Thursday, 26 June 2008

books, books, books

when a friend asked me to order a book from amazon online - I couldn't resist the temptation and added a few wishes to her order (I asked first, of course!). when they came yesterday, I had a nice few hours browsing:
this is the first one - nice designs, classics really, mostly sweaters, but some socks, scarves etc. also - each design is shown in handspun and commercial yarn. I quite like it, but I think more info on spinning and also some more information about the yarn structures for handspun would have been nice! it's more a knitting book than one about knitting with handspun.
I already have the two others by Francoise Tellier-Loumagne, one about knitting and one about embroidery. I like the latter best, full of inspiration and I browse through it pretty much before each embroidery project I start (apart from 0815 cross stitch maybe:)). the knitting book contains a lot of information about machine knitting, but many of those ideas can be transformed for handknitters, too! I do like all the inspirational photos in the felt book, but there isn't all that much information about the techniques in felting at all. this is not a book for a beginner felter! and I think they could have done the book with fewer photos of clouds and sky! ok, the topic of felting is explained by "the sky" in all its various forms, but still - there are only so many photos of clouds one needs! a very "artistic" book all in all....
this definitely qualifies as my "star buy" of the year (so far:)) or even longer! thanks to Helen for the tip - it's worth it! I have quite a few books about natural dyeing already; most of them are similar: this plant with this mordant gives this colour... informative, but not very exciting, esp. given the fact, that natural dyeing is not really a reliably repeatable process, i.e. if you need a certain colour at a certain date, better use some other method of dyeing, because you can never be quite sure you end up with what you intended! which to me is the fun part with natural dyeing! the book is nicely made up, hardback, fabric covering, bookmark inside... good photos and loads of new ideas! I mean really new ideas, not just a new dye plant here or there! pounding flowers into fabric, solar dyeing, eco printing etc., plenty of tips and advice, all with an eye on ecological sustainability - and not a traditional recipe in sight:)) which is a good thing in my opinion, as most of them don't usually work anyway - for me at least. if you can only afford one new book about dyeing - take this one, honestly (and no, I don't know India Flint:))
I was also rather surprised to receive a back issue and the first issue of "stitch" in the post. I only send the order and payment out on friday - fast service or what? I have been buying this on and off for a while now, but eventually I gave up on the plan to just order it via the newsagent. for some reason it's impossible to get it ordered regularly - in contrast to some other magazines:(( I don't like all of the designs; some are very fussy and require investment in gadgets such as "soldering irons" (no, I know that's not the correct name, but the thing is used like one - you burn fabrics away with it) and such, but I usually find several projects I do like - or at least some new ideas for a design of my own. I always wonder when textile crafts turned into something, where you have to have electric gadgets for each technique you want to work - it's a bit like households, where people have a gizmo for every job in the kitchen! maybe I am a dinosaur, but I do prefer the "slow craft" approach, which to me includes not to rely on electricity for every small job I do!
oh yes, I nearly forgot to mention it, even though I put it up in the book tip list before: at the last spinner's meeting in castlebar I bought Sheila Smith' Felt to stitch: Creative felting for textile artists from Suzie. a nice book too about felting, this time with basic information on the techniques such as wet or needle felting. but mainly the book is about embroidery on felt - in the wider sense - it also shows stencilling, shibori, nuno, hollow forms, cobweb felt etc. no exact instructions for projects, but who wants to do an exact replica of something anyway?
that's enough about books now (though my wish list is still quite long - and I expect it to stay that way. as soon as I have bought some I wanted - someone publishes new ones I would like to own!). I did some practical jobs too; I finally finished the second of the socks "ayer's rock" (sock wool from stahl socka country1), nice and warm just now, when summer has disappeared. and I started the 2nd one from "alaska" (same wool), which has a colour scheme that reminds me of lichen, moss and grey rocks! bought from Martina here.... and I am working on the present in cotton chenille - an EZ variant soon to be finished!


Leigh said...

I always enjoy learning about new books this way. I'm especially interested in the Eco Colour. Sounds like a treasure.

Bettina said...

Leigh, I am really excited about this book - I am not really interested in definite recipes anymore - but India Flint's ideas are stunning. if you want to have a look at stuff she does, have a look at her homepage:
gives you a basic idea of her work.

Anonymous said...

Bettina, is the knitting book by Fran├žoise Tellier-Loumagne originally called "mailles - les mouvements du fil", published in 2003 ? If yes, I love that book, the library has it and most of the time, it's in our home. I just love the inspiring photos and how textures from nature (which I love) are done in knitting or inspire new knitting stiches.


Bettina said...

Francine, yes, that's exactly it! I ordered it 2 years ago and carried the heavy tome with me to wales to browse it. by chance I saw her knitting book from that series on my way - and had to buy this too (two books = 10 kg:)). I do hope that after embroidery, knitting and felting she doesn't publish anymore in the series - my shelves are sagging already:) but I like them - not for the basic instructions but for the ideas that come popping out at me every time I go through them!