Last year, I had the pleasure of taking classes for the first time with Melissa Grakowsky Shippee, and I've also done quite a few of her kits. Her designs are creative and elegant, and I was so excited about her book that I pre-ordered it as soon as I heard it was coming out. It's a beautiful book -- one well worth adding to your beading library!
Although the book is called _I Can Herringbone_, which implies that it might be more for beginners, Melissa had assured me that the book would have some advanced projects in it. I would say that most of the projects are for beginning and intermediate beaders, but her beautiful and advanced-level Sinusoidal Necklace (the class that I took with her last year) is included, as well as other projects that require a stronger knowledge of herringbone. (Each project includes a skill level of Easy Beginner, Experienced Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. Three of them are rated as Advanced.) It should appeal to all levels of beaders, although it has more of an emphasis on the beginner- and intermediate-level beader.
As Melissa explains in the introduction, Chapter 1 provides background on types of beads, etc., and then Chapter 2 provides a foundation in herringbone for the novice beader through the teaching of two bracelet projects and one earring project. From there, the book moves into a chapter on tubular herringbone, variations of tubular herringbone, and bezeled stones. The final chapter is a Gallery with works by other artists, including Laura McCabe and Huib Petersen. There is also a nice mix of projects -- with several patterns for earrings, necklaces, and even a ring.
Another great feature of this book is that the Appendix gives the exact bead colors in the samples. I love when beading books make it that easy to replicate projects!
Additionally, the illustrations and diagrams are excellent, and the instructions are clearly laid out and should be easy to follow. As I mentioned earlier, I've done quite a few of Melissa's patterns before, and her projects are always clear and precise. In the past, I know that Melissa has also assisted a bead store back East and Laura McCabe with the illustration/writing of their instructions, and she excels in providing the beader with intuitive steps.
The binding of this new Lark series is also nice. It's a soft-cover book, but one that is flexible so that you can spread the book open and it will remain flat while working from it.
Overall, this book is a wonderful introduction to Melissa's designs if you've never done any of her patterns before. If you have, this is still a great book to add to your collection. It's a lovely book -- one that is full of pretty pieces! I highly recommend it!