Live Lagom

Live Lagom

Live Lagom: Balanced living, the Swedish way by Anna Brones

Does the word hygge ring a bell for you? If so, lagom will sound familiar. While hygge is focused on coziness, lagom is more about balance, living with the ‘just right’ between extremes. It is both a personal thing and a social understanding: it’s good for the individual and for society. This is, to be sure, an oversimplification of a complex concept, but for the purposes of this review, you get the gist. This book hopes to convey the concept of lagom as an alternative to the ‘go big or go home’ attitude that pervades so much of western (especially American) culture. How much better would the world/environment/society/our health be if we weren’t so focused on being the biggest and best? This book lays out the concept and then addresses it in the specific contexts of work, home, health, and the environment in the form of things to think about, DIY projects, recipes, and more.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books


Hive Mind

Hive Hat

I often wear my hair up in a bun or loose pony, and I wanted to have a hat that would fit over that, so I wrote this pattern. It’s designed with a slouchy fit, so you have plenty of room for your head to feel comfy regardless of your hair situation.

Head over to Etsy, Ravelry, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy to pick up the Hive Hat.


review: The T-shirt Quilt Book

The T-shirt Quilt Book

The T-shirt Quilt Book: Create one-of-a-kind keepsakes, make 8 projects or design your own by Lindsay Conner and Carla Hegeman Crim

Most of us have a bunch of old t-shirts kicking around, many of which we probably don’t wear anymore but we don’t want to let go of because of their sentimental value. This book starts with the techniques you’ll need to master in order to sew your own t-shirt quilt and offers 8 projects you could make with your own tees. Most of the techniques will be familiar to those who have sewn a quilt before, though some may be new if you haven’t worked much with knit fabric before. For instance, the use of interfacing is critical to making t-shirt fabric cooperate in a medium where exact measurements matter. There are many more options here than just the ‘bunch of squares sewn together’ look that you’ve probably seen – not that there’s anything wrong with that design, there are just a lot of other ways to go about it!

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Cadillac Wexford Public Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


Beguiling Bertha for Blythe

Bertha Hat for Blythe

Stripes are awesome, and I think they work really well on Blythe. This hat is a great way to show off some stripes! It’s a generously sized toque, so it will stay on well even if your Blythe has big hair (you know how some hats will sort of try to spring off the top of Blythe’s head? This one won’t do that, even on Ash, my mohair reroot whose locks are boisterous). Add a bobble if you wish, or leave it as a plain cap.

Bag Bertha on Etsy, Ravelry, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy.


review: A New Dimension in Wool Appliqué

A New Dimension in Wool Appliqué

A New Dimension in Wool Appliqué: Baltimore Album Style by Deborah Gale Tirico

On picking this book up, I had never heard of the Baltimore Album style, but apparently this specific type of quilt block was popular during the 1840s in Baltimore. They were created to reflect an image of life at that time, and some reflected (in a somewhat hidden way) not just the day to day of the women who made them, but their political opinions as well. The patterns included here range from table rugs to pillows to sewing notions, and instruction on felting wool, making patterns, and appliquéing with felted wool are provided. These projects have bold color, fine detail, and certainly reflect the skill and time required to create them. Some also include details about the history of the content, such as the symbolism of various fruit used in the cornucopia table rug. Templates are also included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kalamazoo Public Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


Pretty Primrose

Primrose Romper for Blythe

I’ve been wanting to create more garments for Blythe using mohair/silk yarn, and I’ve been wanting to make up a pattern for a romper, so here’s both of those things in one!

This romper features a shaped bodice, cap sleeves, and puffy shorts. It is worked flat and in the round on size 2 (2.75mm) double-pointed needles using one color of lace weight mohair/silk yarn. It is also seamless! It’s knit top down and all in one piece. There is no finishing beyond weaving in the ends. It’s super quick and easy!

Available on Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.


review: The Magic of Children’s Gardens

The Magic of Children's Gardens

The Magic of Children’s Gardens: Inspiring through creative design by Lolly Tai

Who doesn’t love the idea of a whimsical garden that delights all ages? This book showcases 19 children’s and discovery gardens from all over the United States. For each garden, it provides details of the goal, concept, and design the garden’s creators started with, along with a guide to key areas and a list of plants used. Also listed is contact information and some stats such as size. Accompanying all this information are sketches and design images from the conceptual and planning stages of the garden’s creation, as well as color photographs of the garden at present. There’s lots of good inspiration here for most any gardener, even if you’re not planning something on the scale of these large projects.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Lapeer District Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


review: Three Balls of Wool

Three Balls of Wool (Can Change the World) by Henriqueta Cristina, illustrations by Yara Kono, translated by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

This picture book, published in association with Amnesty International, is one of a growing number of titles aimed at bringing political awareness to young children. In this story, a family flees their home country to settle in a place where, unlike in the country they fled, all the children are able to attend school, but they quickly find that the limited options in their new home are also unsatisfying. This unrest is illustrated by the three monotone sweater options available to children: solid green, orange, or grey. The mother, tired of seeing the children looking “like an army” in their matching clothing, unravels three sweaters and uses the wool to knit multicolored versions which soon become a trend. This seemingly inconsequential thing brings joy to everyone and illustrates the point that small actions can spread out and become larger ones. The illustrations are also restricted to a limited color palette (mostly but not completely green, orange, grey, and black) and use knitting symbols and imagery throughout for a very effective and striking look. The last couple pages include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which may spur further questions and discussion.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Enchanted Lion Books


new year! new free pattern!

Murry Headband

Are your ears cold? If you live in my neck of the woods, they probably are. You may even be spending a bunch of time outside shoveling snow and your ears are REALLY cold, but if you put a hat on, your head gets too warm because you’re doing physical labor. Perfect solution: the Murry Headband. It’s warm and cozy for your tender ears, but won’t mess with your hairdo or make you overheat.

Warm up your ears with this freebie at Ravelry, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.


Review: Fliers

Fliers: 20 small posters with big thoughts by Nathaniel Russell

When I first saw the cover of this book, I thought, that looks like that one Art Assignment. Well, it turns out that’s for good reason: that Art Assignment was created by the author of this book! These are fliers (or flyers) that were created to be more art than utility. You might find them funny, thought-provoking, mildly disturbing, or a variety of other possible things. Some are distinctly Night Vale-esque (which I particularly appreciate) but there are lots of themes taking off on the themes of actual fliers. The former punk rocker in me also really loves the DIY look of these. I remember cutting and pasting (by hand) band posters and zines and these have that same feel. All pages are thick cardstock and designed to easily pull out so you can post them or frame them or whatever suits you.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books