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Posted July 5, 2004
This book was written in an era when women created the pretties in their homes rather than picking them up at Wal-Mart, these volumes are a snapshot of the past; Their overall accuracy and extensive content fully deserves the rating given. <p> Although the directions for each subject are given with the first lessons wherever they occur in the series, they may NOT be in the book you have purchased. For example, there is a Mountmellick section in this book, but the 'Step-By-Step/How To' directions are in an earlier book. Another example of this is 'Drawn Thread Work.' This topic is introduced in Volume 5 (this book) and the detailed instructions here will be referred to as necessary in the rest of the series; they will not be repeated. This is not a problem for me as I have other books and sources of information I can reference. It MAY be a problem for someone with less experience working with minimal directions or trying to develop a completely new skill.<p> The information in this book (and the rest of the series) is given in an instructional format rather than an entertaining one. I believe this is primarily because of the mission of the original books. The reader needed materials that would 'cut to the chase' so she could proceed with other projects. At the same time, there was pride in work well done and the work ethic of the time 'idle hands...' comes through very clearly. <p> This series of books contains outright pattern-errors. In most cases archaic terms are used as well (such as 'plain knitting (garter stitch),' 'tricot stitch (afghan stitch),' and 'commence with ________(begin/start with)'. The introduction at the beginning of each book addresses this and explains that the books were printed exactly as the originals to give us historically accurate reproductions. <p> It also has to be admitted that women at this time had no idea how to explain 'gauge' so there is none given for most of the patterns. Obviously the yarns listed have not been available for decades--though E-bay may have some surprises. <p> To advanced crafters, this poses little problem--less skilled individuals will almost certainly want to stick to items that require no-gauge tablecloths, shawls, etc. It isn't terribly difficult to determine that working the design 'Muffler and Chest Protector Combined'...a 'dickey' takes a 3mm needle (from conversion charts posted in Newsgroups for those with OLD needles/patterns). With this knowledge and the assumption that 'fingering' yarn hasn't changed much in size, you can knit a small swatch and calculate a reasonable size for the Dickey.<p> The language used is not only non-standard, but in some cases just exactly what the item *is* has been forgotten. Most of the time there is an illustration to explain...these may also help to clarify design issues that are not clear from the text alone.<p> Although the directions are not embellished, the uniqueness of the period shows through; I find it rather entertaining.
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