I recently jumped at the chance to review a new book called 'The Needlecraft Book'. I absolutely love books and I love sewing so it seemed like an opportunity I just couldn't turn down and even better I was very kindly offered 3 copies to give away on my blog!! Big high five to the nice people at DK.
So where to start....well this is one of those BIG hardback books that look great on your bookshelf. The book is split into sections which cover knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery, applique and needlepoint. I thought I'd go through each section in turn to give you a sense of whats covered and my thoughts.
I was taught to knit by my nan (many years ago!) and so have a very basic understanding of what to do but I always struggle with reading knitting patterns and anything remotely technical. This book is great for new knitters or someone like me who needs to reintroduce themselves to the basics as it covers everything from needle size and yarn weight to different stitches and knitting techniques. What I love best though are the photos. I really struggle with diagrams and drawings in craft books (my brain just can't work them out) but I found the photos in this book so MUCH easier to follow.
There is a great selection of different stitch pattens and designs and the chapter also covers circular knitting and felting. There is also a really useful section on following a knitting pattern which I will definitely be referring to in the future. I particularly love the little knitted flower patterns which are really cute.
I've never tried crochet before but always wanted to give it a go so I was really interested in this chapter. Again it covers in a very clear way all the basic equipment you need and has really useful photos showing the stitches and how to work them. It explains about following crochet patterns and covers openwork, colourwork, embellishments, edging and circular crochet.
I've just bought myself a crochet hook as I'm keen to give crochet a try. I'm not sure I'm quite up to making this gorgeous little dog though yet. I'll post some pictures of my attempts to crochet when I get round to starting.
I learnt the basics of embroidery when I was younger from my mum who also sews but I'm very rusty as I don't really use it very often now. This chapter has a great stitch gallery of different stitches which has inspired me to try some new ones. The chapter covers surface embroidery but also other types that I wasn't really aware of like pulled thread work and drawn thread work. It also covers smocking, beadwork and mirror work.
If I'm honest this initially felt like quite an old fashioned method of sewing and not the type of thing I would do but it was actually quite interesting finding out more about it. Again there is a gallery of stitches and how to do them. I particlarly liked what is called Florentine work which originates from Italy. The picture below is the Pomegranate motif which has a kind of 3D effect (not sure its obvious from my dreadful photos!).
Patchwork, Applique and Quilting
I guess these are things that I am most familiar with although I haven't done a great deal of patchwork or quilting really. What I have learnt from this book is that when you are self taught it is easy to only do things one way and a bit of a revelation to realise that there are often many different methods and techniques you can use and more importantly shortcuts to doing things.
There is a huge amount in this chapter on piecing patchwork together and different designs and methods including working with curves and doing folded patchwork. There is also a patchwork block gallery (diagrams rather than photos this time). This would be a very useful guide for anyone planning their first quilt who needs some basic techniques and design ideas.
I do like a bit of applique but as a fusible bonding web kinda girl I was really surprised to learn about all the other types of applique techniques that are out there and are featured like needle turned applique, freezer paper applique, reverse hand applique etc etc. I had no idea there were so many methods. You learn something new every day!
The book finishes with some quilting techniques - transferring designs, assembling layers etc and also finishing techniques such as binding, cording and piping and embellishments.
Phew! I hope I have given you a flavour of the book. Its a really lovely book that I think I will refer back to time and time again. It is packed full of useful information and would be perfect for a beginner or someone who dabbles in different crafts or who is self taught and wants to learn more. I can see me using this book to teach Izzy some of the basics of each craft when she is a bit older. My only criticism would be that parts of the book feel slightly 'old school'. If you want a book full of contemporary projects to make using fresh modern fabrics this is probably not for you but having said that its a very practical book that would give you the skills you need to enable you to make those projects and it would give you the confidence to follow other patterns or try out your own ideas.
So do you want to win a copy of this book? I've got 3 to give away. All you have to do is be a follower of my blog if you aren't already and leave a comment saying what you would do with the book if you won.
If you blog about my giveaway with a link I'll put your name in the hat twice and if you mention it on twitter I'll put you in again. Just let me know on this post. The giveaway ends on Friday 8 October and 3 names will be pulled out of the hat in the usual scientific way (i.e by my children).