review: Knitting Ephemera

Knitting Ephemera

Knitting Ephemera: a compendium of articles, useful and otherwise, for the edification and amusement of the handknitter by Carol J. Sulcoski

Knitters will likely recognize Sulcoski’s name from her many books and articles, hand-dyed yarns, and speaking and teaching engagements. This is one of those cute little books that makes a great gift and can be enjoyed by dipping in here and there to read one or more of the short entries. These entries are provided in no stated order and include a biography of the patron saint of knitting (oops! there isn’t one, but a few possibilities are detailed), knitting-related world records, a list of knitting acronyms, definitions of yarn color effects terms, facts about knitwear through the ages, and many more. This would be a lovely book for a coffee table, waiting room, or other spot where someone is likely to pick it up for a few minutes and enjoy the facts they happen upon.

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

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review: Japanese Paper Embroidery

Japanese Paper Embroidery

Japanese Paper Embroidery by Atsumi, Minako Chiba & Mari Kamio

This book offers ideas and inspiration for embroidery on paper (and cardstock, etc) in the form of cards, ornaments, folders, notebooks, frame-able art, and more. The first half of the book consists of color photographs showing the many projects and the second half, the motifs. The motif templates include some basic stitch instruction (the Olympus 25 embroidery thread color number, the number of threads, and type of stitch used) along with (if applicable) instructions for assembling the item. The feel of the whole book is sweet and will be familiar to fans of Japanese culture. The designs include abstract designs as well as letters and numbers, creatures and items from nature, and an assortment of other types of cute things.

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

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review: The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary: 150 new stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth & in the round by Wendy Bernard

If you use stitch dictionaries like I do – for inspiration and ideas while designing knitting patterns – you’ll appreciate the variety of approaches covered here. Stitch patterns are written for knitting flat as well as in the round, so you don’t have to engineer the latter yourself. For those patterns in which it makes a difference, patterns are also written for top-down and bottom-up (so, for example, you’d have bottom-up flat, bottom-up in the round, top-down flat, and top-down in the round, all for the same stitch pattern). This is amazingly handy and will save me a ton of time for sure. The stitch patterns start from the very basic (garter stitch and stockinette stitch) and move on to dozens of others. Basic item patterns are also included, such as basic top-town and bottom-up socks and basic top-down in the round cap and basic bottom-up in the round cap. I’ll definitely be buying this one!

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

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review: HomeMade Modern

HomeMade Modern

HomeMade Modern: Smart DIY Designs for a Stylish Home by Ben Uyeda

The idea behind this book is that anyone can have beautiful, stylish things in their home without spending a lot of money. Uyeda encourages the reader to make things from other things they already own, in fact, further reducing the amount of purchases required and amping up the sustainability at the same time. A guide is provided for collecting raw materials and making purchases when necessary. Thirty projects are detailed for most rooms in a home: living room, dining room, kitchen, home office, and bedroom, as well as the outdoors. Most projects are in the $50-150 range, assuming you already have the required tools on hand. Some of the projects exceed $200, though, and may make the reader question whether it’s worth it to DIY. All of the items featured showcase the bare wood/metal/concrete aesthetic that seems at home in an urban loft. You can also use a ToolsMaestro pressure washer and spray the outside of your home to clean it up and make it look better.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kalamazoo Public Library through the awesome MeLCat ILL system

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