five books for your spring bookshelf

It’s officially spring, and my reading pace hasn’t slackened one bit. The “to be reviewed” pile is threatening to overtake one of the “to be read” piles, so here are five titles that recently caught my eye. They are each unique and diverse in topic and skill; I’ve decided their trend is colour. I love colour most during late winter and early spring as I wait for the snow to slowly melt. Without further ado, let’s jump in.

Crochet

A Garden of Shawls
by Karen Whooley
Review copy provided by the author. I crocheted a sample for the collection.

It’s delightful to finally be able to talk about this collection of twelve crochet shawls by Karen. Karen’s expertise and professionalism is evident in every page of this title from her new imprint, Occhi Blu Press. The patterns are beautifully photographed, schematics are included, and the stitches are provided in both written and diagram form. I had great enjoyment working up the sample for Trellis. Now I need to decide which design I’ll work up for myself, I have a feeling that in time I’ll work through each of the twelve designs.

Knitting

Coffee with C.C. (and Dami Too) ~ Another 7 Pattern Caffeine Inspired Knitting Collection
by C.C. Almon & Dami Almon
Review copy provided by the author.

When C.C. let it be known she was working on a new collection, once again I almost spilled my coffee in my rush to reply! I very much enjoyed her first title, and this time she is joined by her daughter Dami. Five of the designs are for socks, there’s a brilliant pair of fingerless mitts, and a new wrap to help keep away the chill of your favourite coffee shop. Once again, I love that the sock patterns are written for both toe-up (my personal preference) and cuff-down (many other knitters’ preferred sock knitting technique). While I am not a fan of instant coffee I really like Dami’s Instant Coffee Socks. CC’s 1 Shot, 2 Shots, 3 Shots Fingerless Mitts are brilliant, I am the only person I know able to be holding a hot drink and still sport ice cold hands. The newest 7 designs from the adorable mother/daughter duo of C.C. and Dami Almon is sure to delight.

Mosaic & Lace Knits: 20 Innovative Patterns Combining Slip-Stitch Colorwork and Lace Techniques
by Barbara Benson
Review copy provided by Netgalley/Stackpole Books.

Barbara possesses one of those brilliant, creative, and generous minds that I would love to take out for coffee. She has figured out colourwork lace by building upon Barbara Walker’s Mosaic technique. This melding of brilliant Barbaras has created many new and fascinating possibilities. It has been difficult for me not to tell my schedule to go away and swatch the projects for days on end. Benson takes you through how she created this process, tips for getting started, and things to keep in mind aloncg the way so your mosaic lace projects are successful. The first project is a basic bulky mosaic mitten, without lace, to help you become comfortable with mosaic knitting. From there, the possibilities expand not only to shawls and scarves at various yarn weights, but also hats, a bag, fingerless mitts, and a delightful pillow. Several designs caught and held my eye that I hope some day to find the spare time to work up, including Isochronal Arc, Lacy Pinstripe Cowlette, and Fractured Helix. What will you knit first?

Creativity

I think that combined these two titles could be quite powerful to helping jumpstart your creativity.

Pattern Studio : A Creative Workbook for Sketching Unique Repeats
Kulik, Shayna.
discovered on the shelves at my local public library

I keep thanking the acquisition librarians at my library for adding titles I don’t think I would otherwise ever encounter. Kulik’s book is one of those rare gems. I’m also thankful I found it while it’s new, it was very tempting to start doodling on the enticing blank pages! This title provides 56 worksheets (6 warm-ups and 50 exercises) that will help you to develop the tools in order to create unique patterns of your own. The second portion of the book offers patterns, bios, and quotes from a diverse group of 50 artists to help you see the infinite creative possibilities. The exercise pages include subtle doodles so that you don’t need to fear the blank page. The exercises range from geometric patterns such as from the soles of your sneakers or the zigzag of a staircase, to patterns of buttons or stacks of books. This is a title that will definitely help direct your creativity and take your pattern and texture creation to new places.

Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity with Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking
by Emily K. Neuburger
Review copy provided by Netgalley/Storey Publishing.

I don’t see myself as an art journaler, but I know the value of regular focused practice. I requested a review copy of Journal Sparks with the desire to find ways to improve my doodling and my creative thought process. Neuberger has created a beautiful and thorough book with many different ideas and prompts that will inspire; my notes of the title have many more doodles than I expected. I think this would also be fun to work through with another Storey title, Knit the Sky. The creative possibilities are endless and I have many new ideas to help nudge my creativity when I feel stuck.

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