Book Review: Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘Craft’

Amongst the seriously awesome presents that I received from Mumsy for Christmas, including the welly socks for my Hunters, was a copy of Kirstie Allsop’s Craft. As you can imagine, this was extremely pleasing for me, as I had thought about buying a copy but thought ‘no, wait, maybe if I am a really good girl and finish all my wips, Father Christmas will bring one for me.’ Well, I was really good (apart from the wips, and I have just cast on for a knitalong, so I am not doing terribly well with the wip discipline) and it arrived on Christmas Day. Unlike the Mothership’s Christmas scarf…

As it is a book that a lot of people will be thinking about buying, I thought it would be worth throwing in my two penneth’s worth on the subject. I quite like doing reviews as I tend to have an opinion on most things. It also gives me something to write about when I am making less than sterling progress on my ever-growing pile of projects.

Onto the tome…

In short, the book is 223 pages of loveliness, split into seven sections of projects – Needlecrafts, Textile Crafts, Paper Crafts, Food Crafts, Garden Crafts, Gift Crafts and Flower Crafts, with and eighth section detailing the suppliers. The layout on the pages themselves is very good, with some nice fonts and a good balance between text and photos. It’s a craft book, so for me, it needs to have great photos and diagrams to be of any use and I am pleased to say that Craft doesn’t disappoint in this area. The photography (Fiona Murray) is excellent and really adds to the book, with a good mixture of instructional photos, pictures of the finished projects and pictures of Kirstie having a jolly good time at all these craft fairs and workshops.

Beautiful layout, oh how we love thee.

Content-wise, it’s a treat. I would make every single one of the projects covered in there at some point or another. The directions and pictures and diagrams that accompany the projects are clear and easy to understand, albeit the knitting project does assume you know how to knit and purl already, but most of the projects have instructions that are comprehensive enough to ensure success, even if you have never tried that particular craft before.

The book is very much an all round overview of craft (the clue is in the title!) and it is an interesting canter though a wide variety of pastimes. It would appeal as well to those starting out in craft and deciding what they like to do best just as much as someone who has been making for a long time, but has always fancied knocking up a Devore silk scarf on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. As one does.


I do however, have one point to make, and this is with regard to the front cover. I discussed it with Sal from the Gingerbread Bunny the other week, as she had  received the book for Christmas and loved it as much as I do, and she was also slightly concerned. Concerned by the editing that seems to have turned the normally lovely Kirstie (and Lord knows we love thee, Ms Allsopp) into a Fembot. We discussed the possibility that it may have been a photo of her Madame Tussaud’s waxwork – at length – and came to the conclusion that it was just some overly zealous airbrushing which had resulted in making Kirstie look a bit scary Mary. In a probably could have been on The Terminator way. In a definitely swearing under her breath way! Maybe it is the result of all that competitive crafting at the Country Fairs?

So to summarise:

Would I buy it again? Well I didn’t, but yes, I would. It would make a great gift (thanks Mum!). A brilliant all-rounder that should be on any self-respecting crafter’s bookshelf. 5 star!

10 comments on “Book Review: Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘Craft’

  1. I am going to mention your review on the podcast this weekend 🙂 You also get a mention in the damaskkal bit!


    1. Shinybees says:

      Aw thanks Martine! I feel famous now. Not quite as famous as Famous Kate of course! 🙂

  2. EJ Davis says:

    Agree about the has been riduculously air brushed, but sadly don’t agree about the book…that too is ridiculous… Ms Allsopp herself has confessed to “not having the time” to do any of the crafts she trie don her programmes so she is a fraud, not a true crafter at ll, the book is then just a money maker for her and is as fasle as her ‘crafting’ programmes…Sorry

    1. Shinybees says:

      Hi – thanks for the comment, it is always nice to hear from people who have a different view to mine. I can see your point. It depends what you are looking for really. If you want the person who writes your book to be an expert in their field and to spend their time doing the crafts they talk about, then this book probably isn’t for you. I have to say, the craft programmes she has done has brought a variety of pastimes to the main public interest – whether she actually does any of them or not – so for that reason, I don’t really mind. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that there would be enough interest in the crafters alone to warrant making the programme without Kirstie in it, a sad but true fact for those of us who like to spend our spare time crafting!

      1. EJDavis says:

        Totally agree, I had the book for christmas and passed it on, did watch some of her programme but got so cross when some one plays at crafting for TV…crafting is a serious business!! lol

  3. She certainly wouldn’t look out of place in Stepford Wives with that photo would she lol

    1. Shinybees says:

      I know! I just despaired because she looks great in real life, there is no need for the airbrushing!

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