Browsed by
Category: Book Review

First Time Felting

First Time Felting

Quarto Creates, the book publisher for The Complete Photo Guide to Felting, is taking parts of that book and creating a book for first time felt makers.

The book will be out in the fall of 2019 but you can pre-order it on a variety of online book selling sites such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The emphasis in this book is on needle felting but it does have an introduction to wet felting as well. You can check it out here.

When the book comes out, I will do a give away for all of you lucky readers so look for it in the fall. If you already have my first book, then you will already have all the information that is in this book. But if you are a beginner and would like the basics to start with, this is the book for you!


And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…

It’s time to announce the winners of the two knitting books. Thanks for all of you who commented as I realize that perhaps many of you don’t knit.

The first book Baby & Me Knits goes to:

Baby and Me_Knits_3D

elizabeadan who says that she is a new grandmother so it will be perfect for her!

And the second book Yarn Happy goes to:

Yarn Happy_3D

koffipot who is an experienced knitter so should be able to handle the more complex patterns in this book.

Congratulations to both of you. Please e-mail me your mailing addresses so I can send them to the publisher. E-mail them to laneruthe at gmail

Yarn Happy – Book Review and Giveaway

Yarn Happy – Book Review and Giveaway

Here’s the second book from Seller’s Publishing that we will giveaway to one lucky reader. Yarn Happy is from Norwegian author, Turid Lindeland. We were given the book to review but have no other connection to Seller’s Publishing. Again, since I am not a knitter, my knitting friends, Sally and Paula, helped with the review.

Here’s what the publishers have to say about the book:

Yarn Happy, (978-1-4162-4563-6) offers readers 30 knit and crochet projects that represent the simple and clean design style that Scandinavia is known for. The designs are photographed in the dramatic Northwest region of Norway that inspired them, and include pattern charts and detailed instructions. Projects in the book include modern takes on traditional Norwegian knit designs, including socks, blankets, chair covers, crochet throws, and more. Yarn Happy is designed for both for intermediate and experienced knitters, as well as fans of colorwork. Patterns include both US standard and metric measurements, and alternative yarns are included for each pattern. Turid Lindeland’s inspiration for Yarn Happy came from an old sock she found in a crumbling hotel in Rosendal, Norway. Inspired by that old sock, and the neighboring glaciers called Folgefonna, with their dramatic icy colors and shapes, she has given these classic patterns an updated twist by employing modern color palettes. Some patterns are informed by the cool shades of ice and others by the summertime landscapes with their vibrant colors.

Yarn Happy_3D

From my knitting friends:

Both Sally and Paula agreed that this is not a beginners book and you need familiarity with Norwegian design or similar colorwork. There are no basic directions about Norwegian design, following a chart in general, or a key for the charts. Patterns were not rated for level of difficulty. But the book has absolutely gorgeous photography and if you’re an experienced knitter, it is a great resource for updated Norwegian designs.


Patterns range from a blanket to a small phone case giving the less experienced  knitter a less daunting “first” project. Included in the book is a resource guide for finding comparable yarns that can be found in the US, a yarn weight chart, and a color chart for the Rauma Yarn that is the author’s yarn of choice. There are also crochet patterns included in the book and these are written well and easy to follow.

So if you are looking for a bit more advanced knitting patterns with a clean Scandinavian style, this book is perfect for you. Again, the photography in this book is absolutely gorgeous and it’s a pleasure to look through even for a non-knitter like me.

Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of this wonderful book. The giveaway is open until October 17th. I will be announcing the winners of both of the books on October 18th. Please make sure to have an e-mail attached to your comment. I won’t be able to contact anyone who comments anonymously. Then Sellers Publishing will send the book to you directly anywhere in the world.

Win a New Knitting Book!

Win a New Knitting Book!

We were contacted by Sellers Publishing again to see if we would review a couple of their new books. They generously offered to have a book giveaway without limiting it to a certain area. We have no connection with Sellers Publishing but they have provided a free book for us to review. So if you’d like to win a copy of the book reviewed below, please leave a comment on this post. I would appreciate it if you also shared this post on social media as well.

The first book to review is called Baby & Me Knits by Celeste Young. I will review the second book next week so keep your eyes peeled! Since I am not a knitter, I had a couple of my knitting friends, Sally and Paula, give me some input on the book.

Baby and Me_Knits_3D

Here is what the publisher has to say about the book:

Baby & Me Knits (978-1-4162-4541-4) features 20 hand-knit designs for every season and style. Knitters of all levels will find inspiration in author and new mom Celeste Young’s patterns — simple knit and purl textures that give way to subtle lace, cables, and stranded colorwork, each accompanied by clear instructions and how-to photography. Young’s combination of modern, washable yarns and stitch patterns are sized for newborns through 24 months of age. The blankets, sweaters, and coordinating accessories for baby and mom are perfect for that keepsake knitted gift from a friend or family-member. “The patterns in this book are designed to work individually and in sets, perfect for creating heirlooms for your family or special gifts for an amazing parent and child,” said author Celeste Young. “I have left plenty of room for interpretation in my designs so that you can add your personal flair to them. Choose your own color scheme for the Sweet Berries set, for example, or knit simple or wildly striped socks and fingerless gloves from the Bright Stripe set, or increase your yarn gauge and repeat count on any of the baby blankets to create a full-sized throw. It is my hope that Baby & Me Knits will introduce you to fun, new techniques and empower you to be creative as you make these sweet knitted pieces.”

Baby and Me-1

From my knitting friends:

This book has beautiful photos and appealing patterns and designs. It is primarily for babies 3 to 24 months old with a few coordinating accessories for mom! The difficulty key and needle size information right at the beginning of the book is very helpful and information about interpreting it your own way is great to take the ideas further.

Baby and Me-2

Directions were clearly written and easy to understand. The photos and breakdown of specific techniques and tips was very helpful. Each of the projects had specific technique photos for a certain portion of the project. The book assumes you know the basics of knitting but these additional explanations will certainly help a beginner to progress to more difficult projects. Each of the projects is marked as to how difficult it is. These are fairly simple patterns using cables, stockinette stitch and pattern work. Enlarged charts are a plus! It’s good book for a beginning knitter and new Moms.

Baby and Me-3

There are projects for Mom and Baby and the authors has suggestions for ways to increase the designs to make a standard size throw instead of a baby blanket. All patterns call for Cascade worsted weight yarn but any worsted weight yarn could be used. It would have been helpful to list types of yarn you could use for each project instead of listing a specific yarn. But all in all, we all thought this was a great book. It would be perfect for a knitting mom to be, new moms or grandmothers or even if you knit and want to create a keepsake gift for  a new baby. I took a look at the Amazon listing for this book and it already has four 5 star reviews.

Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of this charming book. The giveaway is open until October 17th. I will be announcing the winners of both of the books on October 18th. Please make sure to have an e-mail attached to your comment. I won’t be able to contact anyone who comments anonymously. Then Sellers Publishing will send the book to you directly anywhere in the world.

Felt So Good, Author Q&A, Review and Give Away

Felt So Good, Author Q&A, Review and Give Away

We were contacted about reviewing this book and doing a give away. I thought our readers would appreciate a chance to win this new book Felt So Good by Tone Rørseth, published by Sellers Publishing, Inc in September. Tone is a well known for her design both in jewelry and accessories as well as being a photo stylist for interior design magazines.

Tone Rorseth
Tone Rørseth

Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

Three types of fiber I can’t live without: I like the very soft merino wool. A contrast to that one is the natural wool coming straight from the sheep. I also use the 3 mm thick Nepal wool.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

Two tools I use all the time: My different felting needles. I use very thin, medium and thick needles for different types of work/art. I also use soap and water for wet felting!

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most? 

Favorite technique: I love the needle technique the most, to me it´s a little similar to painting and drawing.

Felt So Good Cover

Now to Tone’s new book that just came out in September. Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

“Felt So Good is all about wool. A wonderfully versatile material, wool is a simple and satisfying fiber to work with, and that makes these projects very accessible for crafters of all levels.

Norwegian designer Tone Rørseth has put together a delightful collection of projects for clothing, accessories, and items for the home. She guides the reader through the different types of wool felt to buy and shows how to upcycle all of your slightly worn, slightly damaged, or out-of-style wool sweaters into fabulous new items for your wardrobe and your home. Readers learn how to choose, cut, restitch, felt, and embellish old sweater fabric, transforming it into beautiful handbags, mittens, scarves, hats, skirts, jewelry, soft toys, pillows, and more!

Rørseth’s designs are whimsical and fun, and most can be made in an evening or a weekend. She has even included a section dedicated to holiday decorations, such as garlands, tree ornaments, and table decor.”

Felt So Good Acorn Wreath

Felt So Good is 144 page long paperback book that is project based. There is one page about materials and techniques with a paragraph about needle felting, wet felting and “felting” (fulling) wool clothing in the washing machine. This book isn’t going to teach you how to felt but it is great for those of you who like to upcycle wool clothing and sweaters. There are many cute projects including accessories, wearables, home decor and holiday ideas.

The book is laid out with lots of photos of finished projects and basic written instructions. There are patterns at the end of the book for any of the more complex projects. There are not any step by step photos and the book assumes you know basic embroidery stitches and how to use a sewing machine.

Felt So Good Sleeves

And now for the give away. I have one copy of the book from the publishers to give away to our readers. So that anyone can be eligible to win the book, I will be shipping it to you instead of from the publisher. If you would like a chance to win, please leave a comment below and I will need to have your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. The deadline for making a comment is October 22, 2014 and I will announce the winner of Felt So Good on October 23, 2014.

Felt So Good Woven Containers

If you’d like to check out the blog tour for this book, here’s the schedule:

10-16 Blacksheep’s Bit of the Web
10-17 I Hook Design
10-21 Funk and Weber Designs
10-22 Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
10-23 The Funky Felter
10-27 Poetry in Yarn
10-28 Funk and Weber Designs
10-29 Moogly
10-30 Monkey Mayhem
10-31 Mama O Knits/CraftLit
Creativity is a Verb

Creativity is a Verb

This isn’t a new book, but one that I have enjoyed reading numerous times. Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative by Patti Digh was published in 2011.

Creative is a verb cover


This is the description that is on Patti Digh’s website about the book: Your life is the work of art. Following up on her successful Life Is a Verb, and in the tradition of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Patti Digh here presents a book that leads readers by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and use their own creative spirit. Creative Is a Verb is a book for everyone, whether you say, “I’m not creative” or “I’m just a dabbler” or “I’m an artist.” Original artwork enhances each essay, contributed by artist/followers of the author’s blog, 37 days. Thirty-three related essays are organized around six overarching themes that guide readers beyond the fear of creativity to embrace their inner artist. As the author says, “If you’re alive, you’re creative.” Among the themes: “Be Ordinary,” “See More,” “Get Present,” and “Catch Fire.” Each essay is followed by creative exercises for the reader, allowing her to apply the principles of each story to her own life.

I’m not always one to do all the “exercises” in a book but I was certainly inspired by the essays and the quotes that are scattered throughout the book. I really like the way she tells who the book is for:

“This book is for everyone who courageously creates their life as a work of art, sometimes beautiful, sometimes messy, sometimes painful, sometimes mundane, and always an expression of their unique vision; for everyone who notices the color Chartreuse and crazy clouds wherever they go; for everyone who makes art from stones, from trash, from loss; for everyone who longs to climb back into the marvelous; for everyone who yearns to reclaim their creative spirit, their art spark and for those who want to jump into their yearning and walk toward their obstacles. Yes, I mean you.”

Does that sound like you?

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Creating Felt Artwork: a step by step guide

This is an excellent, information packed, 60 page, full colour e-book by Rosiepink fibre artists Annie and Lyn. Using one of their own pieces, ‘The Meadow’ as a guide, they show you a step by step process and give you all the information you need to make your own beautiful, unique felt artwork. There are lots of nice, clear photos throughout, and simple but detailed instructions with lots of excellent tips and advice. Before the main part on how to create your felt wall hanging, there is a great section about finding inspiration, how to interpret your ideas into a design and planning your artwork.

The information in the main step by step guide is excellent. It starts with a detailed equipment list with lots of hints for using inexpensive items you’d find around the house, and advice about preparing your work area. The instructions for how to lay out the wool for your design are very clear and detailed, and there are lots of photographs to illustrate each stage. There’s a very detailed explanation of the whole felting process and valuable information about choosing other fabrics and fibres to add to your design.

The next section teaches you how to enhance and embellish your artwork with simple machine embroidery. This part is packed with information and advice too. There’s everything you need to know about stabilising your felt artwork and choosing the right colours and types of thread to work best with your design. There’s information about techniques to create the effect you want and how to add detail. This section also has advice about adding hand stitching and how to use machine and hand stitching to create effects and texture and also about using other fibres for adding extra texture and detail.

Once you’ve finished your felt art wall hanging, you’ll want to display it. There is a great section on how to back and hang your artwork simply and effectively, with clear instructions and photos. But if you’d like to display your artwork a different way, there is also a separate section on alternate ways to display your artwork and how to care for it.

There’s information and tips throughout the book for techniques to help you realise your own design and create your own unique artwork. This includes how to make and use prefelt for more control over your design; how to re-use spare felt in the same way; using yarn and small drafted sections of wool for design, and adding other fabrics and needlefelting to enhance your artwork.

So, what if you’ve followed all the instructions and you’re not happy with the way it turned out, or maybe you made a few sample pieces to try out your colour choices and don’t know what to do with them? There’s even a section for that, with some great ideas on what to do with spare pieces of felt.

And don’t worry if you’re an absolute beginner and have never tried felting before, or don’t really know what all the felting terms mean, there’s a glossary at the end with everything you need to know and an appendix with a complete step by step guide to making felt, with lots of clear photos.

This really is excellent value for money. It’s an invaluable source of information and advice about creating beautiful feltwork and enhancing it simply with easy tips and techniques. And the great advantages about being an e-book is you can have it instantly and zoom into the photos for even more detail 🙂

If you’d like to own a copy, visit Annie and Lyn’s website   It’s also available on Craftsy

Book Review

Book Review

Here’s another review of a book I have in my fiber art library. The book is called Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Carol Shinn. (I can’t seem to copy the photo from Amazon so you’ll need to follow the link to see the book.) This book is about machine embroidery and is a combination of specific step by step photos as well as wonderful selections from artists around the world doing free motion machine embroidery.

The piece above is a machine stitched fabric page of an old castle ruin that I did using Carol Shinn’s method of machine embroidery. The book is very informative and has beautiful photos of Carol’s work and work of other artists. The chapters are:

  1. Understanding the Process of Machine Embroidery – This chapter covers all the basics including what “freestyle” means, supplies needed, adjusting thread tension, stitch direction and distortion, caring for your machine and trouble shooting.
  2. Color Mixing – The second chapter includes several different exercises to help you learn about mixing colors with thread including layering thread colors, understanding gradation, and planning and stitching a complete design. Carol shows a variety of samples that really illustrate color mixing well.
  3. My Process for Making an Embroidery – Chapter three shows a step by step process with lots of photos of how Carol stitches her pieces. There is an excellent troubleshooting section at the end that teaches you how to correct any possible errors.
  4. Adding Variety – The fourth chapter reviews all the different types of stitches that can change the look of a machine embroidered piece. Again, there are many close up photos to show the different variations. Carol also talks about combining hand and machine stitching, attaching decorative elements, edge considerations, dissolvable films and fabrics and using different background surfaces. There is also a small section about painting the surface and mixed media techniques.
  5. Freestyle Machine Embroidery as an Artistic Medium – The last chapter is a gallery of other artist’s work and brief description of their working methods. It is amazing the variety of work that can be done on the sewing machine and each has their own style. If you’re interested in machine embroidery, this chapter is very inspiring.
The last part of the book has further information in different appendices including your work space and equipment, basic color information, three ways to re-proportion artwork for embroidery and distortion. I really enjoyed this book and experimented with several pieces using her method. I think the book was the most helpful to me in what I learned about distortion and how to control it when adding dense layers of thread.

Book Review

Book Review

I thought it would be fun to go through my library of fiber art books and do a review of some of my favorites. I don’t have any other books by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn but I have seen some of their other books. I have to say that I would recommend anything written by them. They are a great team and pack a lot of useful information in their books.

If you click on the photo above it will take you to Amazon. I think the book is out of print because the new copies are really pricey but you can buy them used for less. Or look in your local library, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find this book. I love this book. I refer back to it frequently and have read it cover to cover at least three times.

The book has two sections the first is “Design to Embroider” and the second is “Stitched Images”.  The first section is about how to develop designs on paper and mixed media, where to look to find ideas and exploring those ideas. It is a good start to basic design and how to relate it to embroidery. The photos and examples are wonderful and inspiring. They show their own work as well as work of other artists.

Section two of the book is about taking your designs and making them into an embroidery. There is information about fabric paints and various methods of using them, working with applique’, stitch themes, machine embroidery and selecting a theme. This book is not a step by step instruction book. It does give basic information about how to use various fabric paint products but it doesn’t contain any projects to follow. The book is geared towards getting you to think about your own designs and how to develop backgrounds and then add stitch to make a complex experimental stitch piece.

The book talks a bit about using different stitches but it is not a stitch dictionary and limited directions for individual hand or machine stitches. What it does is give you lots of ideas about how to interpret designs and various approaches to use to achieve the desired effects. Every time I read the book, I find something new to consider. If you only do traditional embroidery from a kit and don’t want to learn how to design, this book isn’t for you. If you’d like to take a more experimental approach and learn how to design your work, you’ll love this book. All the reviews on Amazon are 5 stars!

If you have a favorite fiber art book, I’d love to hear about it. Hop on over to the forum and  tell us about your favorite book.

Book Review – The Embroiderer’s Handbook

Book Review – The Embroiderer’s Handbook

I bought this book mainly because it was on sale when our local Borders closed but also because I wanted a stitch dictionary. You can check it out on Amazon. The reviews there are positive and the one complaint I saw was that there weren’t any patterns for the finished projects shown. This book is a stitch guide and is not meant to show you how to do specific projects.  It does show hand stitched pieces for examples and inspiration but its main strength is that it has photographs of all the stitch steps with written instructions for each step.

The first portion of the book is about getting started and it goes over fabrics, threads, needles, transferring designs, how to begin and end and hoops. Throughout the book there are tips about using the stitches  and solving common problems. The book includes over 150 different stitches and variations of a variety of stitches. All of the stitches are in alphabetical order making it simple to look up one stitch easily.

The photographs of each stitch are very clear and the instructions are easy to follow. If you have difficulty following stitch diagrams, this book is for you. It shows many more steps with photos than a stitch diagram does and makes even complicated stitches easy to understand. I am not particularly interested in ribbon embroidery, but for those that are, there are quite a few examples of stitches used in ribbon embroidery.

I recommend this book if you are looking for a stitch dictionary that is reasonably priced and shows step by step photos. This book does not give you any embroidery patterns and is not experimental embroidery. It shows the basic stitches and how to do them. I refer to it when I’ve forgotten how to do a stitch (who me, forget something???) or when I want to learn a new stitch and I’ve found it very helpful.

%d bloggers like this: