Well, not always. I freely admit that a book I chose to visit my mother this weekend was chosen for two very key reasons: length and genre. The content wasn’t perfect but I will continue to over look it this flaw. Also, this has ended up a pretty length post, about 1100 words or so. I’m sorry. I like to read. ;)
I had heard both good and bad things about this book and series. Which is true of every single book I’ve ever read. The author is either inept or a genius. The story is exciting or dull. I admit freely that it sat on my shelf for a while and that I chose it as my read for the weekend almost solely because of its length. I spent the weekend away and wanted to bring one book and be transported to one place. This book suit perfectly. I wanted to escape into a fantasy world for a few hours and if I didn’t have to think very hard, all the better. There is nothing wrong with a book like that on your shelves for when have you need it. Sure, I guessed the major parts that would unfold by the close of chapter six, but as I said if I didn’t have to think hard, all the better. I didn’t get it perfect as I (thankfully) couldn’t image a few minor characters, but there was little there that shouldn’t have been for me to enjoy my weekend. Yes, even the evil. Not that I enjoyed those that were evil, but what came to them.
So, then, was this a book just to pass the time? No. It guided me in escaping to another land for a while which was exactly what I needed this past weekend. Will I read the remainder of the series? I’m not sure. There are many other books I’d like to read so I think I’ll try them first, but I know this series is there if I need “that kind of read”.
With my recent surge in cowl knitting I decided to give this unique stitch dictionary another shot.. Epstein has put together a wonderful collection of over 350 borders, but there is just something missing from this collection that makes Mary Thomas’ knitting book or any Walker Treasury or even 150 Knitted Trims seem a better value for a knitter’s precious stash budget. I felt that few of the designs really branched out to go off and over the edge in varied ways. Sure there are only so many methods one can knit over the edge but I wanted to see more. If it is received as a gift I doubt it would be ill received, but if one is deciding between this and another volume, I’d probably suggest swinging the other way. (I hate writing something not 100% positive. I’m happy she’s put this out so people will think of doing more than the standard edgings but it just doesn’t do it for me.)
While not shy on colour, this volume is an ambitious attempt to merge beads with knitting. The book is spiral bound, something any knitter will appreciate, especially when attempting to balance a book and knitting and lots of beads. There is little in here which appeals to me personally but I could see some designs being knitted as gifts. I am very disappointed, however, that it only allows for beads to be pre-strung (there are other ways, mostly involving (i’m sorry, it’s really not scary) a crochet hook). I did, however, learn a method to insert beads to a stockinette background. (I just hadn’t thought hard about it before) And I find the photographed Aladdin Slippers very poorly designed at the toe. I’m a little confused by the techniques section in the back, I don’t think this book is geared to a beginning knitter but I personally don’t see a how useful some of it is since the knitter attempting this will be familiar with the techniques and since information is missing from these techniques would probably have to get up and get another reference book instead. I do, however, appreciate the clear photographs of the wrong side of several examples.
I wish I knew how I came across this book, but I’m happy I did. It is well planned out, designed, and drawn. I have no idea how it would sit with the tween/teen set but think that any beginning knitter would benefit from it. As a knitter & crocheter who-is-no-longer-beginning here I go:
1) It is spiral bound between a hard cover. Awesome. I love my books to lay flat and deal with non-ideal surfaces.
2) The drawings are all of prim and proper little white girls with blond hair and blue eyes.
3) The animal drawings are really cute. The balls of yarn look *real*. not realistic real world real, but they keep the perspective when strands overlap each other. Small detail but it means a lot to me.
4) Gauge is mentioned on page 8 a page after an explanation of other fibres. The following page? Metric and US needle sizes (ok, it helps that the authors are based in Toronto, but this rocks)
5) The patterns aren’t just knitting. They include wet-felting, crochet, and some weaving without a loom.
6) The projects range in technique and shape. Few beginner books do this. Simple shaping is introduced and this makes me happy.
7) The book isn’t afraid to have you seam. Good. It’s not scary but it does take a lot of practice to get it right.
So there you go. I think that this is a great beginning book for anyone wanting to get bit by the fibre bug: boy, girl, young or not-so-young (aka able to drive to the yarn store and pay for all that yummy fibre on their own). ;) And if you’re an experienced knitter or crocheter, the simple beauty of the designs and the colourful pages should snap you out of any fibre doldrums you may be experiencing.
View all my reviews that I’ve posted on Good Reads. You need to poke around.