I got a mega treat last month when I was given a copy of the brand spanking new Book of Crafts from The Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA). As much as I love Pinterest and my collection of favourite crafty blogs, there’s something about a beautiful hardback craft book that I love. This book – the latest publication from the ICA, is no exception.
This book has forty projects ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. It is divided into four sections – Stitch and Sew, Make and Wear, Store and Keep, and Celebrate. Each of the projects was submitted by an ICA member and credit is given to those who contributed. Short introductions give you a background to each piece and often include lovely details such as where the writer themselves learnt the skill. There are details on materials required and the instructions are clearly set out and wonderfully illustrated with appropriate pictures and diagrams.
The range of projects is immense. From cable knitting, to basket weaving, leather craft and Dutch ‘abstract paper quilting’ there is something for beginner and advanced crafters alike. The photos are sublime. I’ve lost a few hours just taking in the wonderful detail of so many of them. I found myself strongly tempted to abandon my stack of half-finished stuff and launch straight into to beautiful projects like the Carrickmacross Lace, Irish Crochet, and various bracelet and beading projects.
Though beautiful and practical, I personally think that this book is first and foremost a great testament to local crafting knowledge and experience. The book itself a brilliant reflection of the importance of groups such as the ICA in keeping something so special, so Irish, alive. The modern twist it gives to so many older craft techniques is exactly what breaths life into the craft movement. It keeps people like me pining to make beautiful things, and makes sure I know where to start. The ICA should be very proud of their member’s contributions to this really beautiful book, and the rest of us are lucky they have taken the time and patience to get it out there.
The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Crafts is available from your local bookshop for €22.99, or direct from Mercier Press for €17.99 (here). It would make a fantastic gift for any up and coming festive season that I dare not mention yet.
But, because all you readers are so wonderful – and Mercier Press are such a generous bunch, I’ve a copy to give away for free!
Enter through the contest button (big yellow star on the left hand side) on The Busy Mamas Facebook page or by subscribing to this blog. I’ll announce the winner in a fortnight. Entries are open to Ireland and the UK only. The winner will be sent their copy by post super pronto – or as fast as I can persuade my argumentative children to walk to the post office.
p.s. while you’re there, the Mercier Press site has some great deals on other titles that are all a few quid cheaper than the bookshop prices.
Thursday 20 November Update!: The winner has been drawn (the old-school way) and it’s Louise Dalton! Well done Louise – and thanks to everyone for entering.
Note: I was given a free copy of The Book of Crafts for the purposes of this review, and a second copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. All opinions stated are my own.