Thursday 13: A Writer In Her Library, Chapter Six

I have done a few posts about my favorite books in the past, Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, and Five. I’ve purged my library twice in the past, and cut too close to the bone. I’ve gotten rid of things I’ve later regretted. Now, if I keep a book and it goes into my library, I don’t get rid of it. I cherish it. I made special bookplates that can be printed on Avery labels, since buying bookplates would get way too expensive. I also started keeping an index.

The index has helped me identify which books and topics I like, as well as publishers I might like to target. I keep my list in Excel because it’s easy to sort and search, and in this way I can track my purchases and collection.

Today I share 13 more of my favorite craft books for you, along with pictures of their covers. These books inspire me and I turn to them again and again, to look at the pictures and read the patterns. Awesome!

Without further delay, then, let us wander the shelves.

1. Wildspur, by Louisa Harding, Steffprint, England, 2008.

I seriously love this catalog of patterns. Click on the picture and it will take you to Ms. Harding’s U.S. distributor, and they have a list of all the patterns – complete with pictures. I love Laidlaw and want to make it one of these days.

2. Decorative Knitting, by Kate Haxell and Luise Roberts, Trafalgar Square Publishing, North Pomfret, VA, 2005.

There are different covers for this, depending on your geographic location, but this is the version I have in my library and is the one she says on her website is for the U.S. version.

The book is filled with different decorative ideas, from patterns and laces to beading and other embellishments.  If you like to play with your knitting, this book is for you.

3. Hoverson, Joelle, Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, Stewart Tabori and Chang, New York, 2004.

I love, love, love this book. I’ve made a bunch of things out of here, and what I love about it is the philosophy. It restores control to the hands of the knitter as we think about what projects we’d like to make for our friends and family.

Seriously, check out the stuffed animals. LOFF!

Bonus: She’s got a great collection of patterns available on her Ravelry page, here.

4. Knitting Mochimochi: 20 Super-Cute Strange Designs for Knitted Amigurumi, by Anna Hrachovec; Watson-Guptill Publications; Crown Publishing Group; Division of Random House, Inc.; New York; 2010.

OMG. Srsly. OMG! Mochimochi Land is the online home of author and designer, Anna Hrachovec. Her patterns are adorable! Her book breaks down exactly how to make these little knitted designs, similar to the Japanese hobby of amigurumi, which typically are crochet.

I totally want to make the alligators in this book. I also love the moose. It’s awesome. Complete with little birdies. LOFF!

5. Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit; Interweave Press; Loveland, CO; 2001.

This one is a lot of fun. Not only does it give patterns, but also generic stocking patterns for different yarn gauges. If you are curious about making holiday stockings, this book is for you. Lots and lots of design options and good instruction for taking the design process beyond the patterns provided.

6. 25 Bags to Knit: Beautiful Bags in Stylish Colors, by Emma King; Trafalgar Square Publishing, North Pomfret, VA; 2004.

I’ve had this one for a while; I think I bought it in the year it came out. I have a friend in Alabama who LOVES handbags, and this book makes me think of her.

The patterns are simple and easy to understand, and have front AND back pictures of the designs – which is helpful for someone learning to knit. This is a great book for beginners.

7. Knitters (Magazine); Jackets for Work and Play; XRX Books; Sioux Falls, SD; 2006

I love the designs in this book, including a Chanel-style jacket. The designs have an English flavor in the tight, clean lines, and they’re good for work and other similar occasions. I’m looking forward to making some of these, and routinely bring the book to the bathtub to wander through the patterns.

8. Weekend Afghans, by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss; Sterling Publishing Company; New York; 1987


9. 7-Day Afghans, by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss; Sterling Publishing Company; New York; 2004

Authors Leinhauser and Weiss share designs and writing processes, as well as their website.  I have made one of the afghans in the 7-Day Afghans book many times, varying the colors, as it’s a simple but pretty design and perfect for baby showers and other similar gifts.  I like Weekend Afghans, even though it’s older, because it gives interesting designs and colors.

10. Men in Knits: Sweaters to Knit that He Will Wear; Tara Jon Manning; Interweave Press; Loveland, CO; 2003.

The thing I like about this book is that it teaches you the philosophy of knitting. I’ve discussed the ideas in it with male friends and, later, my husband. They confirm the central philosophy in the book, which includes things like include your recipient in the design and don’t just hand him a fait accompli.

The designs live up to the reputation of Interweave Knits, known for publishing high-quality, well-written designs. I found Ms. Manning’s approach easy to follow, her designs well-conceived, and the patterns inventive. Highly recommended if you have men in your knitting universe.

11. Saturday Sweaters: Easy to Knit, Easy to Wear; Marquart, Doreen L.; Martingale & Company, Woodinville, WA; 2005

I got to meet Ms. Marquart at her shop, Needles ‘n Pins Yarn Shoppe in rural Delavan, WI. Her shop is beautiful and has many different yarns and books to look through. I selected a new book and got the yarn to make one of the sweaters, and the clerk asked me if I’d like to have the book signed. I’m grateful to her friendliness to a new-at-the-time knitter and wish her every success. Her book of Saturday Sweaters will have you knitting sweaters in no time.

She has a neat page on Ravelry, too, where she shares her designs.

12. Knitting Lingerie Style, by Joan McGowan-Michael; Stewart Tabori and Chang; New York, 2007.

Ms. McGowan-Michael is one of my favorite designers out there. She has amazing, beautiful stuff. Her website (possibly not NSFW; no outright nudity but lingerie) is a treat of scrumptious designs.

Her book on lingerie breaks down a mystifying subject and explains how garments are constructed, from simple to complex pieces. She’s even got a knitted garter belt. Lovely!

13. Unexpected Knitting, by Debbie New; Schoolhouse Press; Pittsville, WI; 2003.

This is an incredible and unusual book, truly worthy of the title “Unexpected.” I can’t even do it justice by describing it, other than to say it’s worth checking out. I mean, knitted china pattern teacups and saucers? Awesome. Well worth a look.

There’s an interesting website created by Philosopher’s Wool. It has a very nice summary of her work, and the site has a lot of personality.

14 Replies to “Thursday 13: A Writer In Her Library, Chapter Six”

  1. I agree, Alice! Crafts books, no matter the year, are an inspiration. Sometimes, I find the old ones are surprisingly “hip.” I admit, though, I love the big glossy pictures in the newer ones too.

    Aww, heck. I love them all!

  2. Hi, Adelle! I’m the same way about seamstresses. I am not quite all thumbs, thanks to a bunch of sewing classes, but for some reason I’m intimidated by the sewing machine. My goal this fall is to get over that and sew a skirt to wear. We’ll see.

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