I'll get to that in a minute...or two.
First, our two randomly selected giveaway winners are Monika and Christina. Yay! I've already sent both of you an email with the PDF of the pattern attached, so enjoy and congratulations!
Next, the obligatory picture. This has nothing to do with this post and, truth be told, I could have shot some related photos because both the books I'm going to review I also own. But, my camera battery is charging and my dog ate my homework, so I'm posting something completely different.
Here it is:
I guess it's not that far afield. Both the books I'm discussing are craft/fiber books and that's a picture of some fabric, also a fiber, so I guess I'm still on topic.
Now, I'm really going to digress, I think...possibly.
I might have mentioned before that when I sew or dye or knit I like to listen to the radio. But, I don't like to listen to music, I prefer talk. I'm very picky about the talk that I hear, so I listen to NPR. I prefer to limit my name calling to when I'm driving my car, so I'm not interested in standard talk radio. This is all well and good when my local NPR station, KUT, is playing All Things Considered or Morning Edition or Fresh Air, but the majority of the programming is music. I thought I had solved that problem by purchasing an HD radio. By the way, apparently HD doesn't stand for High Definition. It doesn't stand for anything. Anyway, on my HD radio I could listen to the HD NPR station which was devoted to all sorts of talk programs around the world. I happily listened to Talk of the Nation and enjoyed the lilt of Neal Conan's voice as he said, "Bye-bye," to callers. I heard what can only be labeled as British Tabloid News on the radio when I listened to BBC's World Have Your Say and marveled at how many folks from the small nation of Ghana seem interested in calling into this show. And I discovered what can only be termed as Slow Radio when I listened to Diane Rheem S.L.O.W.L.Y. interview all types of movers and shakers. With my HD radio in my studio, I was a happy and productive camper.
Sadly, after less than a year, it broke. I was at a loss. I know I can live stream these programs from my computer, but that meant bringing it upstairs and making sure it was plugged in and, frankly, the live stream included a fair number of music programs. I was pretty despondent until I my youngest gifted me with an ipod and I downloaded an audio book. Not, just any audio book, but Steig Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I love, love, love this book. What a wonderful, suspenseful story with an incredible twist at the end. Over the course of one week and while doing an amazing amount of work, I listened to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. Even better, I've listened to all three books again.
Now, in the course of my exhaustive research into the benefits of crafting while listening to audio books, I've also listened to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I can't rave as much about that one, despite the fact that the book runs at least 35 hours, quite the bang for your buck. I particularly wanted to like it because it's part of a series and I figured if I enjoyed Outlander I was set for audio book entertainment for a while. I found the book to be pretty much a soap opera set in 18th century Scotland with, albeit, some AMAZING sex scenes written in. But, my studio is accessible to my kids and I had a little trouble explaining the blushing.
Right now I'm listening to Colim Tiobin's novel Brooklyn. I'll let you know what I think when I've finished.
What I'm prepared to review right now(see, I segwayed back) are two newly released craft books, New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa La Barre and Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause by Jade Sims. I'll be succinct because I've gone on for a while here, but both books are worth your time and attention.
New England Knits features the knitwear designs of two of my absolute favorite designers. As I'm typing, I'm wearing one of Cecily Glowik MacDonald's designs for Quince and Co. Yarn and I've made two of Melissa La Barre's Designs, the Tea Leaves cardigan and two versions of the Tea Leaf tee. My admiration goes back a bit and I was not disappointed with this book. The designs are not only wearable but doable, that is I can see myself sitting down and, with ipod headphones firmly planted in my ears, knitting these patterns.
I had a different but nonetheless powerful reaction to Jade Sim's book Craft Hope. I was deeply touched by it. She does such a wonderful job of communicating the value and joy inherent in combining a love of making with a passion for helping others. There's such an array of projects and each one is paired with a charity that want, needs, the work of our hands. I don't know that I can pinpoint exactly how Jade inspires the reader to get involved through crafting, but that message is palpable. More importantly, it's not said in a finger-wagging sort-of-way, but with kindness and sweetness. I think you should get this book, pick a project, make it, and donate it. I can't see how you would ever regret it.
Also, if you do make these projects, whether from New England Knits or Craft Hope and simultaneously listen to a great book, pass that recommendation on to me. I'm definitely in the market for my next, good listen.