Thursday, 28 August 2014

Book Review - 100 Flowers...

Okay, well straight off, I love this book. 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield (Search Press Publishers) is just lovely, right from the gorgeous cover onwards.
As it still has the receipt tucked behind the front page I know I bought this exactly a month, to the day, before I got married in 2009. For an instant it confused me why I had bought it then as I had a lot going on, for example I still hadn't started on my wedding dress (they don't call me Queen of Procrastinating for nothing)!! 
I quickly remembered it was because of the pattern for a thistle. My Dad is Scottish and was wearing full dress kilt for the wedding, even though there were fresh thistles in his buttonhole I wanted to make him something to keep. I remember him being really pleased and it is now attached to the corner of his pin-board in his computer room.
Sorry, please excuse the photograph, my Dad just text it to me as I lost the one I had taken!
Despite the name, there aren't just flowers in the book- leaves, butterflies and a few fruits are included too. 
The book is divided into 4 sections. The first being "Before You Begin" which explains how the book works and gives you the details about what you'll need along with the basics of knitting and crochet. 
This is followed by the "Directory of Flowers" which is a lovely gallery of the different finished items all arranged by complimentary colours with the number of the pattern needed next to each. 
All of these are in the next section "Technical Instructions". The first part of this contains the knitted flowers and the second has the crochet, both of which are arranged by level of difficulty. 
Having said that I don't think any of them are scarily complicated unless you've never picked up needles or a hook before. The author herself states that, "the designs are created by simple shaping rather than fancy stitches" and I quite agree. 
Unfortunately, in my opinion, there are no patterns which include both techniques which I think would be interesting. 
All the crochet patterns use British terminology but there is a section explaining the differences to American terminology on page .
I really like the way no specific wool/yarn is given nor are needle/hook sizes. Experimenting is encouraged!

So the first thing I made was the thistle of course. Then due other commitments as mentioned I didn't get a chance to make anything from it for a while.
The next time I did pick it up it helped me through quite a difficult time. My husband had to have what was considered quite a routine operation but unfortunately things didn't go to plan so he ended up spending a lot more time in hospital than expected. During this time I made quite a few different items, it was so helpful as he had to go off tests for lengths of time and rather than sitting twiddling my thumbs and worrying, I was productive and slightly distracted at least. Also because they're small items they are easy to pick up and put down or stuff quickly in your bag. 
My favourite pattern is the field poppy and I made quite a few, here's a couple of examples...
I really like to use embroidery cotton and small needles/hooks to make items to attach to cards or for more delicate accessories.
I would highly recommend this book and have just ordered another book by Lesley Stanfield- 75 Birds & Butterflies to Knit & Crochet. I'm excited about it arriving already.

All the opinions expressed are totally my own and I would to hear your thoughts about either of the books!

Until next time- craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x

4 comments:

  1. they are gorgeous indeed, especially the poppy.....I buy lots of books with the thought to make something and end up just admiring the creations instead ! Hope SR's okay,

    Kate x

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    1. Thanks Kate! I'm the same, I just love looking through them & they do inspire creativity if I don't directly use them. I do use this one though. The new one has arrived and has snowflake patterns- my sister is getting married on Christmas Eve so they will come in very useful!
      Steve's well thanks and says "Hi"! Hope all is well with you x

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  2. Erin, I have both books too, and just love them. Feel free to make some into brooches for The Potting Shed Monmouth. I'm sure they'll sell really well. Happy Craftin'....!

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    1. They're great books, aren't they? I'll get busy, busy, busy and will be in touch.
      Thanks x

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