Three Crafting Books

Reading is only one of my many loves. I also enjoy knitting, cooking, and running. I am not superfast at any of those. In fact, when it comes to running, I’m superslow.

I received review copies of three DIY books from the publisher Watson-Guptill, and I’m going to my best to let you know whether or not they will bring crafting goodness into your life.

Super Stitches Knitting

The first is Super Stitches Knitting by Karen Hemingway. It opens with the requisite “Knitting Basics,” covering the basic knitting techniques needed to execute the patterns. I’m not sure that a beginning knitter would really be able to learn from the pictures and descriptions alone, even though are perfectly serviceable. I’ve yet to see a 2-dimensional knitting diagram that can accurately represent the physical actions of knitting. However, they are ideal for a knitter whose skills are rusty.

Sections like this are really perfunctory, though, and those of you who are like me and addicted to stitch libraries will skip right over to the patterns. The book has about 300 different eye-popping patterns for cables and lace and ribs and edgings and eyelet and more. I was especially taken with the textured colorwork patterns, which were gorgeously inventive and made my fingers itch. The photographs are gorgeous and the book itself has a sturdy binding that lets it lie flat without cracking.

In short, Super Stitches Knitting is a GREAT addition to the experienced knitters library.

Downtown DIY Knitting

Downtown DIY Knitting brings urban chic designs to the everyday knitter. The 13 patterns include a Biker Shrug, knee warmers, sequin slipper socks and a miniskirt.

The book is very cutely illustrated with whimsical line drawings. However, they don’t really tell you exactly what the patterns will look like when finished. This might be a problem if you like to modify your patterns–you just can’t get a good idea of what the edges and shaping are really like.

The patterns seem easy enough for an advanced beginner. My one quibble is that the cardigan and the dress didn’t seem to have much shaping to them. At first I thought it might be because author Alice Chadwick felt that short rows might be too intimidating, but another pattern introduces the concept. I’m a curvy girl, and have noticed that the hipster knitting books tend to have boxy patterns that are better suited to the skinny minnies.

Downtown DIY Knitting would be a good gift for a friend who wants to learn to knit, along with some friendly knitting lessons.

Digital Family Album

Digital Family Album: Special Occasions is geared towards scrapbookers who might be intimidated by digital technology. The book balances technical training and creative inspiration, all written in an accessible way that even the most technophobic grandma could understand. The book even offers some more advanced training on Adobe Photoshop Elements for the confident camera buff.

There are so many great ideas in here, though the designs themselves aren’t the most sophisticated or contemporary. I am planning to give this book to my mom for her birthday (hope she isn’t reading!) and think that she will really enjoy all that it has to offer–especially with a her first grandbaby on the way!

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