Reviewing a Crafty Book

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I live in the craft section of my library. It seems a shame to leave the books on the shelf and so I feel compelled to take them on regular outings. We walk together, take the train together and dream together. Consequently, I thought it was only fair to share what I have been reading. The last few weeks have seen some book reviews featured here at Seven-Stitches and I was wondering what you think.

(Random stack of books - not a crafty one to be seen her, but wasn't sure if I could post without a photo)

It takes a lot to convince me to buy a book, especially when I can readily get it from the library. If I need to get a book out of the library for a second time, it is certainly time to consider buying it. I like to think of this as the library test. Making the decision not to buy a book is not meant to be read as a harsh criticism, more a matter of me choosing to save my pennies for something else.

I understand that liking, choosing and buying a book is different for everybody. I have been in the habit of taking my haul of books along to my sewing group. I like being able to see what other people are reading and to be introduced to new books I wouldn’t normally have considered. It’s intriguing to see the differences in people’s tastes. Together we poured over “Dare To Be Square”*. While I loved the quilts, I decided that the heavy reliance on design walls was not for me. At the same time, two of my friends decided, right there and then, that it was just the book for them.

I’d love to know what you think about craft books
What attracts you to a book?
What makes a good book? (this might be different from what attracts you)
What do you want to know about a book in a review?
What is it you look for in a craft book?
What books do you love?
What is the last crafty book that you found inspiring?

*Watch for the review of this one in the coming weeks

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  1. I use the Library Test too! We're lucky here in ChCh to have a fantastically well-stocked and up-to-date craft section and the staff are also open to crafty suggestions.

    I used to rely on blog reviews to decide which books to buy but I've been burnt a few times recently after reading rave reviews which didn't match the very ordinary books arriving in my mail box. Sometimes bloggers are just too darn nice ;-)

    There are two kinds of books I'm in the market for. For myself, I'm attracted to books which have a good range of original projects. I don't want to be spending money on books which contain a whole lot of things readily available on the net. I bought both Anna Maria Horner books last year but when they arrived, they just weren't 'me'. The projects were great, maybe it was just the styling or the fabrics she used? I donated them to the library so I can still borrow them if need be! The book I love most is Stitched In Time by Alicia Paulson, I love the colours and fabrics she uses and I've made some lovely gifts from that book. I've actually also gotten good mileage out of Handmade Home by Amanda Soule.

    I'm also on the look out for good books my 11 and 12 year olds can use independently at school. They don't want babyish stuff, they're quite savvy and fairly competent. There are not many books to fit that bill but Sew With Sara is one.

    The last crafty book I found inspiring was actually One-Metre Wonders, I didn't expect it to but it has a huge lot of projects and many of them are quite cool!

    Looking forward to your reviews, it will be great to be able to get some local opinions.

  2. I used to be into craft big time but now that I am doing so much dress making I very rarely have time to explore that medium.

    I only get out craft books from the library, I never buy them - at the moment I've got one out on refashioning which I'm enjoying very much.

    I like projects that are original - if someone just flogs the same stuff thats out there everywhere ( craft cliches like bunting flags in patch work fabrics, a tote in Amy Butler fabrics, table mats and trivets etc ) I wouldn't bother checking it out.

    I'm usually looking for ideas not things to copy slavishly - I'm looking for something to set me off on my own journey.

    I enjoy your reviews very much - I see one of your reviewees even popped in to say hello! How funny but then if I had written a book I'd probably be goodling my name too.

  3. Yes, like the above two, I use the library as the method for the first cull, because there are many books that look beautiful on other people's blogs but that lack any depth on close inspection, and I don't like books that rely on slavishly following their style or methods, or those that rehash the zippered purse or the trivet. I like a varied set of ideas and some useful diagrams for getting a really nice finish. I'd rather read a book full of great ideas than one full of beautiful images of things I can't get or I can't make.

  4. I use the library test too. I bought a few too many duds that looked so promising. I never really know what about a book will make it a keeper. I like looking on ravelry to see how many 'I WILL make that' patterns are on a knitting/crochet book.
    I have more last-minute knitted gifts out at the moment and that's very likely going to be a 'to buy' book.


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