First, my qualifications as a "reviewer": I've been making glass and metal beads, along with precious metal jewelry, for a living for over 20 years. In my early beadmaking years I also made fiber and beaded jewelry, and I amassed a collection of over 1000 kinds of beads in all materials, shapes, sizes and hole sizes. So I came to this book with a lot of experience with all kinds of beads, a fair amount of experience with fiber; and none with knotting, knitting, braiding or any of that. I'm doing good to remember how to tie a slip knot! And finishing the ends of a fiber piece in a professional manner has always been a challenge for me. My goal was to learn how to work with larger cords in a way that was *simple*, colorful, elegant, and showcased my own beads.
I think this is a very good beginner's book and I'm happy I bought it. The knots are beautiful, the jewelry - although rather simple in design and color choices - is attractive and shows intelligent color sense, the illustrations and photos are clear. There were times I could not see how she got from Point A to Point B, and an intermediate photo would have been helpful. But by and large, the book will be very helpful in my desire to experiment with elegant fiber jewelry with knots as a design element.
I have not given it 5 stars, however, because I think there are important areas where it falls short:
1.) First, what she says about supplies and how to choose them only fills a total of one page, and is completely inadequate. The author spends 4 times more pages on her personal introduction and the history of knotting than she does on choosing the supplies. One requires very large-holed beads to use most of these techniques, and although she mentions hole sizes in passing, she gives no information about useful or minimum hole diameters, *relative to the sizes of the cords*. She also gives virtually no *specific* information on cord sizes or types, what might be suitable or not. Someone with experience would eventually calculate ratios of hole sizes to cord sizes, at least mentally, and would buy materials with minimum or maximum sizes in mind. But an inexperienced bead or fiber buyer could buy a lot of stuff, learn it was unsuitable, and end up very frustrated.
2.) Second, I wanted to see more of a variety of professional finishing options. A button knot makes a great button, but one loop of smaller cord might be completely undersized or too weak to be used over and over in a closure. There are many fiber finishing techniques for closures, ways of wrapping threads and loops and so forth, and it would have been very useful to have seen them incorporated with the knots. Clasps and closures are the mark of a professional piece; the pieces shown in the book were finished with commercial findings in a "hobbyist" manner. Because this is not my strong suit, I'd hoped to get a few more ideas. I was disappointed.
3.) Finally, any good how-to book should have a few good sources of supply. With this book, listing some of the larger mail order sources for silk and cotton cords would have been useful, as well as sources for larger-holed beads.
Having said all that, this is certainly is a good elementary book, and it will prove useful as a starting place. I recommend it to anyone who wants an introduction to using beads with Chinese knotting.