Top critical review
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Interesting & useful colour techniques for yarn but too brand-focused & lots of irrelevant padding.
on 22 January 2015
Edited 29th January. DISAPPOINTED!
I really wanted to like this book, & the bit I do like, I like very much, but it is only a little bit, & not enough to justify a book, or the price of a book.
I've now had this book a`week, so have had time to read it thoroughly. My original review (below) stands, but I'm sorry that I've had to downgrade my rating to 2 stars as this book - despite its title - is totally inadequate regarding the dyeing of fleece & unspun fibre, which is the prime reason I bought it. I'll keep it as a handy reference for multi-colour techniques of dyeing spun protein fibres - but that's only around 30% of the book, which made it an expensive purchase. The useful and original content of this book, quite frankly, could have been published more appropriately as an illustrated pamphlet.
In addition, I'd love to ask the author why ~20% of the content of a dyeing book would be knitting patterns? This is just, IMO, a very blatant, cheap form of padding, nothing more. It leaves me with a poor impression of the author.
The content of this book appears interesting and useful with some innovative ways for the hobby dyer to 'arrange' colours on yarn or fibre and get striking results, and the safety information - both personal and environmental - is good. The photography shows the luscious colours, patterns, blends and combos achieved with the author's techniques BUT I have several caveats about this book as a whole which have resulted in my only giving it 3 stars.
First - and perhaps a minor gripe for some, but to me an indication of poor practice - the page numbers use a very pale pastel font, so it's difficult to navigate round the book. Associated with this, some page headings have a pastel background with a slightly-darker pastel font of the same colour. Illegible in a poor light, or what? The main text of the book is in clear black-on-white, so what this aberration is about, I have no idea. It is very annoying, though.
In theory the spiral binding should make it easy to work from - the book should lie flat - but there's something wrong with it; many pages won't lie flat without being forced, and attempting to do that makes it seem likely that they will tear out. Each individual 'stuck' page needs to be gently coaxed with the pressure of one finger only. There is clearly a problem with the printer's production standards - in China, I believe.
The author uses imprecise, inconsistent & unknowable measurements. Where she says 'a teaspoon' she adds 'any teaspoon'. Some of her 'recipes' use quantities defined by a 'packet' of X brand dye, which is not in any way, shape or form a useful measurement.
Finally, this book should be called the One Dye Brand Only book of Stinky hand dyeing yarn and fleece. Although there are a couple of pages discussing different dyes, in the recipes and techniques section, only the one brand is mentioned & the author uses only brand names for colours. If you would like to try to replicate the author's impressive results with the dyes available to you, you have no idea what actual colour or blend of colours is being called for & this severely limits the usefulness of the book outside the USA . Despite the author's comprehensive & otherwise well-thought-out safety section, she only calls for vinegar/dilute acetic acid in her 'recipes' - which vapourises & can affect the respiratory system adversely, as well as making the house smell like a pickle factory.
The use of CI numbers or generic names for the dyestuffs, & a mention of other acids which can be used, would have shown more professionalism on the author's part. In no way do I profess to being a professional dyer or a chemist, nor a published author, yet even I have heard of the Colour Index International & know it's used to compare eg one manufacturer's 'Pacific Blue' with another's 'Ocean Blue' & a third's 'Mediterranean Blue'. I cannot believe that someone as apparently well-known in the USA as the author of this book would be unaware of the CI system - unless, of course, she was sponsored in some way by the manufacturer of 'Brand X' dyes ... I wonder ...