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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.
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
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
By turns gripping, meditative and elemental, and always inspirational, this treasure trove of prose, poetry and art lays bare a richness of relationships between female adventurers and the great outdoors. Shunning conventional, simplistic narratives about mankind conquering the highest this, or the deepest that, each adventurer-contributor shares their unique experiences with enlightening, engaging subtlety. In the wise words of one writer, “People go outdoors to push themselves past what they thought they could do…I go outdoors for the struggle, not to beat it.” This eloquent anthology contains over seventy pieces of writing and art, among them an enlightening piece about the motivations of an Antarctic researcher, an intimate account of a mountaineer’s connection with her father through cross-country skiing, and an exquisite evocation of the sensuous life-forces of a Dartmoor brook. It’s a delight to dip into, and the perfect gift for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers.
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'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
This consummately fascinating study into the relationship between dance and poetry – the “step” of dance, and the “foot” of verse – presents a complex, intricate interlacing of disciplines. Dappled with personal anecdotes alongside probing evolutionary questions, historical depth and contemporary insights, it is at once thought-provoking and engaging. The author’s experience as both a dancer and poet inform his unique investigation. He ascribes his long-held passion for both to a deep-rooted childhood awareness of rhythm: “Rhythm is common to both pursuits. Increasingly I have come to feel that dance is a language and that language is a dance.” I found the “Which Came First?” chapter especially compelling. The author’s exploration of humankind’s transition to bipedalism and language takes in fascinating linguistic and archaeological theories, and links the shift to bipedalism to the development of reflective thought, and to walking as an expressive activity. Suffused in spirited intellectualism and a global perspective, this is a must-read for anyone interested in poetry, dance and exploring the history of humanity through the lens of the arts.
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
Are YOU the ultimate map-reader? Do you know your trig points from your National Trails? Can you calculate using contours? And can you fathom exactly how far the footpath is from the free house? Track down hidden treasures, decipher geographical details and discover amazing facts as you work through this unique puzzle book based on 40 of the Ordnance Survey's best British maps. Explore the first ever OS map made in 1801, unearth the history of curious place names, encounter abandoned Medieval villages and search the site of the first tarmac road in the world. With hundreds of puzzles ranging from easy to mind-boggling, this mix of navigational tests, word games, code-crackers, anagrams and mathematical conundrums will put your friends and family through their paces on the path to becoming the ultimate map-master!
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
“Take what you need from these pages; and most of all, enjoy what you do. Joy is such a vital part of creative writing – because if you don’t enjoy what you write, how can you expect anyone else to?” So begins Joanne Harris’s invaluably inspirational - and practical - Ten Things About Writing. Reading this book is rather like having a wise writer as a best friend, on hand to offer pragmatic and energising advice, with many unhelpful myths about writing crumbled, and an emphasis on the fact that writing is to be worked at, not something a wand can be waved at: “The ability to spin words into gold is a skill that comes from hard work, patience and lots of practice. Some people may have an aptitude; others will struggle to gain momentum.” I particularly loved the author’s unravelling of the myth of inspiration: “The idea that we must wait for the Muse to inspire us was invented by effete young Victorians who wanted an excuse to sit around doing nothing all day. Most of us don’t have that luxury, which means forgetting about the Muse and doing some actual footwork instead.” And this gem: “Don’t write because you want to be a writer. Write because you want to write.” In bracing style, Harris covers everything from doing proper research, finding your voice and effectual use of description (“If a passage doesn’t serve a purpose, it’s just pointless decoration. Kill it”), to drafting (“all first drafts are terrible... Just get on with it”), re-writing, and what to expect if you’re lucky enough to be published. And she doesn’t stop there, in the way that writing doesn’t either. She also covers dealing with fear, failure, rejection and writer’s block, with every stone turned and looked at from fresh angles, ending with an uplifting reminder that no matter how your writing journey turns out, “just writing is an act of bravery”. I’ll leave you with this typically droll nugget from the section on writing about women: “Top tip: real women very rarely think about their breasts at all – and certainly never in the way in which some male writers think they do.” I know this is a book I’ll keep coming back to, along with checking-in on the author’s #TenThings tweets.
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
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
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.