Monday, 21 February 2005

Book Review

It must be the season for lovely books. I see Sharon has the Quilt Savvy book on her website - I have been trying to decide if I would get it sight unseen, so I am so glad Sharon has given it the "seal of approval".

I have just found this book in a local bookshop - in amongst all the ones about collecting hand tools, and cigarette tins, and all that sort of thing.

Collectable book1

It apparently came out in 2004, but I hadn't noticed it around. Ken Arnold produces a whole series of collecting books, self-publishing as Crown Castleton Publishers, P.O. Box 235, Golden Square, Vic. 3555. Phone/fax 03-5441 8070. Golden Square is a suburb of Bendigo, a large rural city in central Victoria. He also appears to operate a shop at 359 High St, Bendigo, open "when convenient or by appointment".

Although Ken Arnold appears as the author, biographies appear for two other people. Jan Harris is a member of the Needlework Tool Collectors Society, the Victorian Button Club and the Castlemaine Branch of the Embroiderer's Guild. Jean Taylor is a button collector who also trades in "interesting old clothes ... lace and sewing items".

The book (which I paid $35 for), is mainly black and white photos on quality glossy paper, and paperback. There are 144 pages, A4 in size. And there is a heap packed into them, Arnold's having "concentrated on mostly Australian content", although many items originated overseas.

The book proceeds through sewing machines, sewing boxes, needle cases and pin cushions and thimbles. It is a mix of photographs of items and reproductions of advertisements. Such as this one below:

Collectable book2

Many of the advertisements appear to have been reset in modern type, which detracts a tiny bit for me, although I suppose is not a major consideration. It then continues on through buttons, embroidery (including a number of old stitch diagrams), threads, crochet and tatting.

Now, before anyone gets toooo excited. There are no patterns or instructions, and no modern prices. This is a miscellany of "things". And it is lovely as that.

On we go, through netting (a small section, but not something you often see around), macrame, jewel work, beadwork, applique (more interesting stitch diagrams), samplers (disappointingly not a lot), smocking, knotting and lace-making. Many of these sections are page after page of small photographs of examples.

I don't think I could have lived without this book! I am now going to go and make myself a good cup of coffee and look at it slowly. The tatting pictures are so good I should be able to do them without a problem - there is one very interesting one for someone who is just learning and starting on chains. Call back soon.......

I don't know how you can easily obtain this book - I don't think it is distributed to many bookshops, I think Ken Arnold mainly sells through collectors. You could try ringing the above number - he may be able to mail on credit card details (it weights 600 gm, so will be a little bit pricey over great distances). ISBN is 1-8753-4244-3 so bookshops that are good at ordering may be able to pick it up for you on the name of the publishers, Crown Castleton Publishers, and the ISBN.

Now, what am I going to do first? Try that tatted edge or read the whole book again? I know - make the coffee!


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