LoveReading’s Creativity section is perfect for those who want to make things with their own hands. Whether you’d like to learn the latest craft technique, see what others are doing as design inspiration and trying to keep up and have a go at the latest technological developments, have a look at the selection of titles we have below.
A title that doesn’t lie, these are really good dog photos. Containing the work of some of the best animal photographers there are naturally many different approaches to photographing dogs, many of the pictures have the “aaah” factor, many show the beauty, the fun, the work of dogs and there are some here to tug the heart-strings – particularly the portraits of dogs marooned in rescue centres. An excellent introduction to the subject featuring photographers such as Elliott Erwitt and William Wegman. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading The Dogist by Elias Weiss Friedman
The perfect companion for any potter, or lover of pottery out there. As a novice potter myself, and fan of the TV series The Great Pottery Throw Down, I plucked, well actually I snatched, this book up as soon as it appeared on my desk. The outside subtly beckons you in, then dynamic vivid pictures and illustrations encourage your eyes to absorb the beauty as you read the accompanying text. You can either settle yourself down for a good read, or dip in and out, picking up slices of pottery history from as far back as 25,000BC, or discover how to throw off the hump, or learn more about some of your favourite artists. Liz Wilhide and Susie Hodge have created a beautifully balanced book, from beginner, to novice, to expert, there is something in here to appeal to all. I admire potters, their patience, skill, commitment, and energy… pottery can be a risky business, at any stage of the process it could go disastrously wrong, or it could become something to love, to treasure. ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ celebrates the unpredictability, the history, the usefulness, and the tactile and visual beauty of pottery. ~ Liz Robinson
What you can do with a pencil – and it's not all drawing! There's pencil games, Hangman, there's learning how to twizzle a Pencil round your thumb and there are emergency pencil uses. The instructions, in a cartoon type format, are intersperced with pencil related information in a fun and jokey way with added quotes from famous pencil weilders like Picasso and da Vinci. Very doable for even the most ham-fisted, Guy Field reveals all the tips and tricks you'll need to produce basic drawings, cartoons, lettering and even creating your own superhero, Pencilman! ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards You Can Draw in 30 Days, Mark Kistler
Crochet is often the poor cousin of knitting for innovation and design so full marks to Kerry Lord for her totally original designs. Author of the delightful Edward's Menagerie, a range of soft toy animals, her new book features … Monsters. With the split page format giving endless permutations of pointy ears and toes, alarming spots and stripes and even lumps and bumps, there will be no limit on the monsters you can make. For the more nervous child there are many designs that bear more than a passing resemblance to bunnies and teddies but for the more adventurous you can go the whole hog with a one-eyed, web-footed and fork-tailed monstosity. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Mini Knitted Safari, Sachiyo Ishii Edward's Menagerie: Over 40 Soft & Snuggly Toy Animal Crochet Patterns, Kerry Lord
A great book for crafters who want to take things on from dressmaking, upholstery and other fabric crafts – why not print the fabric as well? There are 25 projects here that go from simple potato prints on wrapping paper to creating your own design of bed linen and dress fabric. Starting with the potato prints, Jay Jolliffe moves on to block printing, stencils and screenprinting with clear instructions on how to apply this new-found craft. Lovely designs with templates included but plenty of ideas too for coming up with your own fabric prints. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like Reading:How to Print Fabric: Kitchen-table Techniques for over 20 Hand-Printed Home Accessories, Zeen ShahPrinting by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens, Lena Corwin
I'd given up trying to knit as have never conquered wonky edges and dropped stitches with the added complication of being left-handed. But – with Sharon Brant's help I really think I could give it another go. For one thing there is a very good “What to do when it goes wrong” section and there's good advice for left-handers. It's aimed at complete beginners and so there are explanations on basics such as reading patterns before you start. The step-by-step illustrations are a good size and easy to follow, taking users from the very first casting on to an acceptable row of knitting. Get this right and you can venture onto the chapters showing more advanced knitting - an excellent knitting companion. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: The Knitter's Bible: The Complete Handbook for Creative Knitters, Claire Crompton 100 Little Knitted Projects, Sarah Keen
I must admit to a great love of William Morris's textiles and Arts & Crafts furniture so reading Elizabeth Wilhide's guide to creating the “Morris look” can hardly be classed as work. If you want to find out how to choose pattern and colour and how to co-ordinate furniture and fittings there is a wealth of detail here, the well-chosen illustrations feature some of the very best Morris interiors, always detailing the patterns used with further key fabric and wallpaper pattern examples to be found in an appendix. The text itself is “a good” read, more than a how-to guide it gives much useful background, the way that Morris designs were viewed and how they gradually became so influential in the way we furnish and decorate our rooms. All-in-all a top introduction to William Morris, the price, an astonishingly reasonable £14.99. ~ Sue BakerLike for ReadingWilliam Morris: A Life for Our Time, Fiona McCarthyWilliam Morris and the Arts & Crafts Home, Pamela Todd
This book is well worth buying for the section on home furnishings alone, very clear instructions on some quite complicated furnishings like blinds and fitted covers and with the Ultimate Sewing Bible to hand I would feel confident in tackling a big project. The section on dress-making felt less successful, slightly rushed in an effort to cram it all in. I couldn't find any recommendations for further reading to take you forward and the listing for supplier recommendations was bare to say the least, just Hobbycraft and John Lewis listed leaving the reader to search elsewhere for some of the specialised equipment called for. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: The Sewing Book, Alison Smith Compendium of Sewing Techniques, Lorna Knight
I’ve read that origami is going to be the next “thing” after adult colouring books, another craft that can help stress relief and bring about the state of mindfulness. As an introduction to the craft, Esther Thorpe demonstrates some modern and useful applications for origami, providing decorative items for the home, everything from mobiles and mini storage baskets to paper flowers and lampshades. ~ Sue BakerLike for Like ReadingEasy Origami, John MontrollPapercraft, DK Click here to find out how Esther Thorpe came to write this book.
A range of designers share the knowledge giving apprentice knitters a good grounding in the craft with some interesting and often quirky ideas for putting their new skills to use. Absolute beginners will find this particularly appealing as the projects are often small and can be quickly made with the patterns being easy to follow and accompanied by tips and trick boxes. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner, Aneeta Patel Knitting without Tears, Elizabeth Zimmerman
Before appearing on the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee, Chinelo Bally had never used a sewing pattern. She wowed the judges with her ability to create stylish, fitted garments using a freehand cutting method that was taught to her by an aunt. In Freehand Fashion, Chinelo lets us in to the secret of how she does this exciting sewing technique that is likely to be brand new to most people and even to experienced dressmakers. There really are no limits in learning to sew the perfect wardrobe - and the beauty of this technique is that it can be applied to any body shape. ~ Liz Robinson You can also join the conversation online and share your creations - #FreehandFashion A message from Chinelo: I am a Nigeria-born Brit with an overly healthy appetite for fashion and sewing. I have always loved fashion, but I began my dressmaking journey just four years ago... After only three months of sewing for myself, I began dressmaking and making clothes for family members and friends... I want to offer beginners a fresh take on home sewing, one that is fashionable and trendy and I also want to entice seasoned sewists to step away from traditional rules and try the exciting freehand method... This is a technique everyone can learn, and I look forward to walking you through it, step-by-step.
The team behind Mollie Makes magazine have brought together all their favourite knit designers to share their tips, stories and beautiful projects. Knitting may seem complicated, but in fact there are just two stitches you need to learn. Once you have mastered knit and purl, you can knit pretty much anything. This is a vibrantly colourful book, primarily focusing on beginners, with patterns in the first section, followed by handy techniques in the second. The 18 projects range from phone covers to Christmas tree decorations. The techniques are really helpful, and includes a section on correcting mistakes. The bright and cheerful How to Knit would make a great present for craft lovers. ~ Liz Robinson
Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne are back with a new title in the Best in Show series. This time they have turned back time and delved into the fascinating prehistoric world with a collection of new patterns for dinosaurs and other creatures. There are 12 prehistoric creatures to knit, the T-Rex and Stegosaurus are particularly fabulous. Beginners can attempt some of the easier designs, more experienced knitters may be more comfortable overall though. It's worth noting that these are not toys, as wire or pipe cleaners are used as framework, however they would certainly brighten or frighten the other occupants of a bedroom shelf. Written with humour and including some fun dinosaur facts, this would make a lovely stocking filler for Christmas. ~ Liz Robinson
This whimsical collection of botanical-inspired needlework projects will take you from budding novice to confident stitcher as you explore a variety of simple counted embroidery techniques. There are 15 gorgeous projects on offer here, with templates, beautiful photos and comprehensive instructions, plus on the back page an envelope contains four of the larger embroidery charts. The alphabet bunting flags and daisy chain bracelet are stylishly simple and quite delightful. This really would make a perfect gift, the enchanting cover tempts you inside and the charming story of Thistledown Farmhouse continues with each new project. ~ Liz Robinson
With bright, modern, full colour illustrations, anyone can quickly learn to knit, master new stitches and make a selection of cute and easy knitting projects with Hello Knitting! With this book safely at your side for guidance, even those who have never picked up a pair of knitting needles before will soon be making brilliant projects while learning new techniques. A super little book containing everything you need to know to start your knitting journey. With projects from finger puppets to doorstops, there really is something here to suit everyone. ~ Liz Robinson
This inspiring new book from the team behind MillaMia knitwear is packed with projects to take you through the wintertime. As the seasons change from cool, crisp autumn to the cold and dark of winter, Scandinavians are particularly good at easing the transition with clothing, interiors and food that bring warmth and light. From traditional Scandinavian designs through to some more unconventional projects, there is plenty on offer. The designs have been graded to the skill level, from beginner through to experienced, and mostly feature knitwear, however there are some gorgeous home decorations and Christmas ideas on offer too. The beautiful photos show off the designs and at the end there are several delicious Swedish recipes to tempt you as you knit. ~ Liz Robinson
Lena Santana has devised a collection of simple, beautifully made sewing projects that serve as a perfect introduction to dressmaking. With a comprehensive guide to choosing and using fabrics, and a handy techniques section beginners will be masters of sewing basics in no time. This really is a lovely little book and absolutely perfect for beginners. With lots of patterns (that can be enlarged) you can learn how to make a whole host of items, from a shopping bag to a bikini! ~ Liz Robinson
Fun with Fabric is Jane Foster's first book, and in it she presents 15 simple projects, using fabulous fabrics from her own collection. With a cheerful primary coloured retro design hardback cover, this is a small but perfectly formed book. It is stuffed full of information about retro and vintage fabric, where to find it and what you can do with it, from the tiniest scrap of fabric, to larger pieces. With vibrant photos, easy to understand instructions, hints, tips and templates for fun projects this would make a lovely present (possibly even for yourself). ~ Liz Robinson
The BBC Proms is the world's biggest and longest -running classical music festival and one of the jewels in the crown for the BBC. It is one of the strongest brand names in the music world and attracts a glittering array of artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 150 concerts, talks, workshops and family events around London every summer. Whether you're a first- time visitor or an experienced Prommer, watching at home or listening on radio or online, the BBC Proms Guide will help you to plan your summer of music and discover in depth what lies behind the Proms - from the composers to the performers to how the events are broadcast. The Proms Guide contains brand- new articles on featured composers and insights on performers, new music and accompanying events.
Our mass produced globalised world does give us all access to things from around the world but they do lack any personality and individuality so it's not surprising there is currently a real upsurge in making and creating beautiful and interesting things yourself.
As William Morris once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'
Here is a lovingly chosen selection of books to get you creating some beauty for your home. Whether you would like to knit, sew, sketch or print, you can hopefully find a book here that will spark your imagination.
What are you waiting for?
See below for direct links to authors who feature in this category.