Book Review – Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson is the perfect book for this pre-Christmas gifting season. I know this book has been around for a few years now but I only recently added it to my library and I'm so glad that I did. The book features 31 patterns of varying degree of difficulty and for any recipient on your list.

Even if you're not familiar with the book you probably are familiar with Hoverson's inspirational craft website The Purl Bee. The first few chapters provide basic information for choosing colors, yarns and tools as well as some tips on fitting and finishing. This book will not teach you how to knit and there are plenty of other books that will fit that bill.

I love that the projects are divided into chapters by how long it takes to complete the project. Obviously 
completely essential if you're knitting last-minute. There are even 5 projects that take less than 2 hours! Woohoo! I really want to make the sweater and stocking minis from that chapter (here on Ravelry).  

Under 2 to 4 hour gifts, you'll find, knitted accessories for children and adults. My favorite in that chapter has to be the Hand/Wrist Warmers (here on Ravelry). I could really use those when typing in the early morning cold. 

Under 6 to 8 hour gifts, are some Lovable Toys (here on Ravelry) that I think my niece would love. There's also a pretty Pashmina Cowl (here on Ravelry) that would be a great gift for anyone.

The more than 8 hour gifts are mostly adult sized sweaters in simple classic shapes. The book closes out with some tips on wrapping your hand made knits and a glossary of special knitting techniques. Overall this is a great book and I look forward to knitting many of the projects.

In My Library - Quilting Books

Over the years I've collected a few quilting books for my library. I find books so inspirational to look through as well as being where I most often brush up on techniques and how-tos. My collection of quilt books is much smaller than my sewing or knitting books. I see it as the beginning of a collection. Do you have favorite quilting books? Anything that you'd like to own?

1. Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki  See my review here. I'd love to check out her other book Natural Patchwork.

2. Quilts by Denyse Schmidt I have loved Denyse Schmidt's design style for years. The first time I saw her quilts I was immediately mesmerized. If pinterest was around then, I definitely would have pinned like crazy. This book does not disappoint. It has a variety of projects from simple coasters (see mine here) to full size quilts.

3. Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts! by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes This is the "text" book from the beginning quilting class I took. I used the book a lot while taking the class and it does a great job of showing how to make classic quilt block designs and basic techniques.

4. The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide by Ellen Pahl This book is a helpful reference guide. It's organized alphabetically which is a fun device yet I felt like it would be a little more helpful if the techniques were in order of use and how they related to each other.

5. Scrap Quilts Fast and Fun by Patricia Wilens This book has basic instructions for some classic quilts and basic techniques with helpful photos.

6. Ghost Layers & Color Washes by Katie Pasquini Masopust This book shows the author's technique of   layering fabrics to create interesting art style quilts.

7. 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone This book is full of basic quilt block drawings. It doesn't show how they look put together in a quilt but is pretty comprehensive.

8. Quilts from Happy Hands by Sandra L. Wright I found this book in a thrift store. The first part of the book has color photos of finished quilts and the rest of the book has detailed illustrations for how to make the designs. There's definitely a strong 80s vibe to this book but choosing more current fabrics would easily update the designs.

Book Review – Mastering the Art of Beading

Mastering the Art of Beading by Genevieve A. Sterbenz is a huge reference book on all things related to jewelry making. I've had the book for a few weeks now and its a great reference guide. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about beading and jewelry making.

The first section of the book details all the different beads, findings and tools that one might use. Each item, its uses and characteristics are explained in detail. The jewelry aisle at the craft store can be so overwhelming and the packaging doesn't explain how or where to use anything. This book demystifies all those beads and findings and tells you about everything you've never even seen before.

The second section of the book is projects for necklaces, bracelets, rings and more. I don't know if I'll use any of the designs exactly but it's useful to see instructions for a project from beginning to end.

The final section of the book features jewelry making techniques. This is the section that I'll be returning to over and over again. This book has so much useful information that really the only downside is that it is so large that it's a little unwieldy.