________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 3 . . . . September 30, 2005


The Jumbo Book of Needlecrafts.

Judy Ann Sadler, Gwen Blakley Kinsler, Jackie Young and Biz Storms. Illustrated by Esperança Melo, June Bradford and Jane Kurisu.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2005.
208 pp., pbk., $18.95.
ISBN 1-55337-793-1.

Subject Headings:
Fancy work-Juvenile literature.
Sewing-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

*** /4


For most embroidery, use a needle with a sharp point that’s called an embroidery or crewel needle. When you embroider even-weave fabric such as Aida cloth, use a tapestry needle. Tapestry needles have blunt tips that don’t split the threads in the fabric as you stitch, but pass between them instead. When you are embroidering with yarn or all six strands of embroidery floss, or working on thick fabrics such as denim and fleece use a chenille needle. It is a sturdy needle with a large eye and sharp point. To add beads to your embroidery, you may need a long, thin beading needle. For regular hand sewing, you can use an embroidery needle or a type of sewing needle called a sharp. Needles may rust, so never leave a needle stuck in the fabric you are embroidering.



This new title in the Kids Can “Jumbo Book” series is actually a compilation of five books previously published separately under the titles: Knitting, Crocheting, Simply Sewing, Embroidery and Quilting. There is a general introduction to the projects and basic instructions on hand sewing and fabrics.

     The first section is devoted to knitting, and the author, Judy Ann Sadler, provides such good instructions that a person - whether a child or adult - could learn to knit from this book. The directions on how to knit and purl are clearly stated in step by step instructions with excellent large illustrations which the knitter could have opened to follow. Sadler shows nice finishing details like using a yarn needle to weave the yarn tail in and out of the knitting after casting off. There are 10 knitting projects in this book which progress in difficulty from a scarf and headband to the more complicated striped mittens which involve changing colours and casting off and holding stitches.

     Knitting is nicely followed by the section on Crocheting by Gwen Blakley Kinsler. Again the basic tools and instructions for crocheting are meticulously explained in text and illustrations. The projects include a bookmark, a sunglass caddy, a beaded belt and beaded scrunchee. Like most of the projects in this series, these items can be completed with a minimum of expensive supplies, and the projects are manageable and confidence boosting as they can be completed fairly quickly. Once again, a person could easily learn to crochet from the instructions provided.

     The information cited in the excerpt at the beginning of this review is from Judy Ann Sadler’s section on Embroidery. Her careful and straightforward style of writing is just like the other books in the series - easy to read and understand. Her projects in this section include appealing stitched greeting cards with patterns, a decorated jean jacket, and cross-stitch items like a ladybug magnet and a girl’s cross-stitch bracelet. A bonus in this section is that there are a number of ideas for individual projects as she includes colour reproducible charts for the alphabet, numbers and cute designs like a smiley face and a gecko in cross-stitch.

     The last two sections cover fabric crafts. The quilting section is by Biz Storms and includes 10 colourful projects like a quilted pencil case, a mini table quilt, and a large hop scotch lap quilt. All of these crafts are created with hand sewing, and there is a good explanation of the various stitches used in hand sewing and quilting stitches.

     The sewing section by Judy Ann Sadler contains instructions for both hand sewing and machine sewing. Once again, the projects are arranged in a progression of difficulty and include a make-up bag with a zipper, making jeans into a skirt and a cover-up for the beach. Like the other sections, almost all the projects are geared for young girls who are interested in creating some gift items as well as creating new fashions with a minimum of materials and expense.

     This is a great gift for a crafty girl. It is also an excellent purchase for school and public libraries as it is very good value for the price and is sure to be popular. Group leaders of organizations like Brownies and craft clubs will find this to be a great resource.


Lorraine is an artist and writer now living in Sidney, BC. She enjoys crafts and wishes that there were great books like this one when she was a child!

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.