Thursday 16 September 2010

Book Reviews

I recently treated myself to a couple of new craft books.  The first one, I mentioned here

As I mentioned, I might of accidentally ordered it while I was looking for the Amazon link, to put on my blog. I am so glad that I did. This book is brilliant and exactly the sort of thing you should buy if you want to make bags, or have made a few and want to try and make something a little bit more complicated.  There are 8 bag patterns in the book, starting with a simple zip up pouch and a tote bag and working up to a fabulous overnight bag.  All the designs are lovely and I can't wait to make them, but these designs are just the cherry on top.  The main body of the book is all the amazing explanations of the various techniques you can employ in your bag making.  There are different types of fastenings, pockets and handles, along with different bag structures.  Within the pages of this book are enough ideas to keep you busy for years as you change and develop your bag making ideas.

As you might have guessed, I am already a big fan of Lisa Lam and her tutorials.  If you can't decide whether you want to buy the book or not, read some of her free downloads and if you like them, you will love the book.  If the tutorials don't help you in any way then you should probably be writing your own book and this one will be dull as dish water for you.

The second book I bought, because if you are ordering from Amazon, then it is foolish not to get at least two books (well that is what I tell myself anyway).  The second book I bought was this one:

I decided to get this book because I have seriously fallen in love with lace knitting recently and I find myself wanting to have a go at designing my own shawl/scarf.  I don't have many stitch dictionaries and the ones that I do have are mainly part of a larger book and therefore quite limited in content.  I decided that this book would really help me if I wanted to design something with a bit more interest in my stitch patterns.

I have sat down and had a thorough look through the book and there seem to be a really good selection of lace patterns, with only a few duplications on those I already have.  The layout is fairly basic and it could take quite a while to find a specific pattern that you remember vaguely from before, as there don't seem to be very clear categories.  The other thing I didn't like was the lack of charts.  I like charts with my lace knitting.  I find it easier to memorise when I can see a chart.  If I was to use a stitch pattern from the book I would have to chart it first.

By the way if you want to create a chart, I use the free knitting font available here.  If you want something that is web based you can use either KnitChart or chartGen.  Personally I use OpenOffice and create a chart using the knitting font, it makes it easier to insert it into any patterns I might write.

Going back to the book, it will make a useful addition to my library, but I probably wouldn't have invested in it if I wasn't going to use it to write my own patterns.  I don't think it would be much use to a knitter who always sticks to the pattern, even if it might be nice to occassionally add a little lace edging to a plain stocking stitch sweater.

I hope you liked my little reviews, I thought I'd give them to you as I always find reviews on craft books very useful on other blogs I read.  There are so many out there, it is hard to know what is useful to me.  If you are interested, I have a page on the blog here, that lists all the books I own and rate quite highly.  If you know of any other "can't do without" craft books, please let me know, I'll add them to my Wish List for Christmas ;-)

Don't forget that you still have time to enter my blogiversary giveaway by leaving a comment on this post, before midnight (UK time) on 17th September.


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