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Wool'n Magic [Paperback]

Jan Messent
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Aug 2006
Jan Messent shows how to use knitting, crochet and embroidery in surprising and original ways. Taking inspiration from nature, she creates garments of breathtaking beauty, superb wall hangings, picture designs, three-dimensional animals, knitted patchwork and landscapes, cushions, lampshades and more.

Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press Ltd; New Ed edition (23 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844481840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844481842
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 21.4 x 28.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


First published in 1989, this classic book has been reissued and is sure to captivate a new generation of knitters, crocheters and embroiderers. Among the knitted designs on offer are 3D sheep with a knitted background, patchwork panels, a lacy lampshade and a mermaid, but there aren't set patterns for all the items in the book. Instead the decorative objects are there to inspire you and give you a jumping-off point for your own yarn-based artworks. While experienced knitters will be most able to produce textile artworks like those in the pictures, novices will find plenty of inspiration to experiment with in wool 'n' magic. --Simply Knitting, March 08

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

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4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This is a truly amazing book. It isn't a pattern book, it's more a showcase for creative possibilities with yarn. The pictures are gorgeous and show knitted landscapes and sculptures many of which combine knitting, crochet, felting and other fibre crafts to create one-off pieces of art.

When first published around two decades ago I think this book was really ahead of its time. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the ways that knitting (and related crafts) can be used as a creative outlet rather than simply for making garments.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired 20 May 2007
Verified Purchase
Rather than offering patterns which you must but the exact yarn for and the follow religiously, this book offers ideas for the intermediate to expert knitter and crocheter allowing you to create unusual and beautiful textiles. It is one of the better resources for freeform knitting and crochet and will allow anyone with a little imagination to create beautiful and practical wearable art as well as home furnishings and gifts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sequel is never quite as good... 14 July 2012
Beginning with a bit of a history of wool, sheep, and weaving, my hopes weren't too high when I opened up this book. Although photos of more innovative work is included, I was disappointed by the number of patterns (compared to the book's predecessor, Have You Any Wool?), including 3-dimensional sheep, a shawl, and the mermaid (cover photo).

However, the following chapter on texture soon reverts to type, and the 'project' is really more of an experiment. More specific guidance is included than in 'Have You any Wool?', but more in terms of a workshop tutorial than a prescriptive how-to.

The colour section is a far more comprehensive guide to choosing and using colours than HYAW and gives a very practical suggestion for oven-dying yarns. The next chapter is my favourite, working with rings and hoops (and lampshades). These present lots of creative possibilities, and it's a shame the idea isn't taken just a little bit further to incorporate weaving, too (I have some great books covering that indepndently, though). This chapter also includes instructions to make Dorsetshire buttons, which may interest some.

The chapter incorporating embroidery and knitting in some cases seems to ground the freeform styling a little, but there is also lots of exploration of texture and adaptation from landscape that works well. The final chapter is a disappointment to me, given that it claims to be what all the previous chapters have been leading up to: free-style knitting, crochet and embroidery in...garment design. Hmm. Well, the styling is very 80s, but that can be forgiven, given its original publication date.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 14 Jan 2013
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Can't wait to put Jan's techniques and ideas into practice and I'm sure I'm going to enjoy myself in the process
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars knitting fun 29 Aug 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Another great book by Jan M. If you need step by step instructions and are bent on making EXACTLY whats in the book- NOT for you. If you like to use books for inspiration to create your own things- GREAT book for you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best 27 May 2009
By C. Stafford - Published on Amazon.com
A classic beautifully reprinted. Anyone with any field of interest in fiber arts should own this book. Nightstand eye-candy at its finest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book 28 Feb 2010
By Terry Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a feast for the eyes. Just looking at the photos makes you want to get out all your yarn, or make a trip to a good yarn shop and buy lots of different yarns and start playing. If you're like me, you keep buying one skein of each gorgeous yarn because it's so expensive, and then you have buckets full of great yarn - but only one skein of each. Here's the answer - wonderful things to do with those skeins and bits left over from the scarf or hat you made. I would say this is an inspirational book, rather than a "do this, then do that" book - but even an intermediate knitter should be able to work out some extraordinary projects working through the book. And, if you are the sort of person who loves to knit, but is too impatient to follow a pattern for a garment, this will give you lots of options for playing with knitting, rather than working - and there is a difference.
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