Library Video Highlights

There is no doubt that our patrons (and staff!) miss going to our stellar buildings and accessing all the library has to offer in person. While our locations remain shuttered and quiet for now, there is actually quite a lot going on in the virtual realm here at the library. So much so that you might have missed some of the great content being created by members of the community and staff for you to enjoy.

To help keep you up to date, here are few recent video highlights that you just might want to check out.

If you are feeling crafty, Elizabeth is here to help you create funky figures for all to enjoy.

Fred Cruger, a volunteer at the Granite Falls Historical Museum, gives an interactive demo of the Snohomish County Historic Register Map. A big “thank you” to Fred for sharing his expertise!

We are all about telling stories here at the library. Enjoy a few from our ever expanding selection of stories for children of all ages, read by a diverse cast of characters.

Miss Andrea entertains with an enthusiastic Toddler Storytime all about shapes.

In this Baby Storytime, Miss Emily with the help of her cat Celia read “The Going to Bed Book” by Sandra Boynton.

If you want to access more of our video content (and why wouldn’t you?) visit the Everett Public Library YouTube Channel or Facebook video feed. Happy viewing and stay tuned for more!

Ghosts in the Machine

Are you missing personal interaction with people other than your immediate family nowadays? We sure are here at the library. Helping people to access the library’s resources in person is one of the pillars of our service and, truth be told, one of the major reasons we love our jobs.

But if, like us, you are in need of some human interaction, don’t despair. We have created several videos so you can spend some quality digital time with the staff here at the library. The topics range from crafting to storytimes and beyond. But the real benefit just might be staying visually connected in these isolating times.

Create & Explore:

Feeling creative? If so, definitely check out Elizabeth’s Create @ Home series and follow along as she takes household items and turns them into art. Her latest has her getting creative with paper coasters and trivets:

Since you probably have more than enough time to contemplate your immediate family right now, why not delve into your ancestry to make them seem more interesting? Lisa has you covered with an excellent video on how to get started with the Library edition of Ancestory.com. Enjoy the rocking intro!

Let Us Tell You a Story

When it comes to face time in the library world, let’s admit it, children’s librarians take the cake. Their enthusiasm is contagious to children and adults alike. We have two ongoing video series to highlight their talents and keep you entertained: eStorytimes and Book Bites. There is a lot of great content here, but here are two favorites.

Miss Eileen introduces us to the itsty, bitsy, spider:

Join Miss Andrea as she shows us the best way to say hello to friends:

From the Vault

We have actually been making short videos at the library for a fairly long time. Peruse our YouTube channel to access all of the content including our Everett Massacre Centennial series, poetry reading and much more. Here are two from the lighter side to make you chuckle and incite some nostalgia for out beloved downtown location. Hopefully we will all be back soon!

A Shakespeare fight between Tyler and Linaea in the sorting room.

A squirrel enjoys the reading room.

Keep your hands active and your mind engaged with Creativebug

Following the state’s Stay Healthy, Stay Home order is causing many of us to be a little stir-crazy right now. The library is here to help! You now have free unlimited access to over 1,000 online video arts and craft classes with the Creativebug database in our E-Resources page. Create an account with your email and a password and you’re ready to go.

Improve your skills in your favorite craft or discover something new. Ceramics, painting, sewing, quilting, paper crafting, knitting, crochet, baking, cake decorating, and jewelry making are only some of the categories offered.

Learn how to make sparkly slime with your kids, knit a custom-fit dog sweater, get your doodle on, bake peanut butter and jelly cups, or make your own bath bombs. You can spend hours just looking at all that’s available.

For knitters and crocheters there is a pattern library of free downloadable knit and crochet patterns. Crochet a sloth or knit zig-zag knee socks.

Be sure to explore the Creativebug Inspiration Feed. Browse photos of finished projects posted by crafters like you. Follow the Creativebug Instagram feed and their Facebook page for even more ideas. Watch CBTV (Creativebug Television) to meet the instructors, view documentaries and an archive of their Live Facebook videos.

New classes are added daily, so be sure to check back often!

Create @ the Library, Except this Time @ Home!

A Reading Life blog is supposed to be about reading, right? Well, this post IS about books, and I will mention a few newly added eBooks that relate, but mostly this is about BOOK ART!

For the last five years, I’ve put on a program for adults called ‘Create @ the Library’ in which attendees, a lot of them regulars, complete an art or craft project. We’ve painted, sculpted, worked with clay, paper, mosaic, and cement. We’ve generally had a great time, made new friends, and realized how creative we can be. Each April we focus on a recycled book themed art or craft project to celebrate National Library Week, and this year, although the library is closed, I still wanted to share the project we had planned, ‘Book Folding Fun’. You can do this project at home, with just a few common supplies. Below is a narrated presentation that walks you through all the steps. You can also view this video, and many more, on the Library’s YouTube Channel.

If that’s not enough creating with books for you, check out these just added eBook titles from Overdrive and cloudLibrary.

There seems to be a dearth of book folding books out there, and even fewer in digital format. The first one on the list, Book Origami : The Art of Folding Books by John M Green, contains patterns for numbers, letters, animals, and shapes. He also explains making your own designs. It’s not a very visually exciting book but at least it has patterns. Green uses a whole different method – one I have not tried (since I’ve only folded one book myself!) – so be ready to learn if you want to use his patterns.

Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson, contains all sorts of creative projects involving books, including cutting them into sculptural shapes, reusing paperback covers for postcards, making a book into a pocketbook, and a book jacket into a billfold. The introduction contains a passage that caught my eye:

“We cannot hope to save all the books from the landfill – this is a Sisyphean task. But we can be inspired by the creativity of these artists, who reinterpret both lowly and lofty books into something more.”

The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti is a book I have checked out before in a non-digital format and enjoyed. There are lots of fun projects including hanging and wall sculptures made of books and book pages.

Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed by Laura Heyenga is not a project book, but a showcase of serious art made by artists in which books are used to create some amazing works. I haven’t had a chance to look at this one yet because it is already checked out.


Lastly, I wanted to share some images of book art made by one of Everett Public Library’s staff members. Although I am a beginner at the art of book folding, Kim, who works in the technical services department, is super talented at this craft. She has years of experience, and has made many challenging and amazingly complex designs. You may have seen them displayed at the library at times.

She has even made portraits of friends and family members! Now that’s talent!

If you are craving a creative project, take a look around your place and see if there are some outdated books you could repurpose into art. There’s something really appealing about the printed page that goes beyond the words themselves.

How to stay busy: eBooks to Create, Garden, and Organize

If you are one of those people who just has to stay busy (I know how you feel!) and you’re stuck at home going stir crazy, check out some recently added eBooks that may help inspire you in a new direction.

Arts, Crafts, and Hobbies
Since I can’t do my Create @ the Library programs right now, I wanted to find some how-to arts and crafts books to keep our regular attendees, and everyone else, creating.

Everyday Watercolor and Everyday Watercolor Flowers by Jenna Rainey

Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond by Anne-Marie Faiola

Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick

Japanese Wonder Crochet: A Creative Approach to Classic Stitches by Nihon Vogue

Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary: 125 Essential Stitches to Crochet in Three Ways by Dora Ohrenstein

Sew Bags: The Practical Guide to Making Purses, Totes, Clutches & More; 13 Skill-Building Projects by Hilarie Wakefield Dayton

Gardening (and Nature)
We have had some beautiful weather perfect for gardening, so while we may feel gloomy inside, if we get our hands in the soil, whether in our indoor window gardens, our small urban plots, or the ‘back 40’ we can’t help but feel some hope.

Small Garden Style: A Design Guide for Outdoor Rooms and Containers by Isa Hendry Eaton and Jennifer Blaise Kramer

The Timber Press Guide to Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Carol and Norman Hall

The Ann Lovejoy Handbook of Northwest Gardening by Ann Lovejoy

DIY Gardening Projects: 35 Awesome Gardening Hacks to Better Your Garden by Cheryl Palmer

Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live by Kevin  Espiritu

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy

Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm by Isabella Tree

Home Organizing
If I wasn’t working from home right now I might just try to dig in, toss out or recycle, and get organized. Maybe. If you have more motivation than I do for organizing, check out these titles for some inspiration.

Martha Stewart’s Organizing : the Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines by Martha Stewart

Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals by Clea Shearer

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson

The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism by Kyle Chayka

I hope you enjoy some of these new-to-the-library eBooks and find ways to keep occupied and engaged during these unprecedented times we are living in.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Valentine’s Day

my love-hate relationship with valentines day

When I was a little girl, Valentine’s Day was a special time. The green and grey corridors of my school would be awash in reds, pinks, and whites. It was an intense pop of color among all the grey plaid jumpers the girls wore and blue shirts and pants the boys wore. The teacher would lead us in crafting a box where classmates would dutifully deliver Valentines designed with She-Ra, He-Man, Rainbow Brite, or G.I. Joe. It was fun to pick out what I’d give my classmates, and even more fun to read through them all at the end of the day and see if I could read anything into the one I got from my secret crush.

Oh, to be 8 again!

As I grew older, the appeal of the day lost its luster. Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoyed putting out Red Hots candies and Sweetarts, but it seemed that there was a ton of pressure on adults to get it right, and it all boiled down to the bottom line. How much money did you spend on your honey? Did you upend both of your lives for the entire day to make ‘A Grand Gesture?’ No? Well, then you’re obviously not in love like you thought.

Ahem. BS!

All of these feelings were reaffirmed when I met the man whom I now call my husband. “Valentine’s Day is just a commercial holiday manufactured to sell greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates,” he said as he handed me all three of those things on our first Valentine’s Day together. In a bold move that later solidified our mutual affection and everlasting bond, I asked why he bought me stuff if he thought it was all bull. He did it all because it was expected. Once we compared notes and realized we both would rather celebrate milestone dates in our relationship (first date, wedding anniversary, etc.) we ditched the Valentines and never looked back.

Whether you’re like my husband and me and eschew this holiday, or if you count down the days until you can surprise your honey with the biggest box of chocolates imaginable, I have some books that will appeal to your Valentines sensibilities.

be mine sally j shimBe Mine
by Sally J. Shim
Guys, you really need to stop buying us ladies those giant red heart boxes of assorted chocolates. They’re never as good as we think they’ll be, and there’s always at least one variety that makes us gag. Why not make something instead? From adorable greeting cards to eye-catching garlands, this book will become your go-to resource for everything Valentine’s Day. Your sweetie will be impressed and amazed when you present him/her with an in-your-face pop-up card or a personalized message in a (tiny) bottle, complete with confetti hearts and an honest-to-goodness cork sealing the deal. The supplies are easy to acquire (you crafty people may already have a lot of them already) and the instructions are clear and easy to read. Just a little bit of time with some scissors and glue will impress your Valentine more than some random card you grabbed at the market on the way home from work. The thoughtfulness and effort you put into any of these projects will show your love in a way a store-bought something can’t.

one pan two plates carla snyderOne Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder
Sure, for Valentine’s Day you could make a reservation at a favorite restaurant, and wait before and throughout the meal for your food to arrive because you are eating out on one of the busiest nights in the restaurant industry. It’ll probably cost a pretty penny (more, if you’re going the valet route with the car) and depending on where you go, the atmosphere might not be quite as intimate as you’d hoped. Instead, why not cook at home? You can cook together, which is an activity that can actually be fun and bring you closer together. Or you can surprise your lovey with a home-cooked meal that will be just the perfect amount for the two of you. Most, if not all, of the recipes in One Pan, Two Plates are so quick and easy to make you’ll probably want to keep making these recipes all year long. All recipes include a beverage pairing and ways to make the meal more filling. Sauteed pork chops with sweet potato, apple, and mustard sauce is tart and flavorful and takes 40 minutes. Balsamic turkey with artichokes and eggplant caponata marries some really complex flavors and is ready in just 30 minutes. You get the idea. So tie on that apron and get cooking!

tinder nightmares unspirationalTinder Nightmares
In the grand tradition of Richard Benson’s F in Exams and F This Test comes Tinder Nightmares. Benson compiled some of the most outrageous and ridiculous answers college students used on tests and exams. Now the infamous Unspirational shows us the absolutely absurd side to the dating app Tinder. I mean, assuming there’s a side to Tinder that isn’t absurd. Granted, I’ve never had the need to swipe right since I was married years before Tinder was invented. But it doesn’t take a seasoned Tinder user to appreciate the cluster of stupid in this book. It’s full of bad pickup lines like “Hey, did you fall from the sky? Cuz you look like a dead bird.” You’ll also find bizarre date ideas like “I would take you on a date to Popeye’s for some light appetizers. Then, I would bring you back to my place for some TV dinners, grape soda, and two hours straight of Full House!” I like to think these are trolling texts, but I’ve met enough people to know that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

This year I decided we shouldn’t let Valentine’s Day slip by unnoticed. That’s why my husband and I have plans to see the Deadpool movie on February 14th. We’re going to pig out on movie theater popcorn and puns courtesy of Mr. Sir Deadpool, Esq. Then we’re going to go back to our place for a jointly-prepared, mutually agreed upon home cooked meal, and we’ll follow it up with binge-watching old episodes of The League. Because that’s what romance means to me. ❤

Arts and Crafts at the Library

P1020257Did you know that the library offers many wonderful programs for children and adults? Well, if you missed our arts and crafts series called “Crafternoons” in July, here’s some of the books we used and the projects they inspired.

indexThere are 52 wonderful ideas in Art Lab For Kids by Susan Schwake. We used the ‘Tiny Paintings on Wood’ project but you may be interested in the drawing, printmaking, or mixed media ideas. This is a well-thought-out guide with simple, clear explanations of technique, combined with inspiration from established artists. These projects will enable children to feel successful and encourage them to explore art as a form of expression.

index (1)We used the ‘Watercolor Magic’ project from Art Lab for Little Kids by the same author. This project involved drawing with white crayon on white paper, painting with watercolor, getting the surface really wet and then sprinkling it with salt. The result was many fine abstract paintings.This book was developed for the younger set and begins with an introduction on materials and setting up a space for making art. The lessons that follow are open-ended and to be explored over and over – with different results each time.

h2o color

indexWe made (I think) awesome shopping bags out of old t-shirts. You can get this project and others from DIY T-Shirt Crafts by Adrianne Surian. Creating something useful and stylish doesn’t have to take ages or require expensive supplies. Complete with step-by-step instructions and stunning photographs, each T-shirt craft is simple enough for beginners to recreate and can be finished in 60 minutes or less.

tshirt

 

index (1)Print & Stamp Lab by Traci Bunkers includes 52 ideas (I guess one for each week of the year) for handmade, up-cycled print tools. Learn to create print blocks and stamp tools, all from inexpensive, ordinary, and unexpected materials: string, spools, band-aids, flip-flops, ear plugs, rubber bands, school erasers and a slew of other re-purposed and up-cycled items. We used paper cups to create the music prints below:

P1020260

 

index (2)We plan on using Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodabaugh for planning our fall craft projects. Focused around surprising and easily accessible materials like shipping boxes, junk mail envelopes, newspapers, maps, found books, and other paper ephemera, it has 22 projects aimed at inspiring children to create amazing paper crafts. I love the tiny Airstream trailer made using duct tape. You will too.

index (3)If you and your kids are not that into crafts, try these other ‘lab’ books. Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Heinecke includes 52 fun science activities for families to do together. Using everyday ingredients, many of the experiments are safe enough for toddlers and exciting enough for older kids, so families can discover the joy of science together. You can whip up amazing science experiments in your own kitchen.

index (4)The title of Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play and Enjoy in Your Garden says it all. It is a refreshing source of ideas to help children of all ages learn to grow their own patch of earth. The lessons in this book are open-ended and can be explored over and over.

 

Our wonderful librarian Elizabeth has also organized a craft table at the Evergreen Branch which is there everyday! Children who visit the branch are able to do awesome, creative crafts each time they visit the library. These crafts provide fun hands-on activities for kids and their parents to do in the library. They also connect art and science with featured books and help develop small motor skills – many kids enter school not knowing how to hold a pencil. Don’t wait for our fall craft programs. Come on down to the library and check out these and other books to unleash your creative spirits!

Give Homemade: The DIY Guide to Gift-Giving

Don’t let this holiday season get the better of you! I say start now, gather supplies and ideas, and get to crafting the perfect DIY gifts for friends and family. The library is a great place to start looking for inspiration. No matter the recipient, I guarantee you can find a great DIY gift idea at the library.

Set1

Whether you’re looking for your baby’s first holiday gift or you want to dazzle a mom-to-be, you need to check out Cutest Ever Baby Toys to Knit by Val Pierce. For adorable toys, check out Tusker the Elephant (cover image; project starts on p.86), Rainbow Butterfly (p.92), and Freddy Fox (p.78). For other cute baby items, try Little Bunny Bag (p.39), Goody Two Shoes (newborn booties-p.36), and Under-the-Sea Mobile (p.83). My favorite project by far has to be the Soft and Squishy Playbook (p.22). It’s a knitted play book with a different object (car, teddy bear, etc.) on each page. Research shows it’s never too early to introduce children to books and this is a sweet way to begin.

If you’ve always wanted to dabble in chemistry look no further than Homemade Nail Polish by Allison Rose Spiekermann. I’d never really considered what would go into making your own nail polish at home, but apparently it begins with a good face mask so the solvents don’t send you face-down on the work bench before you even get to the color mixing part. And speaking of colors, I learned you can use eyeshadow as a color base for nail polish and that there are many different types of glitter. Who knew?! There are sections in the back for troubleshooting and perfecting your mixes as well as tips for applying the perfect manicure and designing your own nail art. So maybe if you don’t have time to make your own nail polish you can at least set up a lavish manicure to pamper your BFF.

Do you know your away around a pair of pliers? Have you always wanted to use your butane torch on something other than crème brûlée? Then you’ll want to check out The Jewelry Maker’s Design Book: an Alchemy of Objects by Deryn Mentock of Something Sublime. The first section of the book contains descriptions of all the tools you’ll need, as well as techniques you’ll want to become familiar with before you start selecting beads. The bulk of the book, however, is packed with specific projects to help focus your efforts on a balanced and beautiful piece. I was really thrilled to see old pieces of jewelry, like brooches, used in designs for necklaces. I have a large amount of inherited jewelry that I don’t know what to do with–but now a plan is forming, and I think I like it.

set2

The pouches, bags, blankets, clothing, and accessories in Project Teen: Handmade Gifts Your Teen Will Actually Love by Melissa Mortenson definitely appeal to me, someone who hasn’t been a teen since The Cranberries were popular. Melissa is the genius behind The Polka Dot Chair, one of my favorite DIY blogs. Even if her book is checked out you can always hit up her blog for an amazingly creative selection of projects that range in both difficulty and time required. And, much like her book, there’s truly something for everyone. In particular, who wouldn’t want one of her Swim Bags (p.20)? The wide opening and flat bottom make this tote bag ideal for book lovers as we cart home our latest selection of library books each week.

Not ready to take up a needle and thread or put the pedal to the floor with a sewing machine? No Sew Love by Ashley Johnston of Make It, Love It is just what you need. There are 50 projects that require zero sewing and the finished products look stellar. The Fabric Wristlet Key Fob (p.122) is a cheery, practical gift that you could personalize for pretty much anyone on your gift list. The Leather Fringe Necklace (p.110) looks simple and chic enough to make for my entire gaggle of girlfriends. But the project that really has me sold is the Basic Skirt (p.130). It’s a skirt that requires no sewing, has an elastic waist, and is a decent length. Not only could I make a bunch for my friends but I could totally practice my technique on skirts for myself. Total win-win!

Bibliophiles and librarians alike will adore something from the Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers of Lottie Loves. From simple binds to complex fold-and-cuts, there are a wide variety of projects inside this book. You’ll not only learn the skills to bind books, but you’ll also find beautiful and sometimes quirky designs for the cover. There are also interviews with artists where you’ll find even more inspiration. The one that really caught my eye was Cathy Durso (p.84) who specializes in embroidered book covers. If you’ve ever done embroidery or know someone who has, you understand how very special this is. The cutest image of one of my favorite animals, the narwhal, is featured on the opposite page. Mom, are you reading this? I would love a book embroidered with a narwhal, please!

set3

Got Sharpies? I have dozens of colors at home and plan to use them all to create projects found in Make Your Mark. Before diving in, you should pay attention to the suggestions for testing your pens on different materials before you get rolling. What looks great on glass may bleed like crazy on wood. For those of you experienced at what I call free-handed doodling, you shouldn’t have any problems. People like me, however, who dream of being an artist but tend to not quite have a brain for creating patterns will enjoy the pattern templates scattered throughout the book. I’m dying to make something like the Kitchen Word Canvas (p.32) because it looks like it could be a quick, simple, and inexpensive project that will cheer the home. The best part is that it’s completely customizable, so I could make a holiday-specific one, one for a guest bedroom, and the list just goes on. The ornaments on page 52, with their stark white-and-blue color combination and modern patterns, look like something someone would have hanging in their home year-round.

No DIY or crafting post would be complete without mentioning gifts created from mason jars. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know mason jars have made a huge comeback in recent years as the popularity of home canning has grown. However, you may be unaware that there are so many cute and creative ways to use them, including as gifts. DIY Mason Jars by Melissa Averinos and Mason Jar Crafts by Lauren Elise Donaldson cover everything from soap dispensers to terrariums. I feel like these are crafty gifts that will hold up over time, as that mason jar silhouette is just simply timeless.

In fact, you should really pay attention to this terrarium idea and check out the episode of DIY Dammit where Joselyn Hughes and Tyler Oakley made these adorable and portable pieces of earth. You’ll really get a feel for the technique, as well as how important it is to keep your sense of humor whenever crafting.

UCU

If for some reason your best-laid plants don’t come to fruition or if you have to give gifts on a large-scale, you may want to check out the Urban Craft Uprising winter show, December 6th and 7th at Seattle Center. My friends and I go every year and I usually end up buying gifts for everyone on my list (and way too many for myself). Everything at UCU is handcrafted by artists and designers, most local to the Pacific Northwest. You can support the indie craft revolution happening in your own backyard!

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to unearth my hot glue gun, spray paint, and torch. It’s gift-makin’ time, and I mean business!

Crafty Double-take Titles

Cover image of I Felt AwesomeFuture me is an amazingly crafty and talented person. I owe this predicted success to the hours I’ve spent hoarding craft ideas on Pinterest. Unfortunately the current me is pathetically unskilled and can only dream of making the upcycled t-shirt tank tops, tiny felted owls, and clever Chicago map quilts my heart desires. Nevertheless, this momentary setback doesn’t stop me from trolling the craft section when I’m on my lunch break. During my most recent foray to the 746’s I found my attention grabbed again and again by book titles. More specifically, I kept doing double-takes at book titles written by authors who clearly shared my slightly off sense of humor. My conclusion? Crafters are a funny, sometimes naughty, group of people.

Here are my top ten favorite crafty book titles found at the EPL:

10. Wild with a Glue Gun by Kitty Harmon and Christine Stickler. My idea of getting wild with a glue gun involves frustration, cursing, burnt fingers, tears of rage, and a half-finished pompom snowman; thankfully the ladies who wrote this book are far more creative and coordinated than I am. Once I’ve acquired some welder’s gloves I’d love to try out their scallop shells party lights idea, or the tin art that’s featured.

Cover image of Men in Knits9. Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning. If this was a tumblr, I’d subscribe to it. This title gives handy tips to more experienced knitters (or shoppers) about what kinds of patterns are most suitable to different male body types. Patterns featured in this book are best suited for experienced knitters, but the eye candy is nice for the rest of us.

8. Socktopus by Alice Yu. Though I love the name, this is written for experienced knitters. There are loads of really elegant knit patterns, but Socktopus is short on pictures of how to do the actual stitches. Some day.

Cover image of Stitch and Bitch7. Stitch ‘n Bitch by Debbie Stoller. Aside from the catchy title (or perhaps because of it), this series is pretty popular with people looking to learn how to knit and crochet (I purchased their crocheting title, The Happy Hooker, when it was featured in BUST Magazine). Featured within these pages are trendy styles, easy to follow diagrams, and amusing banter.

6. Sensual Crochet by Amy Swenson. This may be more of an unintentionally-funny title than deliberate, because there’s not much that seems sensual about crocheting, or the contents of this book. What it does have to offer are sophisticated, current styles that crocheters can try out. These elaborate patterns are best suited for more experienced hookers.

5. I Felt Awesome: Tips & Tricks for 35+ Needle-Poked Projects by Moxie. This book is useful for beginners and more experienced crafters alike. Early sections explain the equipment needed, and provide loads of great close-up color photos to illustrate step-by-step directions. For the experienced felter, there are many fun, offbeat project ideas, such as scarves that look like racetracks (complete with felted cars) and martini olive necklaces.

Cover image for Joy of Sox4. Sweaters from Camp from Meg Swansen’s Knitting Campers. Aside from the hiking name, this book is more or less window shopping for me until I develop some skills. For advanced knitters, there are many detailed patterns to explore.

3. Too Hot to Handle? Potholders and How To Make Them by Doris L. Hoover. Enter the fast-paced world of potholders, mitts, and other skin-savers with this helpful how-to title. Readers will learn a bit about the history of potholders, as well as where the potholder industry is headed. Later sections of the book are dedicated to a variety of unique pattern ideas, as well as tips on how to upcycle old clothing to make new potholders.

2.The Joy of Sox by Kinda Kopp. This saucy number is ideal for inexperienced knitters who may be interested in adding some pep to their sox life. Early chapters are dedicated to explaining terminology, demonstrating techniques with clear drawings, and helping knitters navigate patterns.

Cover image for Still Stripping1. Still Stripping After 25 Years by Eleanor Burns. This title coaxed an embarrassingly loud snort-laugh from me in the stacks. From the homey cover shot of the author saucily tossing a fabric strip over her shoulder, to action shots of her working her sewing machine in the company of her labs – I feel like I want to get to know Ms. Burns. Thankfully I can in a way because she has a YouTube channel that hosts a large collection of her ‘how to’ videos.

I hope this list has given you the motivation to bust out the pinking shears or home-spun yarn, or at least given you a chuckle or two.

Sock It to Me!

If you’ve been thinking about learning how to knit or you’re a pro who can interpret s1k1psso without referencing a knitting glossary, the library has a book, magazine, or DVD to interest you.

From the practical ball-band dishcloth in Mason Dixon Knitting: the Curious Knitter’s Guide by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, to the whimsical Elvis doll found in Knitted Icons : 25 Celebrity Doll Patterns by Carol Meldrum, to an intricate color work designer sweater by textile artist Kaffe Fassett in Kaffe Knits Again, you will find the right book for every level of knitter – beginner to experienced.

I’d like to suggest the perfect portable project for today’s busy knitter. It’s something that can be knit as simply or intricately as you would like: socks.

knitted socks

Yes, I said socks. I know that they can be purchased three pairs for $5 at Walmart but it just isn’t the same. Have you worn socks made with wool, bamboo, alpaca, corn, crab and shrimp shells, banana, milk, or seaweed? Once you give it a try you’ll never go back to those common socks. With today’s yarns you can knit a plain, but never ordinary, one-color pair of socks that even your husband will wear or a wildly colorful pair knit with self-patterning yarn for yourself.

There are many knitters on staff at the library. Of course when Kathy, Sue and I decided to try sock knitting we turned to the library catalog for inspiration.

Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch has 10 basic designs and many stitch patterns to choose from. The patterns are written for the knitter’s preferred use of 2, 4, or 5 needles in clear step-by-step directions. We decided to use 2 circular needles instead of the more traditional double-pointed.

Many books now teach this method, including Socks Soar On Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi, and for the truly adventurous, Knitting Circles Around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles by A.K. Gillingham.

sock in progress

For still another method there is 2-at-a-time Socks : the Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Just pick the method most comfortable for you. For innovations in sock architecture, Pacific Northwest author Cat Bordhi will have you looking at the lowly sock with a new respect. Her books Personal Footprints For Insouciant Sock Knitters and New Pathways for Sock Knitters explore new ways of sock construction. Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-of-a-Kind Socks by Cookie A. includes 15 unconventional, rule-breaking patterns.

If you prefer the traditional, try Folk Socks: the History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns or Knitting On The Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush.

Cuff, leg, heel flap, heel turn, gusset, foot, toe-up, cuff-down. You’ll soon know all about sock anatomy. Next time you look down at your feet and notice department store socks, will you feel a twinge of shame? Don’t your feet deserve better?

Kim