Ways of searching for books about fiber arts, and a lacemaking book review

Medallion from Handmade Lace & Patterns, by Annette Feldman

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the value of needlework books for finding information about specific fiber arts, like knitting or crochet, or many other things that might interest you. (They can also open up rabbit holes if they show you a new craft.)

I started looking at needlework books as a source for specific crafts before I went to library school, but library school gave me some useful vocabulary about this kind of research.

If I want to find information about knitting lace, I might start with a book about knitting. If I look for books about lace knitting, that is narrowing my search. If I look for needlework books, that’s broadening my search because knitting is a subtopic of needlework.

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Needlework books

Before the web existed, it was sometimes hard to find much information about handcrafts, online or not. (Usenet and Gopher were useful, but insufficient.) I combed the libraries where I lived, and haunted bookstore craft sections.

I learned to broaden the kinds of books I looked at, and if you’re fond of handcraft books, you might want to look at some of these too.

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Book Review: Knit Mitts, by Kate Atherley

When Kate Atherley writes a knitting book, I always want to get a good look at it. She knows her stuff and is quite thorough about explaining it. So I was pleased to see Knit Mitts: Your Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens & Gloves at the library last week. (My book budget is tight, so I like to get a good look at a book before buying it.)

This book is written for everyone from beginning mitten or glove knitters to those who have knit many a pair; for people who want to knit custom mitts to those who just want a rote pattern; for knitters who want a basic design to those who want fancy cables, lace, or colorwork.

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Book review: Decorative Knitting

Swatch from Decorative Knitting

A friend suggested that there’s no reason why my book reviews should be limited to new books, and this made sense to me. So when I acquired a nifty book at a local craft supply reuse shop called the Scrap Exchange, I immediately realized that it was a good candidate.

Decorative Knitting, by Kate Haxell and Luise Roberts, is a book about ways of embellishing and decorating knitting. Many of these are fairly standard techniques, but some of them are quite unusual. When I was flipping through the book, the moment I knew I needed to buy it and look at it more carefully was when I noticed the swatches of inlay.

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Product review: Addi Flexiflips needles

Flexiflips in a star shape

Back in the fall, I started seeing discussion of a new kind of knitting needle set from Addi: Flexiflips. They’re like a cross between double-pointed knitting needles and circular needles. There’s three in a set, designed for knitting items in a small circumference, like mitts or socks, or toys.

I was instantly intrigued. I like my double-pointed needles, but sometimes I do get frustrated with them (most notably when they break or when I pull one out of my knitting by accident).

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