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Nicola Williams (Oxford, England)

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The Zentangle Untangled Workbook: A Tangle-A-Day To Draw Your Stress Away
The Zentangle Untangled Workbook: A Tangle-A-Day To Draw Your Stress Away
by Kass Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly disappointing!!!!, 3 Sept. 2013
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I have a lot of books on Zentangles I love books of art and design, but I totally regret buying this book without viewing it first.
In a Zentangle book, I am looking for interesting creative designs which are inspiring, and give step buy step instructions to enable me to explore and experiment with designs and I like Zentangle work books for this reason, but this is not what you are truly getting!!!
This book is 127 pages of next to nothing.
You only get 5 designs in this whole book which is step by step!!!!
The complex ones which give you dimensional work are there just for show including the medallion shape ones, no help or instructions.
What you do get is pages of pages upon pages and more pages of empty small squares, plus several empty circles. The squares are just under 2.5", the circles aprox 2 1/4" in diameter. The complex designs are drawn on larger tiles same with the medallions, most of the tutorial designs are drawn on the smaller.
I counted aprox 403 empty tiles including a few empty medallions, who needs OVER 400 empty tiles in a book, oh and if that's not enough, the last 3 pages exclusively pictures of more empty tiles!!!???
This book advises you practice your whole 5 tutorial designs in a sketch book, so there really is no need for over 400 empty tiles. Maybe 1 page of squares and another circular which you could photo copy would be great but not over 400 that's totally ridiculous as the rest of the book really is not a tutorial book!!!!
The complex designs were not inspiring and there were no tutorials to help you learn and create them.
There are much better cheaper Zentangle books on the market. I'm going to donate mine to my local library as its not worth the limited space on my book shelves.
Very very disappointed!!!!!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2015 8:30 PM GMT


Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Workbook (Treatments That Work)
Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Workbook (Treatments That Work)
Price: £19.28

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best pain management/best CBT book I have found todate, 22 Mar. 2013
I have suffered long term chronic pain for about 15 yrs.
I have attended a pain unit since 2001, attended courses there, plus "The Expert Patient Programme" through the NHS.
I have attended relaxation programs through Mind.
My medical conditions have changed and become a lot worse.
I have heard amazing testimonies about CBT, when your pain gets so out of control, you will do ANYTHING constructive to feel better.
Due to health issues, I cannot yet manage a full CBT programme, and I have been searching and reading different CBT books. I will confess, I have not completed this book yet, but I am so impressed so far, I wanted to write some feedback in the hope it will help others.
Do be aware this is a work book designed for a clinical session, so it will not read like a basic CBT book. I bought this for my kindle, all work sheets are downloadable via the internet if you wish to use them.
What impressed me more with this book than any book on pain or talking to professionals to date, it gives time to explain the reasons what is happening and why! Fantastic! The teaching methods start you from the beginning. The work plan gives you options to try different methods of physical relaxation, which I have not been given before. It's down to earth, understandable and I am so pleased I am able to manage this at home on my own and get beneficial help at home the same almost as attending a group.
I appreciate everyone's pain is individual, but this book so far has exceeded my hopes and expectations. I am hoping lots of positive things for the future.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2015 8:44 PM GMT


Stress Relief in Under 20 Minutes: The 11 Best Ways of Stress Management and Relief from Stress and Anxiety
Stress Relief in Under 20 Minutes: The 11 Best Ways of Stress Management and Relief from Stress and Anxiety
Price: £0.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you for this brilliant little gem of a book, 22 Mar. 2013
This book is brilliant, straight forward, and I have learnt more from this book than all the others on stress management.
This book can be applied no matter what your personal situation, in the world of 'mental health', no matter how big or small the issue. This is the only book to make a lot of common sense, and talks you right through the process, enabling me to switch off my brain which is going into overdrive at 2am night after night.
If you have a kindle with this book, then it's the biggest plus. I have my kindle put onto text to voice speech and have this read out to me in the middle of the night. It's helped improve my ability to relax and sleep which is a gift. I am going to keep practicing these methods and apply them. Thank you


Reason Why People Come Into Your Life : A powerful story that reveals answers to life's most challenging problems
Reason Why People Come Into Your Life : A powerful story that reveals answers to life's most challenging problems
Price: £2.09

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointed, 4 Mar. 2013
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I have been fascinated by this topic all my life, as I continue to experience such a wide range of amazing people in their own way enter my life. Their lives and experiences affect your life at different levels, one which I hope to learn understanding, trust, hope, happiness and to grow more without making too many mistakes. Why do these individuals come into our lives and affect us so profoundly? I appreciate life is a learning exercise and far far more besides, but certain individuals make life incredible. They may be with us 5mins maybe a lifetime if we are very lucky.
I was hoping to get a glimpse into this but this book to me did not cover this. It was story proverbs. A very short book which I will 're read to try and look at these stories again in more detail in case I missed something?
If you down load the try me section on kindle, this gives you exactly what this book is like. I hoped the book would expand further, but sadly not for me.


Quick & Easy Quilts for Kids: 12 Kid Friendly Patterns
Quick & Easy Quilts for Kids: 12 Kid Friendly Patterns
by Connie Ewbank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.48

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant little quilting book, 30 Nov. 2012
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I really loved this book. It contains 47 pages full of modern fun quilting designs packed full of colour!! There are 12 well laid out easy to follow patterns.
I agree with the other lady's review, that its fun and inspiring, and dying to get going on the designs.

Even though the title says quilts for kids, this book under sells its self, as it can easily be a quilt for anyone!!!
Many of the fabrics used are child themed, but if other fabrics were used, all these projects can fit any age group as a lap quilt, single bed quilt and there is a fabulous heart wall hanging in here too.
This is for all abilities which is brilliant. Some of the quilts could possibly be made in a weekend??? (Depending on how much time you have??)
It's so fabulous to come across a fun, funky, well designed book without complicated designs!!!
There are details on page 2 about making charity quilts for children. Over in the UK, the main quilt charity is called the Linus Project. Many quilt shops and quilting organisations have details of places where you can drop off finished quilts for UK children in crisis. (Or google Linus project). The book suggests using left over fabrics to make charity quilts for children (of all ages) which is a great idea. These projects could be easy done using left over fabrics.
This little book is a breath of fresh air, enjoy :)


Pretty Little Mini Quilts (Pretty Little Series)
Pretty Little Mini Quilts (Pretty Little Series)
by Ray Hemachandra
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book to add to your quilting arts collection, 26 Nov. 2012
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This is a stunning little book, packed with 144 pages brimming with colour and excitement which has been created by 26 amazing designers!!! If you are a textile student (or just interested in finding out more about the designers) there is a section in the back were the artists have given details about themselves. Some artists have included their details where you can buy some of their work via their Etsy sites, plus their blog details and Internet details, which is brilliant touch to this book.

Before I begin, this is not a book for a beginners to get stuck into, that's not to say its a beautiful gift for them to enjoy and inspire to.

The presentation of this book is first class, and bang up to the minute with modern stylish art quilting using an endless array of ideas, skills and talent, put together in a bright stylish book any keen quilter/ quilting art enthusiast would be delighted to own.
The size of these quilting project, can be something you can decoratively hang on your wall, up to lap quilt size, depending on the individual project.

This book contains :-
Mini quilt basics section
Tools
Basic quilting methods (under techniques)
Cutting
Machine stitching
Hand stitching
Clipping corners and curves
Piecing
Attaching a boarder
Attaching appliqués
Embroidery
Basting
Quilting
Binding
Quick turning a quilt
Hanging a quilt

These details only cover the scant basics, with few pictures of any technical help. Most pictures are for decoration use only. You need prior skills in all areas as the details are so minimal (which disappointed me for those wishing to spread their wings and venture into art quilts. If the publishers had added more detail for those who require additional help, then this book would have been better!!!)

There are 31 eclectic array of stunning projects for any modern quilter to get excited over!!!
The layout for each project has been beautifully done. There are very very few explanatory pictures in the entire book, which is a big let down for a book of this caliber!!! You need to be very confident to be able to fully understand written instructions!!!! I have never come across a textile art/quilting book lacking in instructional pictures like this one!!! I personally would have been happier to have paid a few extra pounds and got a brilliant book with the 'full deal' of instructional pictures too. As anyone who has experience trying to work solely on written instructions while trying to assemble anything will tell you how difficult it is without additional pictures to help out on the more trickier parts!!! Why would a sewing book be any different??? This book has seriously short changed its self due to this issue!!!! This is also another reason why this book is not in my view suitable for beginners!!!

The other issue which rattles me greatly, is there are only six sets of template patterns for the 31 projects which is CRAZY!!!
I do know a lot of textile artists do not like their work copied, and appreciate that. By having their work published in a craft book with instructions, the artists would have been paid for their contribution, the very least they could do, is supply the art work to help the crafter create the item of their choice!!! Without this, the crafter needs to be able to be good at recreating the design free hand, which adds to the complicated nature further!!! For example, the beautiful bird on the front cover of this book called "The elusive batiki bird" is very well named, as there is no template for this beautiful bird!!! WHY NOT??? Good money has been paid for this beautiful book, and it lets itself down so so badly by not supply the basic templates to do the basic projects!!! To me, this is the basic fundamental requirement for a project based book to supply the reader, full details and accompanied art work, to enable the crafter to do the project successfully. If you want this as a coffee table book, and have no plans to want to learn and explore making new and exciting projects, then fine, but to me leaving out the templates to do the main feature of the project is inexcusable!!! Due to this issue and the missing 'how to' pictures has let this book down big time!!!

I have qualifications in textiles, design and embroidery. I have been stitching over 40 years.
I have my city and guild in stitched textiles and gold work embroidery.
I have made many art quilts and can improvise.

I think it's so important when buying a book for yourself or someone else as a gift over the Internet which you cannot see in advanced before you buy, you have a good idea of what you are buying.
This book is beautiful to look at, but it is let down by the issues I have mentioned which to me are really important, basic fundamental issues. It's such a great shame, as its a stunning book, which I would have loved to have given 5 stars for. Please Lark Book Publications, if you do a reprint of this book, and do more books of this type, PLEASE address these very important issues!!!!


Scrap Republic: 8 Quilt Projects for Those Who Love Color
Scrap Republic: 8 Quilt Projects for Those Who Love Color
by Emily Cier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of colour, 24 Nov. 2012
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This is a fabulous short book containing 8 projects (55 pages) published by C&T publishers who are excellent US publishers, producing excellent craft books.
The first thing I must say, this book is NOT for beginners!!! As soon as you look at the patterns you are bombarded with reams of fiddly measurements which I found rang alarm bells in my head straight off, specially as the other first reviewer confidently said it was for beginners and experienced quilters!!!
The diagrams are clearly laid out, but look complicated before you start looking at the measurements.
Project 1. Freckles
Beautiful project, light background with colourful circles on top.
The first thing I noticed is the picture doesn't match the pattern layout!!!! I am sure the finished item matches the final size, but to me this re enforces the fact, this is NOT FOR BEGINNERS!!! Personally, I think the author should have provided 2 patterns, one, to show what has been made in the photograph, and the second, the alternative pattern shown in the book!!!!
Project 2. Plumb
Fabulous quilt, easier to get your head around this one plus it helps that the picture relates more to the pattern, plus she shows it in two colour ways which is excellent. The diagram is bigger, and you are not bombarded with measurements on this project. This project I am more likely to enjoy having a go with, plus it's a great way to use if you have been given a jelly roll for Christmas or birthday and you are not sure what to do with it??
Project 3, Beeline
Again, the photo of the project does not match the pattern given, luckily, this is an easy project to manage, specially if you have a jelly roll to use. This is just lines of strips of fabric. There is a second pattern with this project for those not using scraps and have long enough strips of fabric in your fabric stash to use, which is a good touch to this project.
Project 4. Slices
This is where it gets complicated!! You need to be very confident with a rotary cutter and ruler, plus you are not cutting neat thin fabric, you are cutting through double seams and a lot of them, and it says to fold the fabric in half and cut, so you will be cutting through 4 lumpy seams. (Not great if you have dexterity problems, or confident issues cutting lumpy uneven fabric) What rings alarm bells in my head head is the word "discard" as in discard left over fabric, which appears to be aprox 50% on part 3, and aprox 40% in section 4 !!!!! (This is the pattern on the front cover!!)
There is a second pattern here for those not using scraps and whole pieces, better for those who have dexterity problems, not lumpy fabric issues, plus the pattern appears less complex.
Project 5. Volume
Ummmmm
This project looks straightforward, and is a basic looking Bargello design from the coloured pattern. Again, the pattern doesn't match the pattern design.
What niggles me, is when the instructions say "find (or cut) scraps of various lengths approximately 3" wide. Sew these pieces into units slightly larger than the dimensions listed in step 3. It shows 2 diagrams with the minimum sizes being 6.5 " x 2.5" and the second being 3.5" x 2.5", but it says 3", min of 1/2 " + per strip, the amount of total wastage (20 strips wide x 30 strips aprox. = a lot of chucked out fabric advised by the author!!!)
Ok, you can decide to change that amount recalculating a better sizing amount to use, BUT if you have paid for a book, in my eyes, you should not have to sit there and re evaluate sizes!!!!!
Again there is a pattern for jelly rolls/scrapless project.
Project 6. Hover
This looks a fab easy pattern, you turn the page to be bombarded with cutting measurements varying from 1.5" x 1.5" up to 4.5" x 12.5". In total there are 23 different size blocks to cut into aprox 214 pieces (my eyes became 'bogeyed' trying to keep up with calculating these measurements before even attempting to cut out all these pieces with a rotary cutter and ruler!!!! I would be there cutting what would feel like forever, before putting in a single stitch!!! And the previous lady still claims its excellent for beginners???? Not for the light hearted wanting an easy project!!!) Putting the project together is like a log cabin patchwork style, which is nice. There are 4 different size blocks, which you use to make a total of 16 blocks. The description of which colour with which measurement for each segment of each block with additional letters after the names of each colour which refers to something different doesn't make this pattern user friendly!!!! Again I love the design, I would end up saying "ok love this, lets see how to remake this idea into a useable simpler method!!! Again, why should I feel that I have to do this, for a design which looks simplistic from the photograph and turns out to be 'the cripton factor'????
There is a design for those not using scraps, but it appears to be the same calculations, equally daunting with first and second cuts of the same fabric!!!
Project 7. Whirl
This project is stitching on the curve, which is only easy when you have mastered the skill, you have 16 blocks x 16 block = 256 individual curved blocks to sew!!!! (All set at different angles to give it a funky look) If sewing curves is not your forte, I would serious think twice with this project!!! Again the quantity of potential waisted fabric shown for this pattern in the diagram rings alarm bells in my head!!!!
There is a scrapless pattern with this project, which looks less complicated size wise of fabric used ie. 5 fat quarters (need 49 squares) for colour way (F)
Project 8. Pivot
(Not for the light hearted looking for an easy project)
This projects screams MAX wastage of fabric from the diagrams shown!!!
You need to make up oblongs, then cut out 1/4 segment of a circle called a 'pivot'.
The quarter segments are made up with strips of oblong fabrics 72 pivots need to be made.
Again, you need to be confident stitching on the curve, specially as there are so many seems to negotiate which will make stitching your 1/4 circle more bulky than stitching a single piece of fabric.
There is a scrapless version which looks easier to try.

My other major irritant, is the use of abbreviated language without stating at the very beginning of the book what it means???? In different countries different words have different means!!! Never assume EVERYONE knows the same abbreviations!!!! The use of "WOF" is used countless times throughout this book, and it was not till I got 3/4 through the book did it say as a side note, width of fabric, which is great if you know that to begin with!!!

Details aside, I do love this book as it just bursts with colour, excitement, it's very modern, I love her ideas but most of all I love a book I can use up my stash of fat quarters which I have FAR too many of (which I would never admit to my family, just joking!!!) Plus I love a book which will use up left over fabric!!! With today's economy fabric (specially in the UK, where I am) is 3-4 times the price than it is in the US!!! Throwing away fabrics doesn't enter my vocabulary, it's like throwing away handfuls of money, which is expensive!!! It does alarm me the amount of potential fabric wastage in these patterns too, which I have flagged up a number of times, which with careful planning can easily be avoided.
I do love this book, I do like most of the patterns, but don't think I would make several of the patterns, but it has opened my eyes to the excellent ways of using and recycling fabrics. Having studied textiles, embroidery and art quits I can use my skills in developing other projects to my advantage to use up my favourite fabrics, leftover fabrics with possible potential and recycled fabrics too. Books like this one can set the imagination wild, the sky is the limit!!!

My detailed synopsis is to show this book is not for beginners
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2015 1:41 PM GMT


Quilting Modern
Quilting Modern
by Jacqui Gering
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!, 23 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Quilting Modern (Paperback)
To me, this is my ideal modern quilt book!!! It has amazing photography, packing the book with pages upon pages of stunning inspirational projects of a wonderful mixed variety!!!
I love the layout of this book, it's been so well thought out during the design process. The typography is funky, yet the the instructional print/font is fresh, and easy to read.
I love the layout of the instructional pictures, they too are brilliantly presented, clear, simplistic making the projects feel manageable and not overly complicated, which many books can accidentally do. I love the balance of colour of the projects and the layout colour in general inside this book which makes it look so professional, it leaps above the heads of other quilting books available at the moment.
This is a substantial book in size, 174 pages. I have not yet read it all, cover to cover as there is so much information to take in. This is a contemporary style quilt book only.
This book covers :-
Tools and materials
Quilting basics
Colour and design
Finishing touches
Free piecing techniques and projects
Log cabin improvisation, techniques and projects
Slicing and insert techniques and projects
Stitch and flip triangles techniques and projects
Strip piecing techniques and projects
Crazy piecing modern style method and projects
Stitching improvisational curves techniques and projects,
Resources section.

An excellent resource for inspirational quilters and a wonderful gift for a quilter or special friend.
ENJOY, inspire and create :)


The Complete Machine Quilting Manual
The Complete Machine Quilting Manual
by Joanie Zeier Poole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good beginners guide to machine quilting, 23 Nov. 2012
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I needed a book to refresh my memory on machine quilting, when you don't do that type of needlework all the time, it's easy to forget some of the basics.
This book delivers what it promises with examples from professional world recognised quilters, Sheena Norquay (who I have had the privilege of being taught by), Ellin Larimer, Marijke De Boer Boon, Elizabeth Barton, C. June Barnes, Sally Bramald, Jeri Riggs, Joanie Zeier Poole, Laura Glass, Loris Bogue and Jeanette Meyer.
I am impressed as this book covers machine quilting for those who are interested in contemporary and traditional quilting.
This book covers everything from the bottom upwards, leaving nothing out, i.e.,
The basics of a very modern sewing machine in detail.
The outlines about the differences with domestic machines without a frame, long arm quilting machines, domestic machines with a frame and a mid arm machine.
Accessories and attachments needed.
Setting up your work space (in an ideal world if you have the space or spare room to do so!!!)
Posture to protect your back, neck and shoulders!
How to make your own portable ironing board.
Planning your machine quilting on paper for your finished quilt!!! (It's better to make design mistakes on paper than on your finished quilt top!!!) Plus choosing boarder designs.
Making and using templates.
Planning for appliqué quilts, whole cloth quilts and your stitching order ( first time I have seen the latter mentioned before, specially for whole cloth quilts which is excellent, even though its brief).
Choosing suitable fabrics and understanding the colour wheel (most important!!)
Preparing fabrics
Backing fabrics
Different types of fabric markers, pros and cons.
Different methods of transferring designs onto fabric.
Wadding (or as our US friends would say, "Batting").... I was very impressed with this, Sheena Norquay teaches in her classes the basics of wadding, and how important it is to get the right one!!! Wadding for a bed quilt is not the same wadding you need for a quilted wall hanging!!! Some stretch, others are ridged, there are so many on the market, it's so important to get this right!!!! This is the first book I have seen go into detail.
Tacking/basting the quilt.
Different needles to sew with!!! (Basic important information)
Then you get into the different methods and techniques, straight line, free motion, echo quilting, background fillers/negative space fillers, trapunto etc.
Finishing the quilt, binding, laundering, drying, squaring up the quilt and most importantly putting a label on the back with details.

At the end of the book there are 4 projects to try:-
1. Sewing tool caddy/pouch
2.Polka dot quilt
3.Toile bed quilt
4.keepsake baby bib

Final chapter contains excellent templates, quilting designs

The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, is the fact I did not like the typography inside.
It makes the book feel dated like it was produced back in the '70s. I also didn't like several of the photographs of the work, again it gave a dated feel to the book. I checked the published date and its 2012!!!
Please please can publishers stick to plain fabrics, and more modern type fonts.
When I pay a lot for a sewing book, I really want a modern cutting edge feel to my books. The charity shops and library's are full with dated sewing books!!! If you can make the front cover feel modern, please do the same for the inside too!!!!! It's not much to ask for!!!!


Modern Quilting Designs: 90+ Free-Motion Inspirations- Add Texture & Style to Your Next Quilt
Modern Quilting Designs: 90+ Free-Motion Inspirations- Add Texture & Style to Your Next Quilt
Price: £5.19

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 23 Nov. 2012
I bought this book in the hope of having an additional source book containing interesting designs to create free motion patterns on quilts and textile art pieces. What I got was a book of very poorly drawn swiggles, childish flowers, loop the loop with a line drawn through the middle of them and very bad triangular lines with squares mixed together. It's the worst collection of free hand doodles I have seen published!!! I am stunned this book was accepted for publication specially under the term of "modern quilting designs"!!!
I gave it 1 star instead of zero star as the author put in the first chapter "design inspiration". This consisted of a pile of logs, a cats face, leaves of a plant, curled up fern, Indian design necklace, a dried up fallen over non discript plant and a derelict stone building. All the pictures were black and white, I assume the author is trying to get the viewer to pick out shapes in mono tone,(I personally find its easier to view shape, and texture in colour). I think It's better to teach people to recognise different texture, line and form in colour, as the student when they go out to explore themselves will be viewing everything in colour to start off with, if they wish to switch to mono tone, they can. Some purists may say black and white photography gives a better feeling of depth and unclutters the subject with colour. If that is the case, explain this to the reader. Better still do the 8 photos (that's all the photos in total) in black and white and next to it the same in colour??? I do agree taking shape and form from nature and objects all around you is the key of getting excellent ideas for design. I did like 2 pages of the medallion boarders.
This book is designed for people who want to explore free motion quilting and filling in negative space. What irritates me so much about this book, is the fact it has the potential of being a brilliant book if the designs were drawn nicely to begin with, give the student more guidance in how to create free hand designs, and have a professional looking layout to this book. For the high price of this book, the reader deserves quality!!! This book needs to be re done from scratch, a proper book, with proper chapters, with examples from nature and man made objects to show your design sources are based from chapter to chapter. Better photography is so important, and more photographic illustrations. Most importantly, redesign your drawing with pride!!! It looks like you were given 5 mins max to produce what ever was in your head. The designs are so sloppy and slap dash!!! The only thing modern was the logo in the centre of the book!

I have studied textile art and design for 10 years, City and Guilds in Stitched textiles level 3, and Goldwork embroidery level 1. I have been taught by tutors from around the world working with different mediums, plus tutors from The Royal School of Needlework, London. The core principle to the basics of all textile work comes down to DESIGN. Most importantly, the quality of design.


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