The Very Easy Guide to Cable Knitting by Lynne Watterson does exactly what it says on the tin. I have had a go at cable before, but only within easy reach of my darling Mum who is a much more accomplished knitter. With this book I now feel I could fly solo. The pictures are very clear and each new technique is explained thoroughly. The book also cements these every few patterns with a project, which are a sensible size upon which to practice something new. Each section is called a lesson, and it does feel very like a course which builds the complexity of the patterns. The book is very plainly laid out, there are no sumptuous images of fancy yarns and massive knitted blankets of unimaginable complexity but I think this makes it all the more inspirational. I have big plans for my adventures in cable, this book allows you to do that- to use the lessons learned for your future knitting projects- definitely a book shelf staple not a one-project wonder!
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Saturday, 27 March 2010
I really enjoyed the log cabin-ing. I can see myself making a much larger scrap quilt with this technique.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Sylvia, the very lovely lady from the guild had made up some bonnets for those, like me, who lack confidence in their ability in millinery. It was such fun decorating the bonnet, I took the opportunity to try some crochet with the very tiny hooks I'd picked up at a previous guild bring and buy. It is bitter sweet though, thinking of Mary Fearns boarding the Edward in 1834 never to see family or friends again. Her bonnet was doubtless not so white and clean , and certainly wouldn't have been after a long voyage. I did google the name and found reference to her applying to move to Sydney so obviously she survived the journey and found people who she wanted to move to be with when she got there.
n the other side of the bonnet there is my name and where I'm from and another two pink and one yellow flower. It is nice to be part of such a large project.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
I have been sent these two titles for review but am totally stumped. I'm afraid these are just totally not my cup of tea but that doesn't make them bad books. They take the reader really carefully through what colours to mix and how to apply paint to a traced image to create a pleasing image. Like I say this just isn't me, I went to an adult education painting class like this and the final success or failiure of ones work seemed to be based on how much it looked like the teachers. (mine didn't!) Anyway these two are up for grabs, I will post in the U.K but would ask that if you would like them you would send me the postage? I think they would really suit someone who has limited confidence in their drawing abilities but enjoys working with the medium of watercolour or acrylic. They might also be useful for a teenager who might like to recreate a work and build their skills along the way. There is also nothing to stop anyone using the tracings and doing something different with them. Anyway let me know if you fancy them- first come- first served!
Monday, 22 March 2010
I have also been very pleased to sort a carrier bag of wool and fabric for Will's school who's craft cupboard had apparently run out of such delights?? Some of my boxes and drawers now actually shut without looking like a fabric monster is trying to break out so I feel very relieved.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
I was quite surprised with how many different techniques went into this bag. It's quite nice now that I'm not trying to sell my work not to have to think about how commercial it might be and how long it might be around before it sells.
I realise I didn't mention mothering Sunday activities much last week....that would be my guilty conscience. A friend was feeling a bit under the weather and suggested that I bring my crochet bag (and children) round t hers for the afternoon. She has been using the recent magazine to teach herself to crochet and we both decided to have our first attempt at Granny squares. I am now hooked (groan) and yesterday finished adding border to a length of my squares to make a scarf- the colours are like sweeties and it makes me feel very spring like.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
How to Draw and Paint Dragons by Tom Kidd, is much more than one of those children’s ‘how to draw’ books. I was expecting a sort of; draw an oval, a smaller oval and three triangles kind of affair but this isn’t a children’s book. Anyone who has even a vague interest in fantasy and dragons would, I’m sure, enjoy the book simply for the amazing examples of artists work and the almost encyclopaedic information about dragons. The author encourages the reader to build up a repertoire of studies of natural landscapes and observed animal and bird drawings and photos which might inform a fantastical dragon picture. There is huge detail about building up texture, the fall of light and compositional tricks to give perspective or dynamism. Honestly the chapters read like my ‘A’ level art syllabus but all with reference to dragons. There are line drawings at the back of the book which can be scanned or traced for the reader to practice their skills and would mean that even if a reader was young and perhaps unable to complete some of the more demanding artistic exercises they could still enjoy colouring in and placing their own dragons in a landscape of their own imagining.
I will be handing this book onto a fellow teacher of Simon’s who has run lunchtime war gaming clubs with the students and perhaps one of them would benefit from picking up quite complex artistic skills whilst trying to create a really scary dragon!
Monday, 15 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
It has been a lovely sunny day here, just right for a photo shoot, shame I didn't find a hairbrush first!! I bought a skein of hand spun yarn some time back after my sweet sister in law gave me some money to treat myself (thanks Nila!).
I wasn't totally confident about crocheting it but knew I wanted to make a kind of shawl and hoped crochet would give me a loose texture without having to remember a complex pattern. In hindsight I could have used a bigger hook.
Once the wool ran out I edged the scarf/wrap in a lovely silky black yarn and then decided it needed some beads to soften the contrast. I have never knitted with beads and would probably get all het up at the thought, somehow because I don't know how to crochet a just bunged some beads on the wool and had a go. I really like how the beads add weight and another texture. I thought this would be a summer wrap but as the wool is a little itchy on my skin it will be a Spring/Autumn garment and I think it'll look nice over a black or grey top to tart it up a bit. (gosh aren't I the elegant one?!)
Saturday, 13 March 2010
I had such a cool time making this bunting! I loved using some of the new wool stash to crochet some little flowers, I had my first go at bunting and couldn't believe how satisfying it was- I can see myself making LOTS more. This is now our households spring bunting, just need some birthday bunting and with the Christmas pockets and the gorgeous bunting I have been sent on two recent swaps I am sorted!
Friday, 12 March 2010
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
The complete guide to Natural Dyeing is a very comprehensive guide to techniques and includes ’recipes’ for dyeing fibre and fabric. Despite containing all the information one could possibly need this is no dry ‘how too’ manual, it is absolutely dripping with gorgeous images. The book is set out into chapters covering basic theory, techniques for achieving different effects and recipes for using natural materials to achieve colours from the vivid to the subtle and discusses the further colours which might be achieved by over dyeing. There is more than a small element of chemistry to the book with talk of the Ph of water and using chemicals to fix the colour. Some of the recipes call for materials which might be readily available from the garden or kitchen but there is a U.K supplier list at the back of the book for the more obscure ingredients. It is a shame that I do not have the facilities for having a try at dyeing in my own small home- I am sure that all manner of unsuspecting objects would end up a different hue if I tried. Had I a shed, a garage, a utility room, any ‘wet play’ area really, this book would be more than enough to tempt me to have a go and get my hands green, blue, yellow, red……..
I really do think this is an excellent book. I can't imagine you would need another on the subject if you owned this!
I have now found the piece of paper upon which I had written the East Kent Embroiderers so I have added the link into the side bar. This book and the previous title I reviewed are going on to guild members but I have a lovely stack of other books to review, and I can tell you now that at least two of them will not be leaving my sight!
Look after yourselves. xxxx
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Saturday, 6 March 2010
I did manage to fit in one more little bit of fun and sent a springy parcel to Moogsmum. I was a bit shy about sending handmades to Moogsmum, she is a a genius at all manner of crafty stuff, but putting this box together really lifted my spirits and got me feeling a bit more optimistic about the year ahead. (I hope that you are proud of me for sharing some of my lovely new wool)
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
The Art and Embroidery of Jane Hall is a hybrid book. It is a book about art, nature, embroidery and it is written poetically, almost meditatively. Jane Hall is a minute examiner of nature and she photographs and sketches flowers, moths, butterflies, shells, all manner of treasure and then reproduces them in the most magical detail. The book is packed full of inspiring images and one has to look and look again to check whether an image is a photo of the ‘real thing’ or has been recreated in tiny snippets of silk, wire and golden thread by Jane herself. Jane makes no secret that her childhood was spent making tea parties for birds and fairies and there is still something quite magical about her work. This is not an instructional text book showing how to recreate Jane’s pieces. I’m not sure that would be possible, but it does encourage one to look very closely at the small magical treasures of nature that can be picked up yards from the front door. Many textile artist work on grand scales and themes creating impressive series of work which are challenging in no uncertain terms, this book is an escape into the minute but I do think that there is a challenge here also to look closer and see more.
I took this book to the last embroiderers guild meeting where it was passed around with much interest. I had asked people to put their names down to go into the hat to have this book when I had finished writing this post.....the list was very long!!
The family computer is waiting to be collected after it's spruce up so I am cheekily snatching moments on Simon's lap top. I'm sorry if I am not managing to reply to everyone or visit you all as much as I would have liked. xx