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on April 7, 2011
There are knitting patterns in the world for owls, penguins, geese, peacocks, parrots, and cute little Easter chicks, why couldn't this book have some? The title says BIRDS, where are the birds? There are TWO BIRDS in this whole book, and one of them looks quite weird. The one good bird in this book, the one on the cover, could have been altered slightly to be a cardinal, a canary, a red-wing blackbird, and scaled up to be a crow. (I can't do this myself, that is why I buy books with patterns in them.) The author is obviously a knitting genius - because she creates amazing flowers - why couldn't she do that?

This book has beautiful pictures, nice layout, good instructions not just for how to knit the pattern, but also how to assemble the pieces. So, good knitting book. I love the fact that there are verbal descriptions AND a chart of how to assemble the peices. But the patterns were not what I expected. When they say "75 Birds, Butterfiles and little beasts" they mean "TWO BIRDS - one of which looks quite odd, some eggs, and a nest" and 1/3 to 1/2 of the 79 designs are actually plants, fruits, veggies, grains, leaves, flowers, etc. Plus some snowflakes and a "Christmas Star" ornament. I was really hoping for about 70 BIRDS AND BUGS and maybe those pink flowers from the cover... not 2 birds, some bugs, and a ton of leaves and flowers and produce.

I bought this because I loved her flower-pattern book so much and I wanted to see what she did with Birds and Bugs. I feel like this is not as good as the flower book. It doesn't really add much to the library, to buy this second book. Unless you want to knit some fruits and veggies. If they sold it under the title "More Flowers And Friends" it would be a five-star addition to the first book she did with the flowers. Now the flowers have some bugs, and mushrooms, and squash to keep them company. But when sold as "Birds and...." it is a three star book, because there ARE NO BIRDS.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 17, 2011
A delightful collection of patterns for decorative ornaments and appliques, suitable for (1) framing, (2) adding to containers, hatbands, and wreaths, or (3) wearing as lapel jewelry. Some of the patterns are for three-dimensional objects, like the knitted Blue Tit bird, the crocheted ear of corn, or the knitted striped caterpillar. Other patterns are for flat decorations, like the knitted butterflies, the crocheted strawberry leaf, or the crocheted dragonfly.

The patterns are grouped into themes: Spring Things, Hedgerow Flowers, Leaf Fall, Bugs and Beasties, Butterflies, Rock Pool, Vegetable Basket, Woodland Walk, and Midwinter. Probably I'll never want to make a stuffed slug, housefly, or mushroom, but the ladybug is cute, and the patterns for shells, acorns, Easter eggs, fruits, and vegetables will come in handy for holiday or seasonal decoration projects. The flat "specimen butterflies" (peacock, large blue, fritillary) are delightful.

All of the patterns have written-out instructions, and the crocheted patterns also have charts. There is some very basic how-to-knit and how-to-crochet material at the beginning of the book, but this is a pattern book, not a technical manual. Most of the patterns look like they would be fairly easy to knit or crochet--a notable exception is the charming three-dimensional Blue Tit. I give this book 5 stars, because of the clear instructions, the full-color close-up photos, and the sheer variety of interesting "things" included in the patterns.

If what you're looking for is patterns for knitted and crocheted pieces that can be used either individually (as appliques) or joined together into larger projects, then you might be interested in another newly-published pattern collection: 150 Knit and Crochet Motifs: Anything-but-Square Shapes for Garments, Accessories, Afghans, and Throws.
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on May 18, 2011
As is the case with Stansfield's other books, the items in this book are imaginative, cute & pretty realistic.
However, the patterns contain NO GUIDANCE as to the gauge or size of needle/hook to use and the recommended yarn weights are not standard.

Many of the items recommend DK weight yarn which is standard except that British DK is often listed as equivalent to US Worsted so which is it?? (this is a British author & book)

Other weights specified include 3-ply, 4-ply, tapestry yarn etc. One item even recommends "metalic yarn, used double"--who knows what that weight means!!

Many references state that British 4-ply is US sport wt and 3-ply is US fingering wt so I hope this helps someone.

This would not matter too much as for the small amounts required, one can experiment but folks usually expect more guidance from a pattern book. Furthermore, some items have patterns to be traced and cut out for portions of the item (e.g. bees wings) so the gauge is important for these parts to be to scale.

Giving a gauge for each pattern which is the modern norm for knitting and crochet patterns would certainly have helped. A statement early in the book stating that British standards are used and giving US/International equivalents and gauges would not have been too much to ask either.

Even with the problem of Birds in the title when there are only 2 birds in the book, I'd have given this book 5 stars if it hadn't been for the gauge ambiguity. However, this is such a glaring omission that I've downgraded the book to 3 stars.

If you are a fairly prolific crocheter/knitter with lots of scraps, really want to make these items and are willing to experiment, the book is worth owning. However, if you have to purchase yarns to make these items or if you expect certainty from a pattern, you will find the book frustrating.
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on November 7, 2011
I have been looking for a book with butterflies to make. This one has some very cute butterflies in it. Also the flowers are quite nice too. The only complain I have on this book is that there is not many birds in it. Even though the title is 75 Birds, Butterflies & Little Beasts to Knit and Crochet, there is only 2 birds in the book. I was hoping for more. There is also a few patterns for eggs, which I find odd since I am sure they all look the same. Also I am not very happy about all the fruits in this book either. Overall, I wish there is more birds and less eggs in this book.
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on August 12, 2011
With all the hype over this new book and the cute color photos, I was disappointed to find out several things.
First, more things were in crochet than knit.I am primarily a knitter. Second, directions for yarn and needles were not exact. Third, it takes a lot more than yarn to replicate the photos. Another silly thing is that if you look through the photos of the motifs at the beginning of the book they are numbered, so you might logically think that the number corresponds to perhaps the page of directions for that item. Not so. It only is a count, as in motif number 25. I also purchased a flower book by the same author. It too, had the same format.
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on May 13, 2011
I don't knit, but, the book had plenty of crocheted motifs to make the book worth while to me. In fact a friend and I ordered it together!! We are both happy with our books. There are many motifs that can be used for various projects. The butterflies are adorable, and the slug is just too cute. Directions are clear. Great book!
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on August 6, 2014
This is a really fun book with great ideas, but for someone like me who only knows how to crochet and not how to knit I wish that they gave instructions on how to knit and crochet the same items. I like what I can do, but for some of the items listed as knit only... I wish I could crochet those as well.
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on July 7, 2014
This book has both written instruction and a diagram, which I like. I have done the Brimstone Butterfly and the Bachelor's Button and both came out nicely. I'm looking forward to doing more of the crochet flowers and critters. This is an enjoyable book.
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on February 24, 2014
This book is full of fantastic designs to crochet insects, birds, butterflies, and flowers. There are 75 patterns in this book, and you will want to make all of them up. They are intricate patterns, which makes this book more interesting. You will get ideas on how to use these in your needlework pieces.
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on April 12, 2012
An exciting addition to my knitting pattern collection. The patterns are clear and simple. There are many projects included. After completing several I found they inspired me to use these knit flora and fauna in many differnt ways. Being small items they work up quickly;not something often found in knitting projects. They proved to be great for using up yarn left over from other projects.

I was surprised that the crochet patterns were charted ( the knit ones were not). I seldom crochet so this will be a challenge for me. The projects are appealing so I will be learning something new this Summer, but if you primarily crochet and do not feel comfortable without a written out pattern this book is not the one you want.
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