Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review of the Irisn Countrywomen's Association book of Crafts



 Dublin City Public Libraries

I will admit that I have not been positive about the ICA before but I'm trying to be as positive as possible here. This is part of a series the ICA have recently published, most of which are cookbooks, this one is crafts though and it does have a few knitting patterns, none of which seem to have made it to Ravelry, yet.

The book is divided into 4 sections; Stitch and Sew; Make and Wear; Store and Keep and Celebrate and the range of skills is quite impressive. However I felt, looking through it, that it wasn't really for me, many of them felt too simple, maybe it's just my skillset.

The book starts with a short introduction to the ICA and how it has been involved with crafts, with an emphasis on how the ICA enabled women to create their own income. This did lead to women realising that they could have an independent income.

Stitch and Sew 
Entertainingly the first pattern is by a family friend. The Hairpin lace Stole that is a basic instruction on how to do this technique.  Aran weight yarn used.

Crochet Cushion cover is made using motifs which are then joined, which if you wanted could create a bigger project, like a bedspread.  The instructions are written out. No. 20 crochet cotton used.

Alsorts Patchwork Quilt very sparse instructions, quite general.

Chicken Scratching Embroidery Tea Cosy "you can check the internet for patterns"

Smocking gives basic stitches and how-tos but really doesn't enter into any depth, the created piece illustrated is beautiful.

Shadow Embroidery again a general description of how to do the technique.  No real depth.

Redwork Embroidery Cushion Cover basically using a stem stitch in red embroidery thread to create a pattern. An outline pattern is given but no notes on enlarging or anything like that.


Cross-Stitch Bookmark - using a piece of Aida and not using strips of Aida that are readily available, and glued with PVA to felt.  This made my inner Cross Stitcher twitch.

Rag Rug again quite general. Mentions a rag rugging tool but doesn't go into any specifics.

Make and Wear 
Child's Aran Jacket written in pieces, raglan sleeves.  This is written as I have seen many traditional patterns written with a pattern set between a set number of edge stitches.  Mentions Aran yarn

Crochet Hats starting from the top and working down in a shell like pattern.  DK weight yarn

Whirl Scarf using the astoundingly popular wide mesh-like yarn, this is the basic instructions on how to knit with it. The illustrations are poorly reproduced and look like multiple generation photocopies.

Upcycled Child's skirt and Cap using very general instructions that would require basic sewing skills, and honestly would be best done with a commercial pattern as a template to help.

Clones Lace Wild Rose Medallion Necklace uses no10 and no20 crochet cotton.  A Rose medallion with a crocheted chain.  Would also look good in Pink and Green threads.  Written instructions


Irish Crochet a crochet sequare and an abstract flower

Peyote Stitch Bracelet a basic how-to on Peyote Stitch with extra instructions on adding the fixings for a bracelet.

Beaded Ring Necklace how to use some fairly basic beading and how to make rings that connect.

Tissue Paper Pompom exactly what it says.

Donegal Tweed Necklace and Ring using fabric, beads and buttons to create a ring and necklace.

Felted Bead Necklace how to use needle felting and wet felting to create beads.

Button Rings - using buttons and beads to create rings.

Store and Keep 
Lumra Rug written directions in quite a general manner, using wool tops. Sounds something that would be quite doable but I would like some illustrations to help me, it is one of those crafts that is sadly under-represented online.

Leather Bag basic instructions on how-to create a bag.  Again suggests using the internet to find patterns and leather.

Covered File Box the quite good instructions are marred by a preamble that involves getting "hubbie and his tools" to work on it.  Why not learn how to use new tools?  Apart from that the instructions seem clear.

Hedgerow Basket no-nonsense how-to with willow weaving.  I was reading this wondering if I could use some of my lavender or grape vines to make this.  I found it inspirational.

Rushwork Coil Table Mat - using bull rushes, suggests shaking off mould before using which made me worry about the instructions, granted there is varnishing afterwards but mould needs to be treated carefully.  There's no real information about joining lengths of rushes.

Hand Stamped Tea Towel using potato stamping and a Cookie Biscuit cutter

Celebrate 
Lace Crochet Baby Bonnet and Bootees using no10 crochet cotton, this looks like the kind of heirloom project for a very special occasion like a baptism.

Iris Folding an interesting way of playing with paper, somewhat like quilting.

DIY circular disc Banner - sewn 5" paper circles,

Mr and Mrs Claus two stuffed toy figurines, lacks patterns or templates

Two little angels mostly knit figurines.

Carrickmacross Lace an embroidered lace piece, well illustrated.

Mini Wreath stuffed and plaited, interesting.

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats again lacking patterns or outlines, this gives general outlines on how to create the runner and place mats.  Despite the lack of patterns the instructions are quite clear.

Hat Pin Cushion a lace adorned pin cushion.
 
DIY Ribbon Dispenser painted pasta jar with hole cut in lid... yes indeed.

Christmas Card Holder this design would also be useful as a mail holder for a family in a more plain fabric.

Knitted Easter Chick DK knitting yarn, with a stuffed head and embellishment. Cute egg cosy.

Homemade Blackboard Sign exactly that.  Painted blackboard, beading as framing glued on and then holes drilled for a cord through it.

Honestly my overriding feeling from it is that it needs more, more patterns, more information, could be so much better, sadly left me wanting.

I got this from Dublin City Public Libraries who offer me no inducement to writing these reviews other than the unlimited access I have to the book stock.

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