I want to preface this with the fact that I love Nicky Epstein's designs. I get withdrawal waiting for new books. But...
Her instructions SUCK! The best example I have of this is the "Fiesta Flower Handbag". I had many many issues with this (while I was trying to make it for my mother for mother's day no less).
First of all, the required yarn amounts are WAY off. You need 5 skeins of the MC, at least three of the green and two of each of the pink and grape. I had to stop twice to wait on ordered (my LYS is over 92 miles away) yarn (still waiting on some now actually). And for the first time in my life I actually used the recommended yarn for something!!!
Secondly, there is not PRE-felting guage or main panel measurements! How can I figure out if I have even remotely the right size if I have to finish and felt the dang thing before I can measure it. I'm just hoping its close.
Thirdly, the florettes on the handle fold just do not look like the picture, no matter how I read it or try to figure it out (and I am a Master Crocheter) it doesn't look like the picture.
Fourthly, the pictures!!! The instructions tell you to use the picture as a guide, but it only has ONE! There is no picture of the side pockets, even though the instructions say to use it as a guide!!!
Fifthly, the instructions tell you to edge each piece with pink, while clearly in the (one) picture, one panel is edged in the grape!
Sixthly, there is no instruction for closing the bottom of the side pocket! Now granted, you most likely could figure it out, but she goes into great detail as to the edging (for example every corner turn is slowly spelled out to go along the edge and single crochet 3 times in every corner...four times! I think we got it the first time Nicki!!) Besides the fact is that if you got that far, I'm sure you have done that before and its almost automatic! Most crocheters have made simple dishcloths where this is (in my experience) the way EVERY SINGLE one is done!
Lastly, the fact that except for the slightly goofy ear-flap hat and this handbag, the rest of the apparel patterns are really freaky looking, from the wedding dress with huge floppy beaded yarn blobs or the giant messy neck piece or the completely bizarre opera gloves (who really would wear these anywhere but a costume party) are just WEIRD. And don't tell me they could easily be worn by Paris Hilton or some other Hollywood skank, they wouldn't TOUCH them unless they wanted to make the worst dressed list(might finally bump Bjork and her swan dress off the list!)
I won't even bore you with the myriad of typos and just plain confusedness of the flower patterns. And I really can say that about ALL of her books and patterns.
Please Nicky, fire your testers and editors, call me! I am completely zealous when it comes to succinct and accessible instructions, and I bet you a buck that I would be cheaper than the ones you used for this book.
I absolutely love having this book for inspiration. Nicky gets an A+ for inspiration and a C- for execution. So only spend your money if you have the time and patience to sit and play with the patterns. And always double the yarn requirements
If you aren't extremely comfortable with crochet, remember that you might hit some speedbumps and need a little help.