Sunday, 30 June 2013

Book Review: Abbygale Sews by Emma Curtis & Elizabeth Parnell

'Abbygale Sews' is a new book from Search Press by Emma Curtis & Elizabeth Parnell. If you love Cath Kidston florals and patterns then this is a must-have sewing book for you.



The book contains 20 sewing projects with a very good range of accessories to choose from. What I loved instantly about this book was the photography, the clarity and modern design of the book and the fact that there is an extremely good quality sheet of thick paper patterns to trace at the back of the book in a sturdy cardboard slot (no photocopier enlarging needed).



Emma and Elizabeth have worked for the same publishing company and the book is a pleasure to look at. They know which buttons to press. There is even a recipe for a Devon cream tea in here!



The book is aimed at the complete beginner sewer. There is a page of guidance in the shape of a foreword at the beginning of the book with advice about what equipment you will need. There are two pages at the back of the book with advice on embellishing such as bias binding, french seam, blanket stitch, self-covered buttons, ruffles and flower puffs. The projects are extremely well illustrated with ample space and are clear to follow. There are quite a few straight sewing projects in here if you are a complete beginner on the sewing machine - cushions and bags will start you off nicely.



The only thing I can think of that it doesn't have is a spread at the beginning of the book with an overview of the projects so you do flip through the book quite a lot to look at and get to know the projects but that's not essential, and you will want to flick through the book multiple times!



There are seven 'bags' (pouches, gadget cases and bags), one bunting project, a patchwork bean bag, a tea cosy, table mats, a sewing machine cover, a christmas stocking, a cushion, a hot water bottle cover, a girl's dress, an upcycling project, matching mother and daughter aprons, and some very unusual dolls!



As soon as you open this book you are transported to a wonderful world of fun in the garden, spotty fabric and cream teas. It's visual heaven.

'Abbygale Sews' by Emma Curtis & Elizabeth Parnell is available from Search Press for £9.99 - that's 50p per pattern. Such good value when you buy a book rather than an individual pattern online.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this beautiful book to review.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Book Review: 500 Toys to knit, crochet, felt & sew by Nguyen Le

'500 toys to Knit, Crochet, felt & Sew' by Nguyen Le is such a cute irresistable book with funny, whacky and tasteful toys to suit every taste and whim.


Like '500 crochet blocks', reviewed previously, there are suggested variations for almost all the toys with five projects, some of which are radically different and therefore increase the project count considerably. The suggestions do not have images to illustrate them like the main projects do, so you will need to use your imagination if you are a visual person. The toys are brilliant and I love this ballerina below:


I also love that the toys range from a tasteful ballerina to a sewn breakfast. Not that a sewn breakfast isn't tasteful. Obviously it's not in that way...moving on...


There are 25 pages of helpful instructions at the start of the book. Templates, when needed, are included on the pages the project is on and you will need access to a photocopier which enlarges images to make them big enough.


The book advises the reader to use 'Brown Sheep' yarn which is sold in America, but the great thing with toys is that you can use pretty much any yarn and, if you are not bothered about size, skip the tension swatch!


Of course another great thing about making toys is that any yarn or fabric scraps you have left over from other large projects will be great for this book. Many of the knitted or crocheted toys only need a ball of yarn to make.


You can buy '500 toys' with '500 crochet blocks' together and save five pounds, or buy just '500 toys' on its own from the Search Press website.

Thanks once more to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Book Review: 500 Crochet Blocks by Hannah Elgie & Kath Webber

'500 crochet blocks - the only compendium of crochet blocks you'll ever need' by Hannah Elgie & Kath Webber is a fantastic book which is full of inspiration and variations on themes.



There are squares, circles, numerous colour collections and hundreds of different stitches. After each chapter there are four suggestions for variations on almost all of the crocheted blocks in different colours or with different flowers or a different charted design. I found this to be the most useful aspect of the book. You aren't just getting 500 blocks, but a lot more for your money.



The book is a six inch square (15cm) which is what size the blocks come to when you have finished crocheting them. It's the size I find is most asked for when fundraising and makes adding up what size your finished afghan will be that much easier.



The book begins with a fully illustrated guide on how to crochet which lasts a full seven pages so you will not be lost if you are a beginner. There are two pages on textural stitches such as bobble and puff stitches. One page is on reading a pattern and one on reading a chart; something other books or magazines don't seem to extend their help section with.



There is also advice on finishing your work and sewing or crocheting the blocks together with some information on edgings you can decorate your afghan with and some essential hints and tips to finish with. There are also project suggestions next to some of the patterns like the one above. I love this stool cover.



The range of stitches on offer like the one above is phenomenal. I love this lace and there are also blocks which use crocheted cables and tunisian crochet too.



'500 Crochet Blocks' is available to buy from Search Press on its own or with '500 toys' which is half price when bought together. I will review '500 toys' next on this blog.

Thanks once again to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

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