Sunday, January 6, 2008

Book Review: Handmade Style Series

So I should be writing papers for school right now, but I'm just not feeling the inspiration. Dr. BF's mom came to visit for the day yesterday and we ran around to a bunch of shops, including the giant crafty warehouse, and a big book store. Keep in mind that I had already that morning purchased 3 crafty books from amazon... but I won't get to look at those until I get back to the States in a couple of weeks anyway, so that's besides the point. So I got a few pairs of needles (including the elusive (in the States anyway) 7.0mm & 7.5mm) at the crafty ware house and a set of 3 books in the handmade style series from the bookstore. (They were 3 for $30... how could I resist?!)

So I present here, a review of the handmade style series Crochet, Felt, and Sew (which I couldn't find a link for, even on the site of the store that I bought it in....). Book reviews are like school work, right?

First Up: Crochet

I bought the crochet one because despite the fact that I have crocheted a hat before (and still have it... and was still wearing it last winter because I hadn't knitted myself a decent one...) I'm not very well versed in the world of crochet. Part of the turnoff for me is the strange differences in terminology. Double Crochet in England and Canada means something completely different than DC in the US. If you don't know where the pattern is from you could run into some serious trouble. This book is clearly English style crochet, but gives a very clear definition of both terminologies and where they interchange. It also has some great edgings and seaming tips at the beginning.

Some patterns that caught my eye at first glance:

The beaded cuff. (Not so much of a choker person myself, but the bracelet is quite cute and despite it's size, fairly understated given the colour choice. I might not make this exact cuff but I will probably use some of the techniques for attaching beads to things).

Beaded Door Curtain. I know it's kind of cliché and 1960's (and then again mid '90s) but we have a big window on the door to our back porch (ok so it's a wooden fire escape, but serves much the same purpose) and I think that this would look pretty cool and with the right beads catch the light nicely. Not to be used as a room divider/entrance, I promise. (Even if as a teenager I would have died to have one...)

Filigree Drawstring Bag. I just think it's pretty. And hard. Not for my first (in about 6 years) crochet project.

Next up: Felt. Not a lot of the actual patterns caught my eye, so much as the idea of felting wool batting. There are so many pretty handdyed batts on etsy that I would buy if I knew what to do with them. I don't spin and right now I don't have the time or the space to learn. But felting batts would be possible.

A sample project from the book:
Champagne cooler. Don't know if I'll actually ever make one, but it was one of the prettier patterns (to my eye... some of the colour combos in this book just weren't my thing).

And finally: Sew. I would really like to sew properly, with a nice machine, but again, time, space and, well, money are all factors here. This book focuses more on sewing skills to finish projects, such as cross stitch and adding a nice hem, by hand. I wanted this one especially, to help improve my finishing skills on knitted items. Lots of people tell me I knit beautifully, but sometimes my sewing/finishing skills are lacking. Which is why I prefer to knit sweaters entirely in the round, usually, but some patterns just can't be adapted.

Potential project:
Buttons. Take some cheapy buttons (the kind with the extra bit at the back for sewing on) and make them pretty with material and embroidery. Duh... but I might never have thought of it on my own. There are a couple of other things in here that I would like to try too, but this one was the cutest, most "duh"-inspiring for me.

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