Rugs (1)

My reviews are listed below, but you can also click on this link to buy & find reviews of even more Rugmaking Books

(Titles are listed A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different stitch techniques.)

LATCH-HOOKING RUGS by LYNDA SPIRO

At first glance, I wasn’t very excited about this book.  The patterns (the stripy ones, at least) were quite shocking in their simplicity, and I couldn’t see the justification for yet another book about rugs when it didn’t seem to include anything either new or stylistically original.  But I carried on flicking through, and it did grow on me.  Slightly.

It’s written in a very friendly, personal tone of voice which makes a refreshing change from the very staid, upright tone of earlier books on the subject, or the very bland, impersonal tone of more recent ones.  Each pattern is presented very simply with a materals list and instructions, colour chart (easily adaptable to different techniques) and colour photos of the hooked pattern, sometimes in different colourways (I wasn’t convinced by at least half of the colour choices, but it’s a very personal thing, and colours are one of the easiest things to change).  Progressing beyond the initial stripe patterns, sometimes a sentence or two from the author is included, with a brief mention of the inspiration behind a particular design.  I would have appreciated a little further expansion on this aspect, because it is interesting to know where ideas come from, but it felt a little like a token gesture, instead.

The most interesting parts of the book come after the ‘finishing’ section, and include a chapter called ‘Design and Inspiration’.  This includes suggestions for interpreting (charting) a child’s drawing, and painting a design on canvas rather than following a chart.  There’s an idea for using a child’s handprints which I think could be used in lots of different ways.  The colour chart rug is also a nice idea.  Unfortunately, this section is only a few pages long, and just skims the surface of ideas it would have been more useful to cover in greater depth.

The jacket blurb says ‘The Textiles Handbook Series was conceived as an introduction to various topics and techniques relating to textiles.  The books are aimed at the student or the practised artist who is experimenting in a new area.’  Perhaps this book would be of interest to an absolute beginner looking for basic charts to follow, but I can’t see the market being significantly wider.  Expansion in a lot of areas and fewer of the (very simplistic) charts would be necessary to make this relevant to a practising artist loking at broadening a range of techniques.

It’s not a bad book. It’s nicely presented and there are some good ideas.  But I don’t think it really succeeds in reaching its target audience, which is a shame.  I wanted to like it more.

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