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Wyvernfriend (Dublin, Ireland)

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The Night Serpent (Silhouette Nocturne)
The Night Serpent (Silhouette Nocturne)
by Anna Leonard
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Urban Fantasy Romance, 10 Jan. 2012
Lily Malkin has always had an affinity with cats and her dreams are haunted by strange imagery. She joins forces with Special Agent Jon T Patrick to hunt someone who is killing cats in strange ritualistic ways. The two of them are initially wary of each other but find themselves strangely attracted to each other.
I enjoyed this read and the occasional in-joke and nod to the SF community. It's an unusual paranormal and the characters are well drawn.

Curious Case of  Mayo Librarian
Curious Case of Mayo Librarian
by Pat Walsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.13

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sectarianism in 1930's Mayo, 25 Feb. 2010
In the early 1930's Ireland was still working it's way through it's issues. The people in charge were still working out how the new state was going to shape itself and bloody-minded Civil War politics were still shaping some of the ideologies and motivations of the main players.

Letitia Dunbar Harrison was appointed to Mayo as their first Librarian but was Protestant, going to a County with a vast Catholic majority, without good Irish as well, she became a hotbed of contraversy and a bone of contention that was well-chewed over.

Pat Walsh is a Librarian, speaking of a librarian and of a history that is now quite alien to most Irish people. But it could still happen in this country. Just change the religion. It could happen in any country! He doesn't really go into much other than the facts. One of the very interesting facts is that Letitia almost became, after her marriage and widowhood, the first Methodist Woman Minister.

Irish Knitting: Patterns Inspired by Ireland (Hobby Craft)
Irish Knitting: Patterns Inspired by Ireland (Hobby Craft)
by Rohana Darlington
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars early 90's yes, history good, patterns need work, 6 Feb. 2010
Pretty typical late 80's early 90's book, some of the patterns are a bit laughable but I think it could be useful for inspiration in places and in other places the patterns aren't too bad. The author also delves into history, visiting the National Museum and the Aran Islands as well as other places to delve into the history of Knitting in Ireland and doesn't perpetuate the Aran Jumpers Myth, she does detail some of the myths that have built up around it, but clearly stating that these myths have now passed into part of the story of the jumpers. She also notes which ones are newer designs than others. When she was finished talking with some people she went back to the National Museum and lodged her notes with them.

Yes there's no real shaping in the pieces and you would probably have to play with some of the designs to make them work but what's interesting about them is the completely different slant she has taken to Ireland and Irish design. She's exploring more of the heritage than I've seen many designers do and using it in different ways. A book that it would be interesting to use for concepts and ideas and maybe for some designers to look at to see if they too can play with the concept of Irish beyond cabling.

Travellers' Yarns
Travellers' Yarns
by Sue Bradley
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mostly good for inspiration, 2 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Travellers' Yarns (Hardcover)
Oh man, two sizes of boxy oversized pattern busy garments, this is quite the explosion in a paint factory experience. I could imagine using particular motifs from the patterns in an otherwise plain garment but these are just too much.

It does have some merit. There are interesting sketches and inspiration pieces, artwork and swatches before each chapter but the mishmash of cultural motifs and ideas just make me shake my head and wonder why.

Knits to Fit and Flatter: Designs to Make You Look and Feel Fabulous
Knits to Fit and Flatter: Designs to Make You Look and Feel Fabulous
by Jane Ellison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag, 2 Feb. 2010
I wanted to like this one, I really did. And there are a number of things to like about it. The fact that most of the pieces are done in two different yarns so you can see how a little difference would change things; though there is a cheat at least once where it's just a different colour of the same yarn. The fact that there are notes about how to change things to fit, also some notes on what flatters whom.

However, several of the garments are quite shapeless for a book called Knits to Fit and Flatter, in fact there's not a lot of fitting and in several instances I'd question the flattering! A slash neck, off the shoulder sloppy joe jumper neither fits nor does it flatter everyone. Straight lines predominate this book and I was left vaguely dissatisfied and feeling like the title was misleading. The patterns aren't bad (and I have to admit to having a bit of a lust after the Shawl collar cardigan) but they don't stand out for me and don't convince me that they necessarily work with the title given. I was also put off by some of the photography, the wrap top on the cover doesn't appear anywhere with a full front view nor does the Twice as nice cardigan (she reckons that a rib cardigan is an "intermediate" make BTW) the great lengths coat is only shown from the front in the blue colourway not in the Noro and you can see curling causing an issue. This is one where really the effort required to make the patterns work satisfactorily might be more than most are willing to put in.

I'd borrow first and see if they inspire. I had a meh reaction.

Inspired to Knit: Creating Exquisite Handknits
Inspired to Knit: Creating Exquisite Handknits
by Michele Rose Orne
Edition: Paperback

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tonnes of inspiration, 2 Feb. 2010
There are three levels to this book. The first is the patterns, more of which later, the second is the idea of moving from design sketch to design; some design notes that would give you further ideas and some notes on making it your own, how to change some things and retain the concept. The third are the Design workshop ideas, four in all reflecting the four parts the book is divided in (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer); all asking people to look further at what inspires you. There are times though that the author comes across as a bit pretentious.

The patterns are divided by season, first being Autumn
The Indian Summer Cardigan is an interesting but boxy cardigan, wouldn't suit everyone but has potential, the leaf shapes on the tip are inerestingly contrasted by the step concept below the waist, it has the 3/4 length sleeves that many people like

The Amber Beaded Cardigan is in gold with beads, quite a nice piece with a little lace on the bottom and a contrast around the edge. The sleeves are flared and full.

Walk in the Woods Jacket. Leaves and flowers in colourwork, you either like this or hate this, again the sleeves are flared and full.

Coral Roses Jacket - long jacket with a belt and inartasia large roses along the hem with a single rose on the back. Could be interesting on the right person, the sleeves use some cablework to pull them in at the bottom and some colourwork at the bottom

Fair Isle Caplet and Gauntlets. This got the most mockery at the Friday Fiber Fun session I brought this to. It isn't pictured with outdoor wear under and I think that detracts from it's possible usefulness. Very not my sort of things

Winter has: Shimmer Lace Shrug, more a cropped cardigan really and it would be cute as either an evening-wear item or possibly a wedding wear item. nice stuff

Snowdrift Cardigan, Cabling at the cuffs and collar that's quite bulky, nice concept but I don't know that it would be all that practical.

Winter Wonderland Coat - cables on the bottom, plain top, cabled cuffs to the elbow, deep collar to show off a nice scarf, this has a lot of potential, though, you'd have to make sure that the end of the cables hit you in the right place, it would be a spectacular piece. Usefully the schematics do show the different "hit" points so pretty easy to adjust.

Evergreen Sleeve Tunic - BIG Bulky knitting for a huge jumper. Looks big on the model, not my sort of thing.

Whisper Cuff Cardigan - torn on this one, large collaring with cables and sleeves with some inset details make it look interesting but I'm not sure that it would stay on well.

Frost Flower cuff Pullover. Interesting lazy daisy stitch embroidery with beading jazzes up this moss stitch jumper, the raglan sleeves with the cabling are also an interesting touch. The beads are sewn in afterwards so you could leave it out or substitute. The bead placement and embroidery are shown as concept rather than clearly worked out.

Spring has: the lily of the valley shrug, shaping created by the stitching, edging added, this isn't a bad design

Seed-Stitch Poet Jacket is a cardigan with an attached scarf with lacework, quite nice looking piece and could work well to dress up a summer dress for a spring or autumn wedding.

The Victorian Lace Blouse also provoked some discussion. It's quite fussy in places but I could see myself getting rid of the flouncing and knitting it as an under-shirt for some of the corsets I own. Underwear as outerwear and it would need careful planning when wearing as the lace needs camisole or such under it.

The Vintage Linterie Top is not the best, the contrast piece underbust doesn't quite work for me, that could be just the photos. Not a bad piece, again could be useful as a corset underwear.

Summer has the Tiny Twists Camisole, interesting detail for the strap, not so sure about the body of the piece, still if that's what you enjoy...

Ribbed Halter - if you like halter tops this might be the piece for you. Made from the centre out it would be easily adjustable for most bodies.

Papillion Cardigan a short-sleeved cardigan with lace skirt andd contrast trip on the edge and cuffs.

Wedding Ensemble is a two-piece garment with a short sleeved top with lace caps and hem and a tiered skirt. I like the top but the skirt is too fussy for my taste.

I do own a copy, if you're looking to start adjusting and designing it's a good book to kickstart ideas. It also helps that some of the patterns are quite pretty. The design notes and make it your own along with the well-drawn schematics make many of the patterns very adaptable, a feature not enough books have.

The Scroll Thief (Tale of Ithian)
The Scroll Thief (Tale of Ithian)
by R. F. Long
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Fantasy, 30 Nov. 2009
In a world where the Goddess takes a bit too much interest in some people's lives a woman swears revenge and a thief finds that what he's stealing may have consequences. Romance and adventure intermingle and I really enjoyed the read. The characters are well drawn and the author manages to get in some twists and turns to make both them and the story draw you in.

I enjoyed it, and not only because I know the author.

On the Beat
On the Beat
by Mary T. O'Connor
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Garda and Woman in Ireland, 3 Nov. 2009
This review is from: On the Beat (Paperback)
This is the interesting story of a reluctant Garda who details some of the highs and lows of working as a Garda and woman in a male-dominated tough job. She's an interesting woman who often cares a little too much who really didn't think of being a Garda as a career but when she fell into it decided to make as good a job as possible out of it. This is a look at her problems and she mentions some things that she found hard about her job and some others that she found frustrating.

Well recommended for a look at late 20th century experience of a woman in a male-dominated workforce in Ireland; Ireland's inner city problems and rural strangnesses and the experience of law-enforcement and training in Ireland.

The Magic of Pagan Ireland
The Magic of Pagan Ireland
by Robert Vance
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short look at Irelands Pagan remains, 2 Nov. 2009
Quite a short little book this one. It weighs in at 60 pages with fairly large print and lots of illustrations. It details a lot of the remaining significant pagan sites in Ireland, particularly the accessable ones and with a good variety of samples.

Rob Vance's attitude is quite close to the usual attitude you'll find in a lot of Irish people. Maybe not quite so overt but in a country where a road can be diverted for a fairy tree, this is something to expect.

An interesting quick look at attitudes and I would advise writers trying to write about the paranormal in Ireland to read this author to get a flavour of what is not regarded as totally strange in Ireland.

Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories to Knit
Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories to Knit
by Louisa Harding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If it's to your taste go for it., 31 Oct. 2009
This is divided into a few sections- Eclectic and Quirky; Textured and Modern; Pretty and Feminine and Traditional and Folk. Some of it is quite pretty and it is the kind of thing that someone more into girly stuff would like. Honestly I see about three patterns I like but nothing in this made me want to reach for my needles.

I've seen some of the garments in person and they are cute but not me, I'm not a person for handbags, I'm a shoulder bag person and I'm weaning myself off looking at neck fastening cardigans because they drive me crazy. One of the things I really did like about the book was the way some of the items were knit in different yarns, smooth and fluffy so you could see the way a different yarn could change the look. Also some of the embroidery and embelishment was interesting. So for me it was a glance through and get inspiration book. The one garment I was interested in has been reproduced in a magazine I get, so I have it already.

It's one that really you either love or just like. It's one to take a look at somewhere before investing.

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