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Jan Messent's Have You Any Wool? (Search Press Classics) [Paperback]

Jan Messent
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Oct 2008 Search Press Classics
Jan Messent suggests hundreds of witty and wonderful ways to use up oddments of yarn to create interesting and decorative projects. Use knitting and crochet to make beautiful pictures, knitted sheep, a crocheted cobra, dominoes, dice and much more.This book is a must for all those craftswomen who want to extend the boundaries of their work. It will begile the beginner, who for far too long has had to rely on laborious instructions for every project, and delight the devotee who has been longing for someone to light the way into the realms of fantasy.


Product details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press Ltd (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844481824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844481828
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 21 x 28.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 478,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

In her new book, Jan Messent explores the creative use of yarn for those who have never knitted or crocheted before and for all those who enjoy creating with yarn. Using innovative and imaginative methods, Jan encourages us to work with small quantities of yarn to make decorative novelty pieces including fun figures, cats, cacti, cottages, sheep, landscapes and much more. --Machine Knitting Monthly, Nov 08<br /><br />Yarn crafts are enjoying a surge of popularity at the moment, so it is a good time to reissue this lovely old classic from 1988. It has had several other reprints, and now it is once again back by popular demand. So just what is it that is so special about this book? I guess it is quite an unusual approach to knitting and crochet, and this is all explained in the introduction. Rather than the usual format of stitch diagrams, lists of equipment you need to buy and staged diagrams of projects it takes a less structured approach. You could say in fact that it hits the ground running. It takes a look at fibers first, showing what you can do with them without even picking up a pair of needles. Although it does have a few diagrams on learning how to cast on and things like that it mentions experimentation and a freer approach to a normally format process. This sets the scene, and includes projects for a number of small figures and other "sale of work" items, making this a very good book for children. It is a difficult book to describe, other than by saying that it looks at yarn crafts from a different angle. As mentioned in the introduction, it is not specifically aimed at children although it contains many suitable projects, but at anybody who prefers its approach. I particularly liked the figures that introduce each chapter and then appear as projects at the end! This one surely belongs on the keeper shelf of any yarn crafter. --MyShelf.com

Yarn crafts are enjoying a surge of popularity at the moment, so it is a good time to reissue this lovely old classic from 1988. It has had several other reprints, and now it is once again back by popular demand. So just what is it that is so special about this book? I guess it is quite an unusual approach to knitting and crochet, and this is all explained in the introduction. Rather than the usual format of stitch diagrams, lists of equipment you need to buy and staged diagrams of projects it takes a less structured approach. You could say in fact that it hits the ground running. It takes a look at fibers first, showing what you can do with them without even picking up a pair of needles. Although it does have a few diagrams on learning how to cast on and things like that it mentions experimentation and a freer approach to a normally format process. This sets the scene, and includes projects for a number of small figures and other "sale of work" items, making this a very good book for children. It is a difficult book to describe, other than by saying that it looks at yarn crafts from a different angle. As mentioned in the introduction, it is not specifically aimed at children although it contains many suitable projects, but at anybody who prefers its approach. I particularly liked the figures that introduce each chapter and then appear as projects at the end! This one surely belongs on the keeper shelf of any yarn crafter. --MyShelf.com

About the Author

Jan Messent qualified as a teacher in the mid-50s and, after teaching Art, History and English, became deeply involved with embroidery as an art form. As a member of the Embroiderers' Guild, she taught embroidery design to its members, wrote and illustrated design books, and lectured worldwide. Her last embroidery book was about the Bayeux Tapestry. She became interested in the experimental use of knitting and crochet and hoped, by her books on the subject, to open up new dimensions in the creative use of yarn. Now, having retired from lecturing, Jan writes historical fiction full-time, embroidering as a side-line, reading, painting, and listening to good music.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, But ... 9 May 2011
I absolutely loved this book because the projects were so inspiring and the information about stitches, yarns etc answered lots of my own thoughts/questions on the subject.

However, those projects I particularly bought the book for (namely the cobra p48; the sheep p61 and the vegetables p104-107) don't come with sufficiently detailed instructions for someone without lots of experience to make up and so I was ultimately disappointed. Otherwise I would have awarded it the full 5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes we have 27 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase
As someone said "No patterns" but a great source of inspiration.
Perhaps not for someone without some fibre working skills but a very useful starting point for projects.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's not dated, it's retro! ;) 14 July 2012
Jenny Dowde and Renate Kirkpatrick have both recently written books on freeform knitting and crochet, but this one (first published over 2 decades ago in 1986) is on another level altogether, and will liberate your creativity in all-new ways. Although brief, one of my favourite parts of this book is the first chapter which includes card-wrapping, cardboard loom weaving, needleweaving and god's eyes. These are very simple techniques, and the brief introduction here is enough for the creative thinker to realise they suggest all sorts of possibilities.

Subsequent chapters cover knitting and crochet, but not in the same way as the authors mentioned above: knitting is combined with card-wrapping, crochet evolves into cacti (long before the current amigurumi craze anthropomorphised everything). Just don't come to this book expecting a project book (although a few patterns are included). All the techniques and methods are explained, and lots of illustrative photos show you what you might achieve, but Messent's focus is on developing your own creativity, encouraging you to keep a notebook and develop your own ideas. A patterns section explores the different effects you can create using different stitches and textures; a colour section shows you how to develop yarn colour schemes from photos, and how to blend and combine colours in original ways. A knitted/card-wrapped colour wheel illustrates the basic colour wheel terminology. Working from nature you will be inspired to create three-dimensional shapes and tactile textures.

If you have an interest in textile crafts and even an ounce of latent creativity, by the time you've finished reading this book, I guarantee it will be unleashed! (Thank you, Search Press, for reissuing this classic!) N.B. Look out for 'Wool 'n Magic' by the same author.
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By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
I quite liked this book which says it's 'a knitting/ crochet book with a difference...the projects can be made simple or complicated depending on the ability or imagination of each reader'.
Some of the items seemed a little dated, reminded me of the 70s (but this was published 25 years ago!)
How to knit a textured wall hanging...a cactus in a pot...crochet toadstools...little knitted sheep and gardens (reminded me of Messent's other book 'Knitted Gardens' which is definitely superior to this one)...various little figures including a knitted Assyrian king! Total assortment of unusual ideas!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book but a little dated 16 Oct 2010
By Jo Bennie VINE VOICE
Good and inspirational but quite dated, although some great ideas about using crochet, knitting, needleweaving and wool wrapping to create.
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