06 September, 2015

Hand Stitched Home (Weekend Reads)

A year ago the lovely Susan Beal asked me if I wanted to review a copy of her latest book, Hand Stitched Home and I never did it. I felt awful, especially after I'd agreed to do it. I pulled that book out this last week, as the weather turned decidedly to fall, and decided now was the time. Why now? Because I forgot how lovely a book this is and you need to know about it.

Hand Stitched Home is all about sewing with wool. It takes its lead from the famous Oregon Pendleton wool, but that doesn't mean you have to use Pendleton wool in the projects. It does, however, provide a short history of Pendleton that fans of the wool and more will like. Then it provides tips and tricks for working with wool. As a quilter who lives in the land of cotton, this section is very much appreciated.

Projects range from coasters to quilts, from home decor to garments. There is, quite literally, something for everyone. I'm quite smitten with two particular projects: The Jacquard Cube Ottoman and the Winter Cape. The bags look nice too, but I don't really make bags (yet).

Seriously, do you think I can pull off this cape? I'm not sure I am young or old enough for it, but I love it so.

Susan provides clear instructions, illustrations, and templates for everything in the book. Some templates will have to be enlarged, so you will have to make a new friend at the local copy shop. In all honesty, I've not sewn anything from the book, but in carefully reading a number of the instructions it seems that things are quite clear and easy to follow, especially with the amount of illustrations including in each project. Each project also comes with a difficulty rating, measured in number of sheep. So cute.

There is even an index, something we don't see enough of in craft books.

And, as we are visual people, can I mention the photography? You can practically smell the campfire and hear the crunch of leaves. Because, of course, we think of fall when we think of wool. The photography provides us with that sense of place, but it also highlights the patterns and texture of the Pendleton wool.

West Coast Crafty is the online home of Susan Beal. Hand Stitched Home is her sixth book! She knows what she is doing is crafting a book that tells the story of her chosen material and subject. Personally, I love that her books are all unique and the crafty subjects vary. If you were at QuiltCon this year then you also know that she is currently keen on encouraging us all to label our quilts. I totally get this girl!

It may still be summer where you are, but as the cooler/cold months approach I recommend curling up with this book. And with school back in session I'm excited to be heading back to the books myself and relaunching the Weekend Reads series.

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