Looking for a one-stop reference book for knitting? This is it. Bliss brings her legendary expertise and covers pretty much all the things you could think of in an informational knitting book. She includes yarn, needles, the basics of how to knit, understanding the terminology and techniques used in knitting, variations of knitting texture, finishing techniques, knitting design, and entire chapters devoted to color, embellishments, shaping, and knitting in the round. Illustrated throughout with color photographs and hand-drawn diagrams (some of the clearest/easiest-to-parse I’ve seen), this book is beautiful and useful, and is definitely one I’ll be adding to my own personal library.
If you don’t have your very own Molly Weasley to send you one at xmas, use this pattern to make one for Blythe! Blythe’s initial B is front and center and you can make it in your own Hogwarts House Colors or whatever colors you like!
This book focuses on projects, providing instructions for making a finished object (or embellishing an existing piece of clothing) that includes embroidery or needlework, but the motifs could easily be used in other contexts as well. Needlework designs are charted in color and black outline sketches are provided for embroidery designs. The designs here are cute but not super stylized – if you looked at the projects all collected together, it would not necessarily be apparent that they were all designed by one person. This could be seen as a negative (the collection lacks cohesion) but could also be viewed as a positive in that you could create all of the items and not have it be obvious that you got every one of them from the same source.
Vertical Gardening: Grow up, now out, for more vegetables and flowers in much less space by Derek Fell
Using less space is not really a huge concern for me right now as I try to fill up our yard of lawns with gardens. We’ve got plenty of room! But I do want to include height for interest and to create different garden spaces (or rooms, as seems to be today’s preferred nomenclature), so I’m interested in vertical. Chapters outline types of plants including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental annual and perennial vines, as well as covering types of vertical supports and some gardening basics like seed starting and composting. This book is heavy on information and light on visual inspiration, as it is sadly another book with monotone photos throughout and only a few color pages.
Color Squared: Color, Dot, Dash, or Stamp Your Way to Pixel Art by Lee Meredith
Coloring books for grown-ups are super popular these days. This is a take on those, but each image is a grid with a number or letter in each square. You fill those squares in using your tool of choice and, gradually, a pixelated image will appear. Instructions are included for using different ways of filling in the squares, such as drawing circles, lines, or dots. A basic monotone image is included for each coloring page, showing what it would look like if you filled each square fully using greyscale.
Mahon is a designer and teacher who teaches throughout the US and has created patterns for McCall’s. Here she outlines the processes of designing, sketching, and patternmaking (flat pattern, draping, drafting, and computer-generated). She also devotes a chapter to designing for “the real body” which includes details about taking measurements and modifying commercial patterns. This is an overarching book that contains a lot of information garment sewists will want to know. It is not a source for patterns themselves, but hopefully the reader will be able to construct their own or alter commercially available patterns after reading.
Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher
This title really appealed to me. I am for sure all about designing our garden to support the environment and am always keen to learn more about how to do that. Lucky for me, the ways that Weaner and Christopher recommend doing this fall right in line with my lazy gardening philosophy. There’s lots of surface-sowing, use of native plants, creating/encouraging plant communities, and minimal need for watering and weeding. The focus is on working with what nature wants to do, rather than fighting it. In everything here, the goal is for self-sufficiency, which makes for stronger plants and for reduced workload for the humans. There are also lots of large color photographs, both wide shots and close-ups, which provide inspiration and ideas for things I might do in my own garden. Many of the gardens featured here are expansive prairies and meadows but smaller gardens are also included. Seed lists and resources are provided.
As much as I love not spending time dealing with snow during the warmer months in Michigan, sometimes I do love thinking about cold snowy days when it’s 80F+ and it’s too humid to feel cozy. That inspired this Big Love Sweater for Blythe, which has a cozy ribbed turtleneck and is slightly oversized for getting that snug as a bug in a rug feeling.