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Louise K (England)

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201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas
201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas
by Melody Griffiths
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh the possibilities!, 6 Nov 2010
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This is a really lovely and inspiring crochet book. It has beautiful pictures using lovely colours. Each of the motifs and blocks is presented in full colour with full written instructions and charts. The projects pages at the back of the book take the motifs and blocks presented and use them in practical and imaginative ways. Even if they are not to your taste, it shows how our own projects could be put together. The shapes given can be used for lovely scarves, blankets, coasters, bags and even clothes. Many of them are very lovely indeed. There is a good range and sure to be something to suit. The blocks show a technique rarely shown well - jacquard or 'picture' crochet ( a bit like intarsia in knitting). There are some lovely little animal blocks that are constructed quite simply, it must be noted however, that details are embroidered. Using the information gleaned by making these squares it would be possible to design your own - with flowers rather than animals perhaps? At the front of the book there are both flowers to make and also blocks using floral design or motifs. There are numerous ways everything in this book can be used and where it particularly exels is to provide the starting point for a unique item developed by you. It is actually my favourite crochet book - it sets your mind buzzing with ideas while looking through it, which is a big plus as far as I am concerned. The only down side to this book and really I think it is quite a big thing, is the lack of finishing information - how to join your motives, either as you go, or sewing or crocheting them together afterwards. It really skims over this information and as it is lacking from so many crochet books that might be a bit of a problem; searching on-line will help you find some of the answers. Nevermind though as I still adore this book!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2011 9:39 AM BST


A-Z of Crochet (Crafts)
A-Z of Crochet (Crafts)
by vARIOUS
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: 19.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't cover everything, 6 Nov 2010
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I both agree and disagree with previous reviewers. The A-Z of Crochet is a good book but it by no means exhaustive. If you are a beginner then you will learn lots from it. However, it is not an imaginative book and it also shows few examples of finished pieces - the photo's are very utilitarian. It's not a bad first book - although I would have wanted pretty pictures to inspire me to learn the craft. Some illustrative projects would have been good too - it's not a very big book, it could easily have been expanded. It covers quite a lot and I'm pleased that it explains tubular crochet well - it explains exactly where to put the markers in (many books do not). It does not explain circular crochet nearly well enough - it does not tell you how to efficiently increase your stitches each round (there is a formula which does work pretty well but it is not in here). It has different kinds of crochet - Tunisian, Irish and surface for example but I would say it only touches the very basics and does not put them properly in context - what they are and what you can do with them. Crocheting motifs is barely covered - if you count basic shapes they are there and they have a brief mention in Irish crochet. There are no Granny squares or methods specifically for joining them together - this will be disappointing for some. There is little multi-coloured work, a little entrelac but that is all. No jacquard (tapestry or 'picture') techniques. The methods for stitching up crochet are good and they are shown clearly - this was a plus for me. I still don't know how to increase or decrease when crocheting in a stitch pattern and I still have no idea about the basic concepts behind making any shape you like; I know that as geometry is involved in triangles for instance, that if i want a nice shape I can't just randomly increase and decrease - besides all triangles are different; how do I get the one I want? Unfortunately no book I have ever seen covers nearly enough of what you need or want to know. There is some stuff in here that is not clearly explained in other books - but there is plenty missing too. I have a number of books and that is the problem with all of them. There is no one volume book with ALL the information and I have to skip from one to the other, hoping that what is not in one book is covered by another. There are a lot of queries about crochet that I have that don't seem to be answered anywhere! (more the kind of thing to enable me to see HOW it works and to develop my own designs if I want). This is probably a good book to start with but you will need and want more. Crochet books generally are disappointing, there are not enough of them and they are not enough in depth. I find it very frustrating. There is little enough here if you are not a complete beginner.


Kirstie's Homemade Home
Kirstie's Homemade Home
by Kirstie Allsopp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.00

239 of 245 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depends what you are looking for....., 3 Nov 2010
It really does depend on what you are looking for in a book with this title as to whether or not you will like it. It is a beautiful book and worth the Amazon price but not the retail one. However, it really is not a 'homemade home' that we are looking at. The book is filled with lovely pictures of crafted things that professionals have made, not Kirsty! From time to time Kirsty is pictured holding an item while looking nervously at it. It is not a projects book and although you will see some lovely things scattered throughout the book - you will not be shown how to make them and usually they don't even get a mention as to what they are, how they are made etc. The projects that have been included are pretty dull. Crochet is an exciting colourful medium but you get shown some dull little containers here, which is not at all reflective of what you can find if you look in other places. It's not an aspirational book if you want to make things for yourself. If you want to pay someone to make them for you, then maybe you will enjoy this more. If you have a particular interest then you are better off getting a book that both serves as a visual feast but will enable you to get started on making something really special. If quilts are your thing then try 'Material obsessions' - this gives information about how to make ALL the quilts you see. Otherwise prepare to have this book maybe whet your appetite a little but ultimately leave you starving. This book has more style than substance - a point illustrated by a dining table looking wonderful but with a rug as its covering rather than a cloth. Most people could not accommodate that look in their house - besides it doesn't tell you how to make it. It won't harm to add this book to your collection if you want a pretty coffee table book but if you seriously want to get started on a craft there are many better books and many resources online to help you.


The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting Techniques
The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting Techniques
by Margaret Radcliffe
Edition: Paperback

17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected!, 1 Nov 2010
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I could not wait to get this book - I was so fired up with the reviews from other people and I have wanted to get going on intarsia and stranded knitting for ages. Well this book is not going to inspire me in those areas. For a book about colour it is very limited in it's palate - I find the use of colour rather dull and uninspired, some of the patterns look like they may be worthwhile, but they are certainly not shown to the best advantage. The colours chosen are in the main quite muted and this is not a book that I admire for it's beauty. A shame as I thought all the colour in a book such as this would surely inspire and spur me on in my own creations. Some of the stitch patterns as well as the colours are boring, plodding and nothing I would want in my life. There are also those that look rather interesting but it's hard to tell as the colours make them look ordinary where they could look special and exciting - I would have liked to see the sample in several colourways too, just to show how changing colour has a big effect. The fair isle section has hardly any charts at all and few exciting examples of this art. There is one pattern for a very ugly hat - no charts for you to get started with and have some fun. The intarsia is boring and bland to say the least. The information provided will start me off once I get another book of charted patterns to follow but that means the expense of another book, just to try out something I thought I would find enough on here - I would have welcomed some small patterns to try out stranded knitting but there are none. The colour theory at the beginning is very good and of use (shame it wasn't used to better effect in the book). The information about how to do things looks good too - but there is a lack of opportunity to try out some of the techniques in a small scale way. I was expecting a book on colour knitted to explode with vivacious colours rather than the muted scheme we have in the main here. That disappointment has I'm afraid, coloured my opinion of the book. I know it is up to me to use the colours of my choice but it is up to the book to persuade me to try out the techniques; it only partly succeeds.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2011 2:38 PM BST


Low Fat, Low Sugar: Essential vegetarian collection
Low Fat, Low Sugar: Essential vegetarian collection
by Rose Elliot
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elliot's best cook book?, 22 Oct 2010
I love this book! I am a big fan of Rose Elliot - her recipes taste amazing. This book has all the usual tastes and flavours without the fat. These recipes are very tasty indeed. Actually I don't mind too much about adding some fat to my diet - in fact I think it is a good idea. However if you want to lose weight, this is a wonderful way of doing it. I did ignore the quantities given though as I tended to eat more than suggested. I ate absolutely tons and was never hungry. However, I did lose 3 stone while cooking exclusively from this book (a life-style blip where I sat around eating chocolate muffins got me in bad shape). I still use the book regularly and it is now in 3 pieces as I have used it greatly since I first bought it a number of years ago. I have never put the weight back on.The recipes are really delicious using everyday ingredients. You will be surprised how some really simple food can taste so good. There are hearty stews and casseroles, a tasty lentil roast, butter bean curry, dhal and a quiche that isn't (made from mashed potato case - baked first, with a leek sauce filling) All my cravings disappeared and to be honest have never come back. There is a delicious butternut squash and cumin soup, rice dishes and lots of other things. Some of my very favourite dishes are in this book. I love it! I did not find the recipes bland, far from it - but remember seasoning is up to you!

I do agree that it can seem a bit extreme. However, you don't need to eat exclusively from this book and you can also add a little fat if you want to. Having said that, it means that you can feel free to chomp away - my plate was stacked high. I looked forward to all my dinners. This book made my 'diet' enjoyable. Another reviewer mentioned that the book tells you to cut out fruit. It does. I ignored that bit and ate fruit every day!


Vegan Cooking: Recipes for Beginners
Vegan Cooking: Recipes for Beginners
by Eva Batt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic and good vegan cooking, 7 Oct 2010
I would like to thoroughly endorse the reviewers who love this book - their reasons are spot on! I left a comment for the person who doesn't think too much of it and I say that I would replace my copy if I needed to. Well I have just ordered a new copy - this version has been revised and I look forward to it. This will be my third copy as the others have fallen apart through use. It's not a fancy book, the recipes are simple to do and you really do only need basic (and often very cheap) ingredients. It's amazing how good simple things can taste. Right now I have in the oven a butter bean loaf using a recipe from this book. It's very simple, just delicious and any left over will be just as good tomorrow cold. No it's not a trendy book but it has healthy recipes that vegans should eat to stay fit and healthy. Too many books just use vegetables without pulses (everyone knows the jokes about lentil bakes or nut roast don't they - the real joke is that no one knows how tasty these are!)This book has you preparing, cooking and eating real food - you won't be messing about in the supermarket trying to find your list of 'special' ingredients, chance are they will be in your cupboard or fridge anyway. Try out the recipes that seem a bit dull - they can be a real surprise. Lentil and tomato savoury is a big favourite. I couldn't make a decent bread pudding (family slices) until using the recipe from this book - it never tasted as it should and I tried lots of chef versions. It's a bit quaint as books go but that is half the appeal!


Paulina Tarot [With Booklet]
Paulina Tarot [With Booklet]
by Paulina Cassidy
Edition: Cards
Price: 19.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Intuitive, friendly and deep, 24 May 2010
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I saw all of these cards on-line before I bought them. I see many cards that I want but these I really had to have after seeing the art work which really appealed to me. Sometimes you can like the art but they fail to speak to you. When I received these cards, in a way I was disappointed - they appeared darker and less vibrant than I had thought. The images are also in many ways quite different to my regularly used cards (cosmic - very different but equally loved). I also found it difficult to fully see the image when it was laid in a spread - there is much detail drawn in the cards, so I found myself having to pick them up and peer at them. However, over time and use they have become wonderfully familiar and I still am growing with them. I find the cards have a great deal of charm and a wealth of knowledge to release. There are cards to fall in love with - for me some are; The Queen of Wands and the Empress (they both seem self-affirming and vibrant images), as well as the 6 of cups, 10 of cups and many others. There is a nice use of symbolism, there are little rabbits and cats as well as unexpected "creatures". The symbols are very carefully chosen and always make sense. The little white book is the best I have seen to accompany a deck and while it does not tell you everything, there is plenty to go on. Any symbols noticed that are not referred to can be looked up. Often a card can be drawn and attention will just hone in on a snail or other little detail, that before went unnoticed but is particularly relevant for the reading. There is plenty of information to cover all kinds of readings and they can deliver harsher messages in a kinder way.

These cards enabled me to foretell who was going to be the next UK Prime Minister, during the tense time that no one had a clue about - they provided extremely accurate information. I drew 3 cards for each. The last for Cameron was the 6 of wands (triumph - walking away with the prize!). Poor old Mr Brown got the Tower (sudden change, upheaval). As the results unfolded it was rather exciting for me! Another more flippant event the cards foretold was who was going to win the role of Dorothy in the TV show "Over the Rainbow". There was only one possible winner who received the Sun card and I was able to place the other two accurately in order of 2nd and 3rd. I usually use my cards for myself only, to gain insight into situations and rarely to see what may happen. My daughter who has limited time for tarot has been drawn in by the Paulina tarot and uses them sometimes and is beginning to build up a good understanding of them by doing so. I do recommend these cards. They are beautiful to work with and very intuitive. Somehow now I know the cards the difficulties I had seeing some of the images clearly seem to have gone - the images are in-tune with me. Standard meanings do apply to them too, so most how to read tarot books along with the LWB will be plenty to enable you to get wonderful readings with your cards .


Tarot of White Cats Mini
Tarot of White Cats Mini
by Lo Scarabeo
Edition: Cards
Price: 8.38

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little cards!, 7 May 2010
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This review is from: Tarot of White Cats Mini (Cards)
These little cards are gorgeous! They are somewhat small in size but I have to say that in my view that merely adds to their appeal. Sometimes with spreads one simply runs out of room, which is one of the reasons I got these. In no way does the size detract from the lovely images as they are very clearly depicted and you can tell instantly in most cases which card you are looking at. They are very close to the Rider Waite cards but use little cats as the figures - white for the most part but not exclusively. The depictions are charming - for instance in the Empress there are little kittens frisking at her feet, symbolising fecundity and growth. The colours are just perfect in my view, being bright and pretty without being garish. I find it easy to tune into the colours as they are warm and evocative. I do wish more artists would give us some vibrancy in tarot cards instead of the disappointing drabness which is all to easy to equate to misery.I would much rather have these than any of the Rider Waite's or clones just because of the colours, expressions and the attention to detail - most of which works perfectly in a mini size. It probably does help if you love cats. There are several cat decks to choose from but these have the most appeal for me as I find them very easy to read and a pleasure to look at. The backs are rather nice too, and if you do reverse readings there is no way of telling which way up the card is going to be. If this is your first pack I have just one caution. The little white book (LWB) is rubbish! There is a decent spread in it but the meanings are pretty useless. The space given is minuscule and the translation bad. However, any standard how to book that uses Rider Waite cards would be excellent to use with the deck. I don't find the cads frivolous at all as they are so well characterized and I definitely do not feel I am doing flippant readings. I haven't yet taken tarot cards out with me but I may well be tempted with this little set. Before purchase do look up this deck to view the cards. Six cards can be found at aeclectic but you can also google to find the whole set. Just so you know what kind of size they are, think cigarette cards. And you know how collectible they turned out to be!


Titania's Star Tarot
Titania's Star Tarot
by Titania Hardie
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing, 2 May 2010
This review is from: Titania's Star Tarot (Paperback)
I do agree with the previous review. The author associates different astrological signs with several of the Major arcana than is usual. For instance it is usual to align the Hierophant with Taurus (not Jupiter as here). Also in this pack, Temperance is associated with Taurus instead of Sagittarius and the Chariot with Sagittarius instead of Cancer. While some of these changes are not unheard of and most are wholly understandable - they do break away from recognised meanings and if this is your first pack, it will serve to confuse you. If you are experienced with Tarot is will also be an obstacle to retrain your thinking while using these cards and to re-align it once more when you go to standard packs, difficult if not impossible. Further more the number 5 cards - 5 of swords, pentacles, wands and cups have all been turned completely on their heads. In Tarot they usually symbolise loss and sorrow. However, in this pack they are given association with Mercury and have become positive cards. Again, one can understand the thinking behind this, as Titania has used standard numerological meanings of the number 5 to support her changes. It also serves to achieve her aim of an overall positive deck. This is fine for those just only wishing to use this deck, otherwise again there is difficulty harmonising this set with recognised Tarot.

Finally, it has to be said that these are not in my view a very attractive set of cards. The book is clear and helpful within the parameters mentioned. It is a shame that more care was not taken overall. It is obvious that Titania does indeed know her stuff; in order for her to have made the choices she has this would have been necessary. It results however, in confusion.


Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker
Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker
by Debbie Stoller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.39

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 25 Oct 2009
The instructions and information in this book take up the first half and are excellent. You will find tons of useful information written in a friendly, chatty and enjoyable way. It tells you much of the stuff you really need to know and includes helpful tips. My three stars is for this part of the book alone (and if you double them you get six stars and in my view this part of the book is worth that). I wouldn't want to be without this book as the information it provides is what gets me through crochet's many learning curves. Please bear in mind that this is an American book and terminology is different from that used in English crochet. This is all explained and as long as you stick to one or the other it will not be a problem. The book explains all this amongst other things. This is all excellent.

Now I come to the not so good part - in fact I think it is awful! I think that the patterns are dire. They seem ill-fitting and poorly designed. The colours are hideous (screaming primary colours and black, or pale pink and black for example, along with bright orange) and are like relics from the 70's (in a bad way). If you changed loads of things then some of them would be just about usable - but really why would you bother? I have seen so many beautiful modern crochet patterns to die for that these just don't cut it at all. Of course the other problem English users of this book have is that the recommended wool is probably not available in the UK. However, there is information about substitution of yarn for those wanting to have a go anyway.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly for the first half, but if you share my tastes and obviously many don't, you may find you want to look elsewhere for projects - once you have armed yourself with knowledge from this book. But yes, do buy it.


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