Friday, August 31, 2007

The Last of August

Yesterday was lovely and warm but today I’m reminded what a crummy month August has mostly been. It’s dark and cloudy but with only the barest sprinkle of rain and not uncomfortably cool so I’m not going to complain too loudly. They’re still working on siding the garage next door so the noise level is somewhat irritating. I can’t sit outside anyway because whenever I walk out the door it starts raining. If I stay in it’s fine. Go figure.

So here’s the skein from yesterday:

Merino/silk/angora. Luscious! Though it definitely smells like silk when wet. Not a pleasant scent unfortunately, at least to me. Silk is up there with wet dog and cat box in my Naturally Stinky List. I’d much rather smell freshly shorn sheep fleece or an indigo vat than wet silk. Surprisingly most people don’t even know that silk has a definite identifiable smell. Guess they never wash their silks, huh?

For fun (and to avoid my housework) I’m going to give you a review of a book I got recently. “Whadda surprise,” I can hear you say to yourself. “She got yet another book. Just where the heck is she putting them all?” Well, pretty soon I’m going to have to get more choosy or I’m just going to have to stash some more books in the attic. There’s space now that I got rid of all those fantasy/sci-fi pocketbooks! But I digress. (That’s one of T-Man’s favourite sayings.) The book is:

Mastering Beadwork: A Comprehensive Guide to Off-loom Techniques by Carol Huber Cypher and published by good old Interweave. First off, this book is one of those great hard wrap-around cover over coil binding that are just so practical for working from because it lies flat and is still identifiable on the shelf. The only problem I can see is that perhaps over time the pages might bend at the coil or tear loose if you are hard on your books. Carol is an inventive beadworker with a very personal style and colour sense. She’s also a whiz at explaining things very clearly which is helpful because looking through the book there aren’t really a huge number of diagrams. What there is, however, is a huge number of ideas with little boxes marked “Try this” everywhere. Attractive but relatively quick projects illustrate the techniques so you can jump in right away. This book is both a reference and an inspiration.

Carol covers a lot of territory in here: peyote stitch, Dutch spiral, netting, spiral rope, right-angle weaves (both single and double needle versions), triangle weave, square stitch, daisy chain, ladder stitch, herringbone stitch, brick stitch, African polygon, African helix, South African scallop and bead crochet. If a stitch is really unfamiliar to you and you need a lot of hand-holding and step-by-step instructions, there may not be enough information for you to learn it easily, particularly bead crochet which is quite different from the other “needle” weaves. (For that I’d get Ann Benson’s Beaded Crochet interactive DVD book. Most people really need to see it done to get it. Even me!) However, if you are somewhat conversant with bead stitches and want to add to your repertoire or see what else you can do with something you already know, this is an excellent place to look. It goes nicely on the shelf with Carol Wilcox Wells’ two indispensable bead stitch books. I really like this book. And yes, I have met books that I haven’t liked. I try not to buy those ones.

1 comment:

N. Maria said...

Beautiful spinning and book!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and talents to us all!