I don’t pick up as many craft books as I used to, but recently these two have joined my craft book library, and I’ve been quite enjoying both of them.
You’d expect me to talk about a quilting book first, right? Wrong! Winter typically finds me wanting to knit something, and this year was no exception. As soon as I saw Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook’s newest book, Journey, I knew I had to buy a copy.
Interestingly enough, while I love most all of the knitting projects included in the book, I knew even before buying it that it was likely that I was only going to knit one project from the book – the Swift hat. I write that only to say that even though the patterns can be purchased individually, I love having the book – for the beautiful photographs, and for making me feel like someday I may actually have the skills to knit myself a sweater (and if that day ever comes, I’ll be ready!).
I quickly ordered myself some circular needles and got to work on the Swift hat. I had some gorgeous Plucky yarn I had managed to snag years back, and even though that probably wasn’t the recommended yarn (I’m never one for following directions!), I knew I had to try to make it work. I think the hat was meant to be slouchier, but my yarn didn’t lend to a slouchy look, so I only did three repeats of the pattern rather than four, and I must say it worked out quite well!
I’m absolutely in love with this hat, and if it’s possible, it’s made this bitter cold winter a little more bearable. On occasion I even wear it indoors. (You know, like when I sit with my son and pretend not to be posing for photos!)
I’m already planning a second hat. (I’m a little spoiled by that Plucky cashmere though, so perhaps I have to try to snag myself a bit more of that first!). I think I may even attempt those Spate fingerless mitts, and maybe someday I’ll be up to making an Antrorse sweater (Check out Shannon’s on her blog today)! Until then, I’ll just be admiring the beautiful photos in this lovely book.
This new book, Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community, by Rachel May arrived a couple weeks ago, and wow! Rachel did such a wonderful job putting together a beautiful book jam packed with wonderful examples of modern quilts, interesting interviews with more than 70 artists, tips and techniques, and patterns. I’ve been having a great time reading a page or two every time I have a chance (usually while feeding Hazel!). I only allow myself a couple pages at a time, because it’s the kind of book I’ll be sad to finish.
I had about 4 seconds to take these photos yesterday, but honestly, it doesn’t matter what page you flip to – they’re all pretty great, and I’m quite certain I’ll read/see/learn something interesting on each page.
Like this page about Yoshiko Jinzenji. I’ve loved her work for a long time, and in fact, have been hoarding a stack of her early fabrics.
Or this page, about a new-to-me artist, Valerie Maser-Flanagan. I’m drawn to her City Walk #2 quilt and loved reading what she wrote about having to be flexible as you’re working. This is something I think about often – there are a few improv quilts I’ve made that have ended up being quite true to my original idea or sketch, but many others that have completely evolved as I’ve worked.
I was so honored that Rachel included me in this book. I had a great time chatting with her (despite being nervous about it!), and since she’s not too far away in Boston, I hope someday to meet her in person. I kind of wish this quote wasn’t the one pulled out and highlighted, because out of context I feel like it makes me sound a bit like I just don’t care, which is certainly not the case! If I recall, we talked a bit about blogging – at the time, back in 2012, blogging hadn’t really fallen off as much as it seems to have lately and she was asking about the pressures of writing when you know you have an audience. What I was trying to say, not so very eloquently, was that I try not to let that pressure what I create. I think you can go crazy trying to predict what readers want to see and what you should make. I’ve always done best just making those things that excite me and make me happy, and I always hope that my love for what I’m making shows through and makes someone else excited to create something.
But I digress.
It’s really a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it!
(this copy was sent to me by Storey Publishing, since I was included in the book. All opinions are my own!)
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