned to vinegar.)

We knew there must be more out there, but to be honest, we “didn’t have time” do do all the research to find out the what and hows. Then a bunch of my friends got interested in fermenting at the same time and my husband noticed this title in the Storey catalogue and I asked if I could have it. A few days later, the postman brought the book. WOW did it ever open our eyes!

Not only did we now have all the research right at our fingertips, without having to search all over the internet, but it came with easy to understand instructions, was portable to the grocery store (yes, we still don’t have “internet on the go”, we don’t have iPhones…we live like cave men around here), and gave us suggestions, we would never have dreamed up to search for. Wonderful recipes, not just instructions on how to ferment things, but what to make with it afterwards! Fermented Breakfast anyone? No.. don’t ferment your breakfast, but have some Kimcheese, or sauerkraut frittata, maybe… RIGHT??? You would NOT think of these things!!! We didn’t either, but boy oh boy are we now!

We set right out and tried the Kimchi recipe from the book, as we really never found a Kimchi we liked any place around to buy. It. Is. Amazing! We will stick with it from now on. We did change just a wee little bit, but not much…We left out the fish sauce, since we forgot to get it lol and we left out the pepper flakes, since I can’t do spicy (one of the main reasons we haven’t found any we like and eat) Other than that, we stuck to the recipe as suggested and it was delicious! 2014-10-28 12.32.45 2014-10-28 14.20.40 Next we will do grape leaves!!!

If you have never fermented before and are really afraid to try it, get the book! It will take the fear out of you and give you confidence in trying your hand and feeding you family worth while food. Also: it is not as much work as you might think and only requires a minimum of tools (who doesn’t have Kerr glasses around the house and if not, what is your excuse?????)

This book is once again a home run. It is absolutely true to Storey’s mission statement. To serve their customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment.

Thank you for finding these wonderful, talented and knowledgeable authors!!! Put together with the most inspiring photography it makes for great reading and successful recreating! I encourage you to try your hand at fermenting and providing healthy food for your family, while being in charge of every ingredient.

Storey Publishing and their wonderful authors take the scary out of doing things from scratch, if you don’t have family around to help, or teach you!

Review: The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential

The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential
The Knowledgeable Knitter: From Planning Your Project to Fitting and Finishing, All You Need to Know to Unlock Your Knitting Potential by Margaret Radcliffe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a book! I have been knitting for a loooooong time (no, you may not ask for how long, and I have done pretty much everything one can do with the art, but I love having a place to check up on HOW I do these things. One cannot possibly keep everything in one’s memory!

Margaret Radcliffe is an incredible enabler!

The knowledgeable knitter is one of those treasure chest books.

It sits on your book shelf, minding it’s own business, until you try to do a dart in your next project and come heck or high water, you cannot remember for the life of you, how you did it that last time, 8 years ago….Pull out the book! It’s right in there!

So many other techniques and little tricks and tips.

I know I like to fall back on my “favourite” techniques, forgetting that there is so much more out there! I love having books like the knowledgeable knitter around. They tend to remind me, that there is SO MUCH MORE. There is another way, just around the corner. Yes, they may be ways we have wandered a long time ago, but completely forgotten about. there may have to be a bit of dusting off the cobwebs, but that’s why the book is here to help!

It’s an external memory bank, to put it in 21st century terms.

Not just for knowledgeable knitters however, this book is almost indispensable for new knitters! Jump out of your box and try something aside from a dishcloth! Hey! I LOVE dishcloths, but honestly, knitting is nothing to be afraid of. Try a sweater! I promise, with this book, it will be a success!

Want to go all out and make a cabled sweater? No problem! The book has a section on how to shape while cabling!

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Daring steeks for the first time? Ok. Let’s do it. there is a chapter on that as well! And not only how to cut open your sweater. It gives advice on how to enlarge necklines by cutting off part of the knitting! YES! I love this! I love not being scared of taking your scissors to your knitting! I do it when need be. With this book, you know it is possible and it will tell you exactly how to and you don’t have to worry!

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And then there were the seams. Well… not everything can be knitted with little to no finishing. Again Margaret Radcliffe to the rescue! Detailed pictures and intelligent, easy to understand instructions will make this a cinch!

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This book will take you from starting the design, to finishing the project. Every step is explained and taught with photos and explanations.

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I LOVE helping my students to go beyond patterns and go their own way. just you, your yarn and your ideas! I adore that this book, because it enables you to do just that!

Do yourself a favour. Get this book for your library!

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Review: Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More
Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More by Edie Eckman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s that time of year again. Everybody is getting ready for the holidays and for us, home made decor is always on the top of the “mood setters”. So when I received Christmas Crochet for review, it came just at the right time.

This book is full to the brim with the most adorable crochet projects! Tiny mittens and socks for garlands, felted ornaments for your tree, little birds of hope and tabletop “trees”, to name a few. I fell in love with the little birds and was going to make some to show with this review, but time ran away from me and BAM, it was Friday, November 7th and my turn to post in the blog hop. I started it though. I hope that counts!

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The full size stockings for the chimney caught my daughter’s eye and she might just make one, or four of them, to display around the holidays. The patterns in the book are well written and there is something suitable for all kinds of skill levels. So the three crocheters in the family (my son = beginner, my daughter = intermediate, and I = *master of the universe*) will find something to make, that will keep us occupied, without being boring.

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One of the best things about the book: It has all patterns in both written and charted form. I am a chart girl all the way, however a lot of my students like to have the written form, just to check back.

I find the “Project notes” that come with each of the patterns a nice touch. You can see at one glance what techniques will be required for this project and know right up front what to look up, if you might need help with a sock heel, or crochet in the round. (youtube is your friend!)

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Another nice addition is the different textures the projects offer. So many different stitches and even felted ornaments, there is something new to learn for everyone.

The projects are mostly small and can be finished in an afternoon. This is of particular interest to procrastinators, such as myself. Why hasten to make gifts , when you can wait until the last minute? Or maybe you are invited to a holiday party and just want a little something to bring as a hostess gift, that is not the predictable bottle of wine, or a third bouquet of flowers, the hostess will have to take care of.

The book is small enough to fit comfortably in your project bag and you can whip it out and get an ornament going while you wait for the bus, or sit at the doctors office. I like portable projects and books, that travel with me without weighing me down too much.

Want to know the best part about this review? There is a giveaway! You can win your very own copy of Christmas Crochet! Right here. All you have to do, is simply leave a comment and tell me a bit about what you are going to crochet this year! That’s it. Easy as pie! (Sorry, the giveaway is open to US residents only.Too much postage otherwise.)

And since this is a blog hop, there are more opportunities to win! Just check out the other blogs and see their requirements to enter!
Here is a list of all participating blogs:

4-Nov Moogly

If you are on Ravelry and want to add some of the projects to your queue, here is a link for you:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/christmas-crochet-for-hearth-home–tree/patterns
And in case you don’t want to wait out the giveaway, here is a link to storey, where you can buy your own copy of the book:
Storey: http://www.storey.com/book_detail.php?isbn=9781612123295&cat=Crafts&p=0

The giveaway will close November 14th at midnight and I will announce the winner on November 15th.