November 2011

Best Sock Knitting Books

Today, let’s talk about knitting socks.  I have to confess right from the beginning that I have never actually successfully knitted a complete pair of socks.  I did manage to make a single sock that fit and looked great, but I couldn’t repeat the process.  It is my lifelong dream to eventually know how to make socks.  I love unique socks, hate mass-produced socks, and think I was destined to be a great sock knitter in another life.  So with that in mind, let us explore some of the top knitting books.

Getting Started Knitting Socks
I actually have this book, and really enjoyed the pretty pictures.  The instructions are very good as well, but with a hopeless case like me, I’m afraid they didn’t knit my socks for me.  The most impressive thing about this book is the perfect 5-star rating it has on Amazon.  Apparently you can knit socks by following a book!

The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Third Edition

Homebrewing makes not only a great hobby, but a potentially useful one as well.  Imagine the fun experiments you can make when brewing your own beers, meads, ports, ales and more.  You can delight friends with your own unique blends and enjoy a different flavor every night.  The Complete Joy of Homebrewing gives you all the necessary know-how to become your own master brewer.

Get Started Crocheting

A book for visual learners on getting started with crocheting.

Crocheting is popular with yarn crafters. Most people know an aunt, grandma or friend who is skilled with a crochet hook and maybe you have even received a lesson or two on the art of crochet but it can be easy to forget the basic stitch, how to get started, or worse, how to start that second row. “Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crochet” is a great guide for visual learners who want to learn how to crochet.

The book is complete with multiple patterns as well as the basics for just getting started. Each pattern is laid in a minimalistic two page instruction approach which makes the process not too overwhelming. The color pictures, diagrams and tips make the book easy to read and crocheting relatively easy as well. Unfortunately the book doesn’t have pictures for every single movement, but it does a pretty good job of being comprehensive.

Stained Glass Books

Something about Christmas makes me think of stained glass, and how much I would to learn this wonderful art.  From beautiful, light-filled windows in a church to simple ornaments to hang from a tree, stained glass is beautiful, unique and something to be treasured.  If you are considering making your own stained glass creations, try the following books to get you started and give you many project ideas.

Weaving

Weaving isn’t one of the most popular crafts, but a fun skill to learn nonetheless

For everything on weaving, there is no book better than “The Big Book of Weaving: Handweaving in the Swedish Tradition: Techniques, Patterns, Designs and Materials.” Whether you are brand new to weaving or have mastered a few patterns, you are bound to find plenty of interesting information and new knowledge inside this large reference book.

This book is filled with tons of information. If you want to learn a particular weave, there is a good chance this book will show you how. Alternatively, if you just want to glean information about weaving, this book is great for that as well. The techniques are all detailed in typed word as well as diagrams, pictures and more. Many readers also like the fun and unique Swedish patterns which are hard to find in other weaving reference books.

What I particularly liked about the book is how it walks the reader through choosing a loom. I have never weaved before in my life and know very little about the craft but I felt like this book gave very practical and easy to follow instructions on how to get set up and started. Each pattern was laid out in a very comprehensive manner in a way that made weaving as a hobby very approachable.

A Collection of Crochet Books

"If you want to get started, expand your skills or learn new techniques, these books will help you do more with your crochet projects."

Crochet is such a versatile and beautiful fiber art.  I always wish I had learned to crochet instead of knitting, but now I think I am stuck as a knitter.  Knitting is great too, but I want to make beautiful doilies in 10 minutes!  The following crochet books will help you conquer your quest for a new skill while learning some very useful crochet techniques.

Around the Corner Crochet Borders
Perhaps one of the neatest things about crocheting is making those gorgeous borders.  Around the Corner Crochet Borders will teach you how to make 150 edge designs.  Instructions are in full color with graphs and lots of details to help even novice crocheters add borders to their fiber projects.

Bring your Cat into your Crafting

Prepare yourself. This is a book review of the book “Crafting with Cat Hair”.

I have to admit, I did a complete double take when I came across this book in the library. “Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat” is the title and the author is Kaori Tsutaya and Amy Hirschman. Hirschman is a crafting author who I have written about before and is quite the crafter. So this could go both ways. One, the crafts are down with a car by your side or two, you craft using cat hair. This book didn’t disappoint, it is in fact about creating projects which can be completed with one of the many hair clumps swept into the corner from your cat.

I imagine if you purchase or receive this book, it will be through some kind of gag gift situation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good ideas inside. Anyone who has cats will immediately understand that cat hair is definitely one crafting supply they have readily available and at the right price as well! You probably have never compared your kitty’s fuzz to a lamb’s wool, but when you get right down to it, what is the difference?

The book teaches you to make things like felt sheets, puppets, tote bags, mittens and gloves. I admit I haven’t tried any, mostly because it is fall now and instead of battling cat hair I am cleaning up after muddy paws, but when spring comes around you never know what I might craft and create. The reviews of the book on Amazon seem to elude that the projects do in fact turn out. So if you are looking for the gift you know your cat loving friend hasn’t received or if you just want your cat to be a little more useful for something besides soaking up sun beams, pick up a copy of “Crafting with Cat Hair”.

Hate Shopping? Make Your Christmas Gifts Instead

It is that time of the year again, and our ears will soon be filled with the never ending cacophony of Christmas music and toy commercials.  If you find yourself less than enthusiastic about heading out to go Christmas shopping in a packed store full of plastic goodies, consider making this a crafty Christmas and make most of your gifts at home this year.

Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen
Featuring delicious recipes such as ginger-molasses cookies, lemon-spice olives and candied grapefruit peel, Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen gives you great tips, recipes and ideas for making your Christmas gifts at home.  It also has ideas to creatively package those gifts for an extra special touch.