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Lizzie Burgess (North Manchester, England)

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Hand wool spinning starter kit - includes drop spindle, instructions and 4 shades of Finnish sheeps wool rovings
Hand wool spinning starter kit - includes drop spindle, instructions and 4 shades of Finnish sheeps wool rovings

5.0 out of 5 stars Hand spinning starter kit, 21 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Useful instruction leaflet and plenty of lovely natural fleece to practice with; perfectly functional drop spindle all nicely packaged in a sturdy box. It would make a very nice gift for someone who wants a new hobby - the accompanying fleece spins up to a useful amount of wool yarn for an existing knitter or crocheter.
When you've spun the accompanying fleece, a great many more types are available from a range of sources at extremely reasonable prices - you could spin yourself an entire woolly wardrobe!

Respect The Spindle
Respect The Spindle
by Abby Franquemont
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for learning the how, when, where, what and even the physics of spindle spinning., 20 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Respect The Spindle (Paperback)
I wanted to learn to hand-spin, but have no interest in a wheel - I already have a machine I can sit at and treadle, my sewing machine - and wanted a portable craft to complement my intermittent interest in knitting and the local availability of bits of raw fleece.

After teaching myself the basics of spindle spinning by a process of trial and error - mainly the latter, resulting in lumpy yarn, cord-like yarn, breaking yarn, and a couple of broken spindles - I realised further advice was desperately needed if I were to produce usable yarn on a consistent basis..

Every hand-spinning book I looked at gave only the briefest mention of spindles, with the implication that they're scarcely worth bothering about, that they are toys for children, not serious tools and that the serious spinner will, of course, want to spend £100s on a wheel ... then I found Respect the Spindle.

This book arrived this morning and is everything I hoped for and more. It is a fascinating and wide-ranging book, containing everything from how to start spinning to the physics of twist, via comprehensive trouble-shooting, international spindles, various types of fibre, the history of spinning and more. It is beautifully illustrated and contains a great deal to interest anyone who likes yarn, textiles, history or practical mechanics.

All in all, a book which I know I will refer to again and again, for both pleasure and assistance.

Sew Baby Doll Clothes: Instructions and Full-size Patterns for 30+ Projects for 12" to 22" Dolls
Sew Baby Doll Clothes: Instructions and Full-size Patterns for 30+ Projects for 12" to 22" Dolls

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware! Patterns in kindle edition are not usable., 20 Feb 2012
As the print edition is unavailable and/or out of my price range at present, I enquired of the seller of the kindle version as to whether the full-size patterns included in the print edition, were printable (ie usable) in the kindle edition.

After all, a clothing pattern - be it for doll or human - is not much use if one cannot print the pattern, lay it on the fabric and use it as a template. That is what patterns ARE.

I received the disappointing - but honest - answer that no, the patterns cannot be printed.

Not much purpose at all in continuing existence of the kindle edition of this sort of book, then.

Offered by Athena Crafts Ltd.
Price: £6.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super-fast delivery and product is just what I wanted, 11 Feb 2012
As it says in the title, really. Ordered on Thursday evening, delivered at 10.30 am today, Saturday.

I've bought supposedly 'soft' and supposedly 'anti-snag' hook-and-loop before elsewhere, but it's never been actually soft, or truly anti-snag, so I thought I'd see if the 'real thing' was any better.

Yes, yes and thrice yes!

For my particular purpose, the real thing is very well worth the extra cost involved. It's not butter-soft, but the backing tape is very much less rigid than 'normal' Velcro or generic hook-and-loop, even the so-called soft versions, and doesn't have those sharp corners. The tape doesn't snag on knit, fleece or plush fabrics; it has snagged very slightly on a very loose, long-looped towelling but to be honest, that stuff can snag when you dry yourself with it, so I'm not bothered.

I am a very happy buyer indeed!

Fine Machine Sewing: Easy Ways to Get the Look of Hand Finishing and Embellishing
Fine Machine Sewing: Easy Ways to Get the Look of Hand Finishing and Embellishing
by Carol Ahles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book for machine sewers of all abilities, 7 Feb 2012
This book covers more than you can ever imagine. Even if you only have the most basic machine, there will be ideas and inspiration aplenty and you will soon be getting more and better results from your machine than you imagined were possible; for those of us lucky enough to have an advanced machine with a library of stitches, the sky is the limit.

If you want to make the most of your sewing machine, after developing a basic competence, this is the book to buy. Why sew boring seams up and down, when with just a little more time and effort, and no, or scarcely any, extra expense, you could be cording, doing sophisticated hemline alterations, making bedlinen or babyclothes that look for all the world as if they were handsewn by angels ...

Some of the photos are not the best, and are small and b&w - but I have dreadful eyesight - and I would have preferred more diagrams. I would also have liked the book to be in a format that would stay open at the desired page. However, those are really very minor complaints, and no real reflection on the content of the book.

It is rare to find a book that manages to be as practical, decorative and timeless as this one manages to be. An excellent purchase.

Dolls' Clothes
Dolls' Clothes
by Mette Jorgensen
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a bit dated & with European-style patterns., 24 Dec 2011
This review is from: Dolls' Clothes (Hardcover)
Not a bad book at all, as long as you are willing to cope with a few small problems.

The book was originally published in Denmark in the 1980s, so the patterns appear slightly dated; not that dolls care and anyway, it's mainly the colours and trims which date the garments.

The patterns given are for baby and toddler-type dolls, in small, medium and large sizes; only the height is given, none of the other measurements, sadly.

Given the date and country of the book's original publication, the patterns are clearly not designed for the currently-popular Baby Annabelle, BabyBorn, ChouChou and similar dolls. That said, all the patterns are looser-fitting, casual styles, and good advice is given re measuring and adjusting.

It is necessary to copy or trace the patterns from the book; they are printed in the European style familiar to anyone who has bought Burda pattern magazine - ie different pattern outlines are overlain on top of each other. It looks and sounds worse than it actually is to handle.

Lots of good points outweigh these problems, though. There is a clear statement near the beginning of the book that seam allowances of a certain width are included - how many patterns and pattern books just leave you guessing, or searching in out-of-the-way places for this vital information? The book is bound in such a way that it lies beautifully flat for photocopying or tracing; there are clear indications as to the ease or difficulty of each pattern, and suggestions are made for variations and trimming. The instructions for each garment are clear and concise. There is also brief guidance on some sewing techniques, and instructions for a few accessories. There are even a couple of basic knitting patterns included, but sadly no attempt has been made to indicate the ply or thickness of the wool or the sizing system used for the knitting needles. I am inclined to guess at mm needle sizing and 4-ply baby wool.

Good, bright, colour photos and quality paper make reading and handling this book a pleasant experience. I've not made up any of the patterns yet but will be doing so soon.

Dolls' Clothes Pattern Book
Dolls' Clothes Pattern Book
by Roselyn Gadia-Smitley
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of patterns but ..., 16 Dec 2011
... the patterns are somehow dull and uninspiring, although they look competently produced.

The book contains patterns for clothing for a wide range of dolls, but sadly no-one had thought to put them in any logical order in the book, so that cabbage-patch doll, barbie doll and collector doll patterns are all mixed up together; even the index gives no indication of what sort of doll a pattern is made for. Neither did anyone think of giving a table of measurements for the type of doll for which a range of pattens are supplied - this makes the necessary tweaking into hard work, not knowing whether to size up or down, or where.

Each pattern is provided only in one specified size, even though that size`is only vaguely alluded to.

Given that the patterns are clearly intended to be traced or photocopied, one also has to wonder why it has been produced in a format that will not lie flat without damage.

I shall keep it, but I'm not sure why. There's nothing 'different' or interesting in it at all.

To sum up - disappointing.

(Edited 9 February 2012. I have made up several of the patterns in this book for 12 and 15 inch baby dolls, and for an 18 inch doll with a girl-type body. Without exception, NONE of them have satisfactorily fitted ANY doll in my extensive collection. This book is utter codswallop!)

Authentic Sewing Patterns for Favourite Dolls from the 1950's (Dolls Designs)
Authentic Sewing Patterns for Favourite Dolls from the 1950's (Dolls Designs)
by Patricia Evans
Edition: Paperback

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patterns galore!, 13 Dec 2011
This nicely-produced A4-sized book is one of those rare things, a pattern book which actually contains patterns galore in a wide range of sizes, not just one or two. The patterns are all full-size, and do need to be traced or photocopied - which to my mind is preferable to separately-produced patterns, as there is no chance for them to get lost or be mislaid. The construction of the book (stapled) makes photocopying easy, and one can easily cut changes in size or style right on the photocopied pattern.

The patterns have a range of variations described, resulting in totally different looks - for instance, the basic 12" doll dress bodice alone has at least 6 different approaches described for collars, trimming, yokes etc.

Of particular interest to me is the fact that this book is British-produced and thus contains patterns for baby dolls of various sizes instead of merely the ubiquitous 'American girl doll' who seems to hold sway over American doll clothes pattern books.

Those looking for patterns made specifically to fit today's brand names of popular baby dolls won't find them here, nor will they find patterns utilising stretch fabrics, fleece,etc, nor 'baby doll accessories' such as carrycots and nappies; neither will they find comprehensive A - Z sewing instructions - but anyone who can put a pattern for themselves or their children together and can take a few measurements of the doll they are sewing for, will find this little book to be an absolute treasure-trove of patterns for traditional clothing, ie dresses, romper suits and coats.

There are quite a few useful hints and tips on sewing specifically for dolls and basic sewing instructions for each part of the garment, which are all well worth reading through, even if you are a fairly experienced seamstress as I am, as yet more useful ideas are mentioned.

All in all, I give this book a 100% score.

"Vogue" Sewing - revised and updated
"Vogue" Sewing - revised and updated
by Editor: Crystal McDonald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all sewers of all levels, 26 Aug 2011
A book for sewers of all levels of competence. Buy it as a beginner with your first machine, and you'll still be referring to it 20 years later. Its information is timeless and correct, whatever the current fashion or fabrics and whatever you might be sewing.

The only tiny criticism I have is that it is awkward to use when actually following instructions on specific techniques for the first time; I need to use bulldog clips to hold it open. I would prefer it to be spiral-bound for that reason only.

Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People)
Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People)
by Pati Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as far as it goes, which isn't far enough., 26 Aug 2011
First of all, I must say that I've heard excellent reviews of this fitting method, and the courses on this method are all booked up months in advance. It's safe to say I've not heard any complaints about the courses, either. So I thought, surely the book will be helpful until I can get on a course.

Well, it would be if I had someone to help me. The assistance of a second person is absolutely essential to this fitting method unless you are double-jointed with extra-long arms, eyes in the back of your head and can pin tissue without pinning yourself or moving your body - and hence the tissue - as you bend and twist to do so.

I don't think it's made clear enough that this fitting method is - at least in the beginning - essentially a two-person process. The book is nice enough, the system appears well-thought-out and clearly explained, and I'm hoping to book on a course early next year, so I'm keeping the book - but sadly it is a waste of money if you think this book will enable you to fit clothes to yourself, by yourself, all alone. There are other methods to do this such as obtaining a 'sloper' or block, which seem to me to be far better and more versatile for the person working single-handed.
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