Friday, February 27, 2015

Spring Embroidery

Two embroidery books coming soon that I can't wait to get my hands on!

Miniature Needle Painting Embroidery: Vintage Portraits, Florals & Birds by Trish Burr
Sally Milner Publishing, pub. March 3rd 2015
ISBN: 978-1863514705

Small, embroidered "paintings" can have all the detail, form, and beauty of a larger piece, except they're much quicker to stitch! These fresh and appealing designs all capture the pretty, romantic images typical of the Victorian and post-Victorian eras. All the projects—which include traditional portraits, birds, and flowers—have detailed thread diagrams, and easy-to-follow instructions teach the basic stitches.

Secret Garden Embroidery: 15 projects for your stitching pleasure by Sophie Simpson
Pavilion, pub. May 19th 2015        
ISBN: 978-1910231180

Welcome back to the magical world of What Delilah Did! Picking up where Storyland Cross Stitch left off, this enchanting stitchery guide follows Delilah as she comes upon a secret garden right next door and meets its lively and eccentric owner. All the embroidered projects here capture the flora, fauna, and other wonderful curiosities that fill Delilah's newly discovered horticultural haven. Using a range of techniques, you can stitch birds, bees, blooming flowers, and other colorful, nature-inspired items.

Check out these embroidery Mystery fiction series while you wait:

 The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee (An Embroidery Mystery #1), pub 2010

Dire Threads by Janet Bolin (Threadsville Mystery #1), pub. 2011

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Wee Bit O' Quilting

Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke and Amy Lobsiger
Cico, pub 2014
ISBN: 978-1782491378

Leading up to Christmas I decided I was finally going to get around to making some quilted gifts for my family. I had a great pattern for a quilted tea cozy and some ideas for other small quilt projects.

This book was a great way to get me inspired and sewing! The projects are lovely and the step-by-step instructions were easy for a beginner like me to follow. I steer clear of other wonderful quilt books because I find them overwhelming for my limited skills and experience. I love what I see out there, but I have to be realistic.

I have to be honest and tell you that I didn't create anything from this book because I was up to my eyebrows in other projects, but now that Christmas if over I will be revisiting this book for some inspiration. I've got my heart set on some bunting. Who doesn't love bunting!

P.S. Sarah Fielke has some other superb quilting books published for those more skilled than me.

Skill Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Rating: ★★★★

Monday, May 20, 2013

Knitting Balls

55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos
Trafalger Square Books
ISBN: 9781570764875

Easter Knits by Anre & Carlos
Trafalger Square Books
ISBN: 9781570765643

I have to admit that I don't tend to knit balls for any occasion but have been tempted to whip some up for Christmas presents. In an effort to get some knitting done before Christmas this year, I decided to check out Arne & Carlos' book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit. I love the variety of designs and the photography is fantastic. I'm a fairly experienced knitter and I was happy to see patterns that range from fairly simple to quite complex. I also checked out the Easter Knits book and thought it was quite cute, although I don't think I'll be knitting Easter balls as it's not really a holiday that I celebrate. In addition to the balls, there are patterns for little animals in the Easter book that are more appealing to me. Overall, these are really fun and unique books and a must have for Christmas presents that won't take you 6 months to get done (at least if you aren't me, it won't).

Skill Level; Experienced Beginner - Intermediate or Expert
Rating: ★★★★

Friday, August 17, 2012


75 Seashells, Fish, Coral & Colorful Marine Life to Knit and Crochet
St. Martin's Griffin, pub 2012
ISBN: 978-1250003089

Now that I'm living on Vancouver Island I find myself more and more interested in beachy and coastal decor, colours, and textures. Recently I came across this colourful and fun collection of knit and crochet projects that all marine themed. I especially like how projects are grouped together near the beginning of the book into collections for the beach, coral reef, and tide pool. Each pattern indicates the skill level required and has helpful stitch diagrams. The last section provides some projects. Frankly, I can't imagine making and using any of them - they are a little over the top in terms of theme - but the rest of the book is so unique that the few pages of ho-hum projects wouldn't deter me from adding this to my collection.

Skill Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Rating: ★★★★

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lessons from Granny

Granny Square Love by Sarah London
North Light Books, pub 2011
ISBN: 978-1440312946 

Last year I decided I was going to learn how to crochet. As a knitter, I was always confounded by crochet. What are you supposed to do with only one hook? Once I got my mind wrapped around using one hook instead of two needles, I got to work on what else? Granny squares! - which were my motivation to learn to crochet to begin with.

One of my favourite Christmas gifts this year is the book Granny Square Love. So colourful and inspiring! The projects range from quick and easy to more elaborate and quirky. I just finished a giant granny square blanket which isn't a pattern in this book but was most definitely inspired by it and I can't wait to start another granny square project.  I really like how the sections are broken down by rooms (i.e. Living Room, Bedroom, etc.) Many of the patterns I have seen elsewhere (there's only so much you can do with granny squares) but there are a few fantastic fresh ones like the Christmas Stocking and the adorable tea cozy. The headboard cover is a bit odd and I can't imagine what bedroom decor would go with it - but an original and interesting use of the granny square. A fresh take on a classic and a great book for anyone who appreciates the granny square!

Skill Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Rating: ★★★★★

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Straight up Awesome!

Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara
Potter Craft, pub. 2011
ISBN: 978-0307586650 

I had to wait a while for this one to become available at the public library but it was worth the wait. The introductory section of the book outlines all the requisite "how-to" techniques with helpful illustrations. The book is then divided into sections such as "straight up chic fashion", "cozy crafty home", and "quick cute gifts". My personal favourite is the "cozy crafty home" section. The "15 minute shams" are super quick and satisfying to make and I love how deceptively complex the "wonky diamonds" quilt looks. I haven't gone so far as to actually whip up one of these but it is definitely a project on my to-do list. Lots of great projects to choose from, I dare you to open this book and NOT find something you want to get started on!

Check out Brett Bara's website here for more info on the book.

Skill Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Rating: ★★★★★

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Release!

I have to get my hands on this book ASAP! The author, Ellen Luckett Baker, is a craft blogger and her blog The Long Thread is fantastic. I've followed it for some time and was very happy to see she was putting out a book of simple sewing projects. As a beginner sewer I need all the practice I can get!

The blog tour starts today for this fantastic book. Check out more info through the Chronicle Books blog or Ellen's blog.

Book info:
7-1/2 x 9 in; 168 pp ; 35 color photos, b/w how-to illustrations throughout,
semi-concealed Wire-O binding, 12 pattern pages in attached front pocket
Published in May, 2011
ISBN 9780811876490
ISBN10 0811876497