Mollie Makes CHRISTMAS ISBN 978-1-90844-917-7 Project photography by Rachael Smith
Mollie Makes FEATHERED FRIENDS ISBN 978-1-908449-19-1 Project photography by Rachel Whiting
Mollie Makes CROCHET ISBN 978-1-908449-20-7 Project photography by Rachel Whiting (with free gift)
Published by Collins & Brown – CHRISTMAS (Oct 2012) FEATHERED FRIENDS (June 2013) CROCHET (Sept 2013) WOODLAND FRIENDS (Nov 2013)
Christmas and Feathered Friends RRP £9.99 Crochet RRP £16.99 Woodland Friends RRP £11.99.
All four books can be ordered direct at the award winning LoveCrafts.co.uk
CHRISTMAS, FEATHERED FRIENDS, and WOODLAND FRIENDS contain twenty or more craft/hobby projects with design work presented from craft contributors. Details provided are how to make themed handicrafts including decorations, gifts, stationery items, ornaments, practical items, and accessories both for the home and for personal dressing. Whereas CROCHET presents fifteen projects and devotes more pages to teaching tips and techniques of the craft.
Mollie Makes is a lifestyle and craft magazine which brings the best of craft online. Designers from the team and other contributors with design and craft expertise have worked together to produce a range of Mollie Makes books. All are projects set under a theme.
The following applies to all four books under review:
Range of information 9/10
Introductions by the Editors’ champions the work of designer/makers and acknowledges the value of craft bloggers and/or the Mollie Makes designers. written in a friendly and informal tone. Jane Toft, in the role, identifies the target audience well, so is worth a read of her introductions to gauge contextual aims overall.
The main body provides sections dedicated to each project, and then has page by page instruction within. Imagery helps with conveying steps in the making process and in the showing of end results. Material and equipment requirements/suggestions are listed. Instructions for each project are in numbered paragraphs, as are the knitting and crochet pattern instructions (abbreviations given).
At the back of three of the books namely CHRISTMAS/FEATHERED FRIENDS/WOODLAND FRIENDS are templates which will need to be enlarged by 200% or more using a photocopier. In FEATHERED FRIENDS and WOODLAND FRIENDS stitch diagrams are provided, and in regard to the former a chart for the Loving Lovebirds cross stitch, whereas in the latter there is a chart to follow to make Squirrel Hand Warmers From Page 80 – 142 of CROCHET shows step-by-step guides to techniques, helpful for those who have completed a few straightforward crochet projects enabling them to build on that skills base.
Quality of information 8/10
With the exception of CROCHET and to a lesser degree WOODLAND FRIENDS it would be very hard to source an exact match of some of the main materials used to make the items detailed in the books, saying that, the very idea is to hunt down items from thrift stores, or to customize and up cycle existing textile pieces and try to mimic the project work, therefore, and understandably so, item specifics are kept to a minimum. CROCHET however, is more specific in detailing the yarns used in the projects shown and pages 5 – 11 introduces working with crochet pattern, working from charts and detailing the importance of ‘tension’ in crochet work.
There are no pages dedicated to stockists and suppliers as you might find in larger, more comprehensively put together craft books. Writing does not simplify information to the most basic at times, and so some terminology used could be unfamiliar for beginners. Areas of detailing and explanation that have been omitted may confuse slightly. Despite this, information is consistently thorough and concise.
CHRISTMAS, FEATHERED FRIENDS and WOODLAND FRIENDS are hardback books that are square 20.5 cm long x 20.5 cm wide. CROCHET is larger, measuring 23cm long x 24.5 cm wide (hardback) and is spiral bound. Covers are bright and colourful and the photography in a visual sense picks up the jettison, the vintage, the craft revivals, in other words fitting nicely with those ongoing trends that remain deep set in popularity at present. Page numbers indicate the start of each project and are listed on the contents’ pages at the beginning of each book. Capital lettering features strongly, instructions are lower-case with small fonts (in black) set on a white background. Little biographical pieces are dotted around of contributors with links to their own online outlets. Images in full colour
Material requirements are ‘framed’ in little line drawings, and extra tips and related info features in little luggage label motifs, and other coloured shapes that illustrate the themes i.e. coloured bird cage motifs (FEATHERED FRIENDS), circular doilies (CROCHET), acorns (WOODLAND FRIENDS). Both full page and full colour photography features.
Artwork printed on the inside covers and bordering some pages show vintage prints and enhances aesthetic qualities of the books this applies to CHRISTMAS and FEATHERED FRIENDS particularly, the inside covers to the back and the front of WOODLAND FRIENDS looks like turquoise, coloured wood graining. Projects include the practice of skills like needle felting, crochet, lino printing, paper crafts, embroidery (including machine), and knitting. There are no lino printing or needle felting projects in WOODLAND FRIENDS but felt motifs and larger felt items feature strongly and there is a lovely, Woodland Walk Quilt to make using nature inspired prints and fat quarters; also an applique project entitled Mug Rugs. Using one or more of these techniques you are able to make things like cushions or pillows, kindle/IPAD covers, tea cosy, greetings cards, peg/tote bags… again a slightly different array of projects feature in WOODLAND FRIENDS the focus is more on practical items for the home such as a hot water bottle cover, tissue box cover, and knitted fox draught excluder, or items for ones personal use such as a sleep mask, set of hand warmers for example. In all cases there are a wider selection of ideas and inspirations than mentioned in this review and all are in keeping with the topics. All three books contain 96 pages.
CROCHET has more practicality to its presentation, using this book you will be able to make similar kinds of household and gift items as in the other books; cushions and gadget covers for example, and also a set of three cute little Russian Dolls. CROCHET Contains 144 pages. Includes a FREE GIFT all requirments to make a ‘folk daisy’ including crochet hook and yarn.
Final pages of all four books has publisher’s acknowledgments.
These books follow a format that has wide ranging appeal for people of all ages and abilities. They are ideal projects for home, for craft groups, for schools and for community projects. The price is affordable and would make a great gift for anyone who likes making lots of handmade items under one theme, or who like collectors of craft books that are published in series form. Some projects are more time consuming than others, so the books are perfect for one off craft group meetings, or to carry forward and fill further sessions.