Books that made me a crafter

  • 6 min read

Must-read books for the diverse crafter
It’s easy to forget to enjoy the peace and quiet of a book when everything is so hectic online.

But sitting down with a good craft book and taking the time to leisurely admire its projects and make them is something I love. It’s taking a step back from the hectic do-everything-now overwhelm of projects on the web. [highlight bg=”#99bcff” color=”#ffffff”]In a way it’s a quick crafting escape.[/highlight]

I’ve read, owned, and borrowed too many craft books to count, but some of them have reached me more than most. Sometimes the best thing a craft book can do is give you permission to explore your own ideas, after giving you the tools to do it. That sort of inspiration lasts longer than just a tutorial or two.

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doodle-stitching Doodle Stitching

Aimee Ray’s series of Doodle Stitching books are well-known now. When I read the first book it changed the way I saw embroidery. I didn’t pick up the skills right away (embroidery was February’s craft!) but it left an impression. I love traditional embroidery designs, but this book made embroidery look fun and approachable.

This book made me actually want to learn embroidery. Aimee’s fun and fresh attitude affected my other crafts, too. Who said traditional crafts couldn’t be fun and quirky?

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compedium-of-finishing-techniquesCompendium of
Finishing Techniques

This was a book in my mother’s crafting library that I could never get enough of. I’d sit in her sewing room and browse the different techniques and admire the wonderful sketched instructions.

This book raised my appreciation for taking the time to add a finish to projects. It adds a beautiful touch and shows care. Plus a finished edge is a great way to personalise something ready bought. This book is hard to get a copy of now, and for good reason!

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paper-cutting Paper Cutting

I love how versatile paper can be, but for a long time all I made were cards or paper mache projects. Then I discovered books (and blogs!) on paper cutting. It opened up a new world and made me take paper crafting more seriously. If you spend hours hand cutting a single piece, it’ll build up some serious respect.

Paper is still one of my favourite mediums, and I blame this book. It turned paper craft from hobby to art for me by showing off the work by some fantastic artists.

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drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain Drawing on the
Right Side of the Brain

Drawing isn’t a craft in the sense woodworking or knitting is. But this book affected my crafting all the same.

What Betty talks about in this book is how to see the world in the best way to draw it. It means turning off your brain’s tendency to symbolise and simplify, and instead see things the way they are. Once you have that skill you won’t see things the same way again.

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power-cables Power Cables

For years the only knitting stitch I knew was the garter stitch. Seriously.

Then I fell in love with knitted cables so badly I knew I needed to learn how to knit them. This book breaks it all down and shows you how to design your own cables, too.

Within a couple projects I learnt cables, then lace and basic shaping. Boom. Creative block conquered.

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the-artist's-way The Artist’s Way

If you’ve ever heard of the habit of free-writing three pages in the morning, every morning, you might know it’s something that originated in this book. I read it so long ago I barely remember the rest of the content, but the free-writing habit was something that stuck with me.

I didn’t actually free-write every day, but instead it made me realise that the best way to commit to something is to just get over yourself and do it every day. If I want to write, I have to write. If I want to craft, I have to craft. Simple as. (Despite how complicated we make it seem.)

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stitch-with-love Stitch with Love

This book made me really fall in love with simple colour schemes for craft projects. Almost everything is in white and red, and the simplicity of the projects is what shows off the skill put into each one.

I knew very little about sewing when I first read this book (and still don’t, I’m tackling machine sewing in July!) so it made a huge impression on me. Like Doodle Stitching was for embroidery, this book made me want to learn to sew.

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Keep a look out for a regular craft book review series coming soon. Before I started it, I thought I’d revisit some of the oldies-but-goodies that formed my creative spirit into what it is today.

Do you have any books that have inspired you again and again, or just been a great resource? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy crafting,

8 thoughts on “Books that made me a crafter”

    1. Haha, enabler? No, never. ;) That would mean admitting buying lots of craft books could be a problem! Hope you enjoy the book!

  1. Great books! Thanks!
    Every time I get stuck in my creative pursuits, I take out my “Stitch with Love”! Wish I had the Doodle Stitching book. Gotta go to Amazon … =)

    1. Yeah I want to get all three Doodle Stitching books, they’re so inspiring. :) My craft book wishlist is probably a mile long!

  2. These are such lovely books. I really love the Paper Cutting book. I have a book that shows a different knitting stitch for every day of the year. I cannot remember the title, though. I will have to go find that book! It really was amazing. Thanks for sharing your favorites, Anna.

    1. Thanks Patti! A book like that for knitting stitches sounds inspiring. It’s a bit more useful than a standard flip-through calendar isn’t it? Let me know when you remember the name!

  3. Hi Anna, I saw the PaperCut book in Waterstones last week, in a big display of other paper cut and craft books. WOW, it really is an amazing and inspirational book, and it certainly gave me lots of new ideas. Think I need to hang out in Waterstones more often! It will be a shame if we lose them from our high streets!

  4. Doodle stitching really changed the way I approached embroidery too. I’ve never been very disciplined in following a pattern but love sewing. It made me realise that if I could draw something, I could sew it. I know that sounds obvious but up until then the penny hadn’t dropped. I discovered a craft that I adore!

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