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Book Review – Shoreland Socks by Hunter Hammersen

Shoreland Socks by Hunter Hammersen, softback published by Pantsville, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com ISBN 97817325229, price 19.99.

A beautiful selection of socks to knit. I particularly like the textured patterns. These are socks everyone will love to wear. However at just seven patterns, this is rather pricey if there are some you don’t like. However that is unlikely to happen. Gorgeous patterns, gorgeous yarns, gorgeous photography. I love the little addition of the circumference chart for socks so that you can record the size of loved ones for whom you are knitting. Abbreviations are kept to a minimum and the instructions include charts. One thing hat might irritate some knitters is that she does not give exact needle size, but a range and you have to do that swatch to work out your gauge. The patterns are worked in the round. It’s not for beginners, but this will set the knitting juices flowing.

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Book Review Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey

Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782212850, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A veritable feast of stitchery. This books presents more than 40 inspiring exercises to free your creative mind. Different techniques are explored including quilting, printing, dyeing, couching, needlelace and more inspired by cultures around the world. Includes a stitch gallery and templates. Features on boro, Gee’s Bend quilters and Dorset buttons. Small projects throughout to try out your new skills. Love the embroidered circles of felt and the raised stitch and pleats and folds sections, the rag book and mola. Crammed full of ideas.

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Fair-Isle Knitting by Monica Russel

Fair-Isle Knitting by Monica Russel, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215806, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

This book offers three separate things – instructions on techniques; 45 stitch designs and 14 knitting patterns under the umbrella Fair-Isle. You can choose to knit from charts or written instructions. It’s a very loose look at fair-isle, that people often mistake as just colour knitting. It borders on folk and intarsia instead of true fair-isle. The patterns use a variety of yarn including Jamesons shetland, which comes in a fabulous range of colours, but this author sadly has no colour sense at all. Some of the samples have had the yarn stretched tight at the back too, a rookie error with fair-isle. The projects, assuming you think about the colours, are better than the sample stitch patterns but still too many are just coloured knitting methods and not fair-isle. A big disappointment if you are expecting what the title says. There is so little in this book about real fair-isle knitting.

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Book Review – Lace Knitting by Denise Samson

Lace Knitting by Denise Samson, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782218135, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Lace Knitting can be romantic yet practical. In this book you’ll discover lace knitting techniques, charts and patterns with 30 projects to make and 40 stitches offering much inspiration. The lace stitch patterns are divided into edgings and panels (12); leaves (4); diagonals (7); overall (11); reversible (3) and twisted (3) . The projects include garments, accessories and household textiles. You’ll find small projects such as hats using one stitch. I particularly like the chid’s cardigan with lace heart pockets and the lace top with scallop motifs. There are two attractive sock patterns and the bed coverlet is a heirloom pattern. My top make is the Bolero, it is beautiful. I’m not sure that many knit dresses and this book includes a fair few. The introduction includes gauge and blocking as well as charts. If you need full written instructions, this book is not for you as it relies totally on charts. Also if you are not used to working out which needle to use to give a specific tension, this is not for you as needle size is not given at all. An interesting addition for any lovers of lace knitting. This book was first published in Norwegian and has also been published in the USA.

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Crewel Twists by Hazel Blomkamp

Crewel Twists by Hazel Blomkamp, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217770, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Crewel twists

Jacobean embroidery designs with a twist. Fresh projects are the core of this interesting embroidery design book. Interesting stitch and beads contribute to these fascinating modern designs. Creative freeform crewel embroidery to entice anyone who loves stitch. Contents include: Introduction, Materials, Stitch Gallery and Beading Techniques, Thread conversion chart, template designs, needle-made lace and creative traditional work. Clear technique and stitch images accompany the stitch gallery. Each stitch project shows the materials needed including fabrics, needles, threads and beads. The designs look quite complicated but since instructions are given for all component parts, you could, for example, just work one flower. Beautiful designs from an accomplished embroiderer.

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Book Review Wintertime by Jennifer Sampou

Wintertime Shimmer quilt and Table Runner by Jennifer Sampou, instructions and patterns. Published by C & T Publishing, ISBN 9781617459115, price 16.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

This quilt pattern caught my eye straight away. Actually it is two patterns, one for a bird quilt on a background of stars and twigs, the other for a table runner of winter trees. Both are very attractive designs and would look great as seasonal decorative projects. They are both pieced and applique projects. The projects have a modern look about them but use traditional quilting methods. Suitable for a number of fabrics to change the look. The instructions are super clear. Great to make and wonderful to give either the makes or the pattern as a gift.

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Book review Cable Knits From Nordic Lands by Ivar Asplund

Cable Knits From Nordic Lands by Ivar Asplund, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782218142, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

This book presents with a pleasant cover. It is subtitled ‘Beauty and Ingenuity In Over 20 Unique Patterns’. Without doubt there are some wonderful stitch patterns and anyone who enjoys aran-style, textured knits will find this book of interest. However, it has one big let-down for experienced knitters – the shaping of the garments leaves a lot to be desired. Mainly straight with straight sleeves, these garments tend to be bulky under the arms. A little know-how will mean you can change the shaping and this book is best bought as a small stitch guide. Step by step instructions, charts and stitch sampler.

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Book Review Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard

Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617458095, price 23.99 gbp. Available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Always great to see a new book from this author. I love his style. This book covers how to blend the old and new, something Brian does to perfection. It covers inspiration, fabrics, stitch and projects. The introduction gives the story of Etta Mae and her trousseau. Seek and Find is all about finding things you can use in your work – it’s like treasure hunting. The projects are very satisfying. The Lacemaker is a very special piece; a small quilt with a beautiful lace edge and embellishments. There is a scissor holder and matching pincushion; a fabulous table runner; photo pincushions and sachets; a sewing butler including another pincushion, scissor holder and bag. There is also a gallery of work. Such a wonderful textile and quilting artist with a unique look. I recommend this book for its style and embellishments that could be applied to your own work.

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Book Review The Art of Annemieke Mein

The Art of Annemieke Mein, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217657, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com

Marvel at the textile skills of Annemieke Mein in this wondrous book of her work. Find skilful and amazing use of fabric, stitch, paint and embroidery to create imaginative flora and fauna that is sheer delight. Her subjects come to life, Mr. Frog is so textured you can almost feel his skin. Annemieke uses textiles as a sculptural medium to portray insects and other wildlife in natural settings. There are no less than 60 works of art shown in this book. Step into the world of a wildlife artist, outstanding in her field. See the detailed drawings and notes she makes. Discover how she selects fabrics and stitch to convey her subjects. She reveals the progression in her work, from early flat works through relief work (I am certain that Eastern Water Dragon’s eye just blinked) to the more sculptural work. Backgrounds blend, as they do in real life, as camouflage; the colours being very natural. Stitch just flows along leaves or quietly in the background. Even intense stitching just seems to blend at one with the fabrics and subjects; like a symbiotic relationship. In the high-relief wall sculpture, ‘Cup Moths’ the background shapes and colours are repeated in the leaf work, the cocoons blending beautifully; the moths themselves in relief but beautifully camouflaged. Other subjects include birds, beetles, wasps, gulls, branches, sea urchins, barnacles, mussels and kelp, seed pods, gum blossoms and grasshoppers. Each piece is accompanied by a description and often by drawings. Note the size of the panels, they are reasonably large wall pieces. Annemieke has also worked on costumes. She captures Australian wildlife like no other textile artist, detailed work to marvel at and admire. There is so much the textile artist can learn from this book – how to approach work, how to instil a feeling of reality, how to use colour and stitch to give form. This book was previously published in Australia in 1992. Highly recommended.

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Book Review The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano

The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215837, price 25.00 available from www.searchpress.com

An exquisite book of gentle embroidery. Follow Chloe into her woodland wonderland of flora and fauna. Encounter rabbits, foxes, hares, a wolf cub, a fawn or dormouse all lovingly embroidered. See how the author works and how her embroidery has progressed into delicate backgrounds that complement the subject. She uses sketching and painting to create the designs, blending thread colours for each piece. Good details are given on the working methods. However, there are no guides to threads used or what to buy. This is the artist talking you through her work. Each embroidery is produced in a hoop. There are many samples of work and detailed step by step photographs to guide you. An inspiring look at the artist’s work for any lover of animals and embroidered art.