Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Talk

I wanted to draw readers attention toward a couple of interesting fibre craft books that I've come across lately.

Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet by Angela "Arnie" Grabowski. I received this as a birthday gift from one of my crafty friends. Author Angela Grabowski has clearly spent countless hours researching and tracking down information about the art of Tunisian crochet. As she puts it:

"Tunisian crochet is one of the most misunderstood [or perhaps forgotten is a better word] forms of crochet in the United States and possibly the world. It was a popular form of crochet during the Victorian Era yet it seems to have been lost during the early 20th century" p. 7.

Grabowski's book provides readers with background information on the craft and clarifies confusion over the various stitch names that have been used in Tunisian crochet over time and throughout the world. If that weren't enough, it also provides stitchers with tutorials for over 400 stitches and numerous patterns that can be created using the Tunisian techniques.

I personally haven't had a chance to make anything from the book yet, but have spent a great deal of time browsing through it and reading bits here and there. Grabowski's instructions are clearly written and there are plenty of pictures and diagrams at every step. This is definitely a great asset for anyone, like myself, who is interested in learning more about Tunisian crochet.

The Mummies of Urumchi by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. The boyfriend, who is far more of a history buff than me, ran across this one at the local library. A researcher of prehistoric textiles, author Elizabeth Wayland Barber discusses 4,000 year old mummies found in what is today known as Chinese Turkistan. What makes these mummies particularly interesting is "their clothes - woolens that rarely survive more than a few centuries - have been preserved as brightly hued as the day they were woven."

What we have here is possibly the ancestors of modern day cross stitch and embroidery. The book contains beautiful colour photos and even some diagrams of how the garments were woven and decorated with coloured stitches. This book is fascinating for anyone who is up for a bit of paleocrafting or consideration of the history behind the fibre crafts we make today.

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