Periodically publishers send me free books to review. I love this. I’m like a kid on Christmas when a new title unexpectedly lands in my mailbox, and I often drop everything to curl up on the couch with it.
The problem is that once I have finished flipping through the book, no matter how much I loved it, I have a hard time carving out enough time to really give it a thorough review here. I end up putting off the task, waiting until I am in a place to do it justice. And sometimes that works out just fine.
But other times? I never do get around to telling you about them. And that’s just silly.
So I’m taking the pressure off of myself to go in-depth with these individually, and making it ok to do round-up type posts when I have a nice little pile of books accumulated.
Now, I mentioned at the beginning of this post that these books were sent to me for free by the publishers. The usual disclaimers apply here, and I should also tell you that if a book didn’t appeal to me, I won’t be mentioning it. These six books are not the only ones I was sent. They’re just the ones I liked the most 🙂
Geek Knits by Joan of Dark (aka Toni Carr) published by St. Martin’s Griffin
I’ll admit it – this book grabbed me at first simply because I am geek enough to recognize a number of the models. (I am also a tiny bit relieved to learn that I am not so much of a geek that I recognize everyone).
In this book you will find a number of geek-culture-inspired knits to make, all of them modeled by popular figures in fandom. The interesting twist here is that the personalities are not paired with knits related to their own fame. For instance, you’ve got Rene Auberjonois (pictured above), who is known for playing Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, wearing a scarf inspired by Doctor Who.
There are over 30 projects for everything from accessories to garments to toys, all of which pay homage to science fiction or fantasy in some way.
Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, John Scalzi, Adam Savage, Paul and Storm, Teryl Rothery, and John Scalzi are among the many familiar faces who model the projects.
Makery Sewing by Kate Smith Published by Octopus Publishing
I reviewed the first Makery book a little over a year ago, and I really liked it. This one is more of the same, but with an emphasis on sewing.
The aesthetic is one I find pleasing: bold geometrics paired with natural linen and delicate florals. While she doesn’t usually say what specific fabrics she is using in her projects, I’m pretty sure I spy some Liberty of London in there. (Their cotton lawns are so spendy, but so lovely.)
You’ll find more than 30 projects to sew, each one falling under the heading of Fashion, Gifts, or Home. There are full-size patterns included in the back of the book.
Zen Doodle Coloring: Inspiring Zendalas by Julia Snegireva published by St. Martin’s Griffin
ZEN DOODLE COLORING: Enchanting Gardens BY Nikolett Corley PUBLISHED BY ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN
I love the idea of coloring books for grown-ups, and if I could ever remember that I had the darn things in my collection, I probably would have sharpened my colored pencils and done a few pages by now!
The images are printed on one side only, so you don’t have to worry about front and back designs competing with each other. Plus the pages are perforated, so you can remove your masterpieces from the book if you wish.
I like the idea of using super fine point Sharpies on some of these designs, but I would probably either remove the page first, or put some scrap paper underneath it, because I think the pages might not be thick enough to handle Sharpie ink without bleeding through.
Big Knits by Martin Storey published by St. Martin’s Griffin
I have never knit a Martin Storey pattern, although I have borrowed several of his previous books from the library and really enjoyed browsing through them. This book is no different. It’s beautifully photographed, and it has some lovely projects. My favorites are the cabled designs, especially the two photographed above, and a wrap that isn’t pictured.
One word of caution, however: you would think with a name like “Big Knits” you’d be getting a collection of plus-sized patterns. The description on the cover and the intro from the author seem to back this up. Look at the patterns, though, and the bust size usually ranges from 36″ to 46″. Last time I checked, a 36-inch bust was not “plus size.” I’m somewhere in the middle of that range, and I don’t wear plus sizes, either.
So, I would say that I think there are some nice, knittable patterns in this book, but be aware that the target audience is more in the L to 2XL range, and not any bigger. Unless, of course, you are knitting one of the many wraps – they are meant to fit any size.
Also, a few of the sweaters in this book are real stinkers, in that they make the model look much heavier than she is. By putting a curvy woman in a boxy cardigan, you hide her lovely hourglass shape and make her look heavy all over. Boxy is not a big deal if you’re hanging around the house in your sweats all day, but it’s definitely not a look I would want to spend a month knitting up.
Despite all of these caveats, I still chose to include the book in my roundup because the patterns I do like in this collection, I really like. And I happen to be in the right size range to pull them off. I suggest you look inside the book via Amazon and see for yourself if they’d work for you or your figure.
Simple Color Knitting by Erika Knight published by St. Martin’s Griffin
I am realizing that I really like Erika Knight. I reviewed Simple Crocheting three years ago, and I’m still using the little table toppers I made from it. In fact, I have considered making more of them.
This book delves into a topic that I’ve found intimidating in the past – color knitting.
Simple stripes, I can do. But anything more complicated feels, well, complicated! So I welcome this book and it’s 15-page swatch gallery.
Several types of colorwork (plying & phasing, striping, stranding, color blocking, embroidering, and slipping stitches) is explained in detail, shown in swatch form, and then used in a project or two.
There are 20 projects in total, all featuring the simple color aesthetic that I loved from Simple Crocheting.
And there you have it! I hope you find something for yourself among these gems 🙂