The first 2/3 of the book drags horribly, but once the action picks up the violence and terror are unbelievably horrific and disturbing. We picked thi...moreThe first 2/3 of the book drags horribly, but once the action picks up the violence and terror are unbelievably horrific and disturbing. We picked this one up at the last school book fair, and I must say, I don't think it's appropriate for middle school readers. Plus, it just wasn't well written. If your child aspires to become a depraved sadistic killer, this book will give him or her some great ideas to get started. All the other kids should skip this one and save themselves the nightmares!(less)
Recently I discovered Harriet Hargrave's Quilter's Academy series of books. Perfecto! Harriet is a highly respected, trailblazing machine quilter and...moreRecently I discovered Harriet Hargrave's Quilter's Academy series of books. Perfecto! Harriet is a highly respected, trailblazing machine quilter and author who has been teaching and inspiring new quilters since the 1980s. I have her other books, and didn't know whether any of the information in this Freshman Year volume would be new to me, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I find lots of new-to-me information to highlight in this book, but it's also an absolutely ideal textbook for teaching the fundamentals of quilting to bright students of any age -- this is the Gifted and Talented workbook of quilting!
When my mother and I took a class with Harriet a few months ago at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, she talked to the class about a disturbing trend away from beginner classes that teach fundamentals in favor of project-based, "quilt in a day" type classes. This approach gives new quilters the satisfaction of making a quilt right away, but can leave them ignorant of the basics of precision cutting, accurate piecing, color and design theory, and drafting. After several classes, the student may have made several entire quilts, but is unable to apply what they have learned to other projects and completely unable to design an original quilt. Even worse, by rushing through the process to finish by the end of class, many new quilters develop bad habits that result in small inaccuracies. If your seam allowance is off by 1/16" to 1/8" in a simple quilt with few pieces, it's not a big deal -- but when that "minor" inaccuracy is multiplied by all of the pieces in a more advanced block, it results in units that don't fit together at all. For this reason, many younger quilters especially, who typically have no prior sewing experience, find themselves stuck at the beginner level and believe that intermediate and advanced quilts are just "too hard."
What I love about the Quilter's Academy format is the way that in-depth academic information and advice for selecting equipment and setting up your workspace is interspersed with the hands-on exercises and projects, and that each "class" in the book builds on the knowledge and experience gained in previous "classes." It's exactly the way a good science textbook would be laid out, so students can read the chapter and understand what they are doing before they get out their little goggles and do the lab exercise. I also love that, even in this very first "Freshman" book in the series, Harriet teaches the basics of understanding base block grids and beginning drafting and design.
I'm using this as a workbook to teach my 10 and 12 year old sons. :-)(less)
Ugh. This book was terribly depressing, but I suppose it was clever. I'm mad at whichever reviewer suggested this as a book that "both adults and olde...moreUgh. This book was terribly depressing, but I suppose it was clever. I'm mad at whichever reviewer suggested this as a book that "both adults and older children" would enjoy, because I started reading it with my 12-year-old son and was unpleasantly surprised to run smack into a chapter where the main character, a young boy, is listening to his mom having sex with Uncle Al. Umm-hmm. And I had selected this book to read with my son because we had really enjoyed some of Matt Haig's other books, which WERE written for children, unlike this one, which clearly was not. I think that the publisher needs to do a better job of identifying which books are appropriate for children in instances like this, where authors write some novels for children and others for adults -- especially since the child narrator of this book made the early chapters feel like it was, indeed, a great book for introducing Hamlet to middle school readers. Anyway, I ended up finishing the novel by myself, and it was okay but not amazing.(less)
My son and I really enjoyed this one. Although the sequels to Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society were not as good as the first book (IM...moreMy son and I really enjoyed this one. Although the sequels to Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society were not as good as the first book (IMO), this "prequel" was very well done and can stand on its own -- you don't have to have already read the other books in order to understand what is going on in this one. (less)
This book is the best general overview that I've found for new machine embroiderers. In Chapter 2: Embroidery Products and Chapter 3: The Embroidery P...moreThis book is the best general overview that I've found for new machine embroiderers. In Chapter 2: Embroidery Products and Chapter 3: The Embroidery Process, Twigg does a good job of introducing newbies to the mechanics of machine embroidery, including proper hooping technique, an overview of different types of stabilizers and their appropriate use for embroidery, and recommended placement of embroidery on common items such as shirts, towels, and linens. The troubleshooting guide in Appendix I is useful as well, and Twigg does address the most challenging aspects of machine embroidery for most beginners, with clear explanations. However, this book was published in 2001 and the entire first chapter covering equipment choices is hopelessly outdated. Floppy disks and proprietary design cards have been dinosaurs for a long time, and because technology changes so quickly, it really should have been left out of the book entirely. The projects featured in the last part of the book are, for the most part, unbelievably ugly and make you wonder why anyone would bother learning machine embroidery in the first place. For that reason, the CD containing the embroidery designs featured in these projects is not much of a bonus, in my opinion.(less)
I almost passed on this book based on the title. After all, I was having trouble embroidering on "ordinary" fabrics, and I have no desire to embroider...moreI almost passed on this book based on the title. After all, I was having trouble embroidering on "ordinary" fabrics, and I have no desire to embroider on fabrics ike leather or vinyl. However, Machine Embroidery on Difficult Materials by Deborah Jones turned out to be a far more valuable reference than I expected. Jones does an outstanding job of explaining how machine embroidery works with all fabrics, and how the fabric, stabilizers, needle, thread, and hooping method all affect the success or failure of the completed embroidery design. What's more, Jones gives specific recommendations for altering embroidery designs within embroidery software in order to correct problems and achieve the best results for whatever material you're working with. Not only does she recommend reducing/increasing your tension, stitch density or stitch length, but she also gives a range of specific values to try for each fabric, greatly reducing the process of trial-and-error. For me, this is the most valuable information in the book. I know HOW to use my embroidery software to change pull compensation, density of a fill stitch, stitch angles, etc. from my software mastery classes, but before reading this book I would look at an ugly sample stitch-out of a design and have no idea which values I should change to correct the problems. The book also comes with a CD that contains multiple versions of designs that have been modified for different fabrics, so that you can open the designs in your embroidery software and compare the standard version to the adapted version.
My copy of this book has been heavily hilighted, and it's my new go-to reference before starting any kind of embroidery project. I recommend it wholeheartedly to novice to intermediate machine embroiderers. Readers who do not own embroidery software may feel discouraged that they are unable to try all of the author's suggestions, but many may decide to purchase embroidery software for the first time based on the software applications described in this book.(less)