Monday, 10 June 2013

Granny Chic - Book Review

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel

This week's book review is for those who love all things "granny chic", upcycled or retro.  Granny Chic, by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel shares, tips, techniques and patterns for adding granny chic to your home.  There are ideas for upcycling or re-using vintage fabrics and supplies, patterns for crocheting tea cosies and granny blankets and even projects showing how to make retro-looking floor rugs and decorating your home with vintage wallpaper and crockery.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel fabric covered jars

This book is packed with a veritable list of fun, retro projects, many of which are reminiscent of the creations often made by Western/caucasian "grannies" (let me point out that my very Chinese grandmas did not make crafts like this, though perhaps they made the Asian version...).  Besides a multitude of projects, Granny Chic also has a section with suggestions for finding suppliers and resources in the UK, USA and Australia, and blank, lined pages interspersed throughout for jotting down crafty notes to oneself.  I also enjoyed reading the quirky advice and tips dotted here and there giving advice on how to achieve granny chic both affordably and practically.  This is a very casually written book with a relaxed and friendly style akin to reading a blog or a letter from a friend.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel crochet string bag tote

Granny Chic is a beautifully retro-looking book in both design and photography, and lovers of "old fashioned" handicrafts will be excited by the range of projects included and the relatively easy to understand pattern instructions.  Inexperienced crafters may need more patience in following the project instructions as there are no step-by-step photos to walk readers through each project and many projects assume at least a basic understanding of the techniques involved.  Of note, I found that, when the authors say that readers need a knowledge of crochet to tackle their crochet patterns, they really meant it!  I attempted several crochet projects and found that the patterns seemed to leave out small steps.  I did manage to fill in what I saw as gaps in the pattern instructions and am assuming that more experienced crocheters would not have had a problem with the instructions.  My other gripe about the book is that there were many gorgeous photos of beautiful, handmade items used in the styling of the book's photography which were not included as projects in the book.  This was a little frustrating when I saw something I really liked and then realised I had to work out how to make it myself.

image granny chic book tif fussell rachelle blondel embroidered doily vintage

So who do I think would love Granny Chic?  I think this book would be perfect for people who love, and are inspired by, the retro creativity of bygone days.  Although it is more suited to those with at least some knowledge of crafty techniques (especially sewing and crochet), patient beginners should be able to tackle a large number of the projects and experienced creators will find lots of inspiration for adding granny chic to their homes.

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