Craftfulness

I recently found my crafting tote filled with two in-progress blankets, yarn, and crochet hooks. I’ve been spending my nights crocheting as a way to decompress and I’m enjoying how it has become a part of my settling in for the night. Slowing my busy mind and body to focus on the pattern I’m creating gets me back to myself. Crafting in this way provides a form of mindfulness meditation and brings its therapeutic elements into my daily life.

A few books in our collection touch on this very subject:

Craftfulness: Mend Yourself by Making Things by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin

Davidson and Tahsin illuminate how craft practice re-introduces balance into our lives and our habits by cultivating creativity, carving out space for ourselves, promoting focus, creating a safe space for failure, and, ultimately, allowing us to make peace with imperfection. Whether you knit, crochet, sculpt, weave, quilt, tat, draw, or bind books—working toward small, attainable goals gives us a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and control that is proven to positively impact our mental health and happiness. (Goodreads)

A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning
by Eric Gorges and Jon Sternfeld

“Despite our technological advances, we’re busier than ever, our lives more frazzled. That’s why the handmade object, created with care and detail, embodying a history and a tradition, is enormously powerful. It can cut through so much and speak in ways that we don’t often hear, or that we’ve forgotten.” —Eric Gorges, from A Craftsman’s Legacy

Gorges identifies values that are useful for all of us: taking time to slow down and enjoy the process, embracing failure, knowing when to stop and when to push through, and accepting that perfection is an illusion. (Goodreads)

The Knit Vibe: A Knitter’s Guide to Creativity, Community, and Well-being for Mind, Body & Soul by Vickie Howell

Dive into a special section on the health benefits of the craft. “Pick up some yarn, start where you are, get creative” is the message Howell weaves through the book. Gathering inspiration from all facets of the knitting universe, the book offers chapters on The Makings (go-to knitted gifts), The Surroundings (cool projects for your knitting space), and The Intention (vibe-y rituals, yoga, and self-care every knitter—and would-be knitter—craves). (Goodreads)

The Mindful Maker: 35 Creative Fabric Projects to Focus the Mind and Soothe the Soul by Clare Youngs

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to find time to slow down and make time for the simple joy of making, so Clare Youngs has designed a wide range of beautiful and tempting projects to help you experience the pleasure and satisfaction that making something with your own hands can bring. The best thing about practicing mindfulness through craft is that you have something tangible to show at the end, and you can start small with the coral reef-inspired embroidery hoops, or just by making pompoms and tassels to be added to the edge of a pillow or blanket. (Goodreads)

For more inspiration checkout this Craftfulness book list!

~posted by Kara P.

Fresh Transgender and Non-binary Fiction

As readers’ interest in diverse voices and experiences continues to expand, it can be challenging to keep up. Here’s a variety of recent novels and stories that reflect on aspects of transgender and non-binary lives and identities; see our accompanying list for more.

Continue reading “Fresh Transgender and Non-binary Fiction”

Unexpected Embroidery Content

There are times as a reader when you pick up a book and you think you know exactly what you’re getting: this is an historical romance; this is a novel about a family. And you’re right, but you also discover that it is deeply about something else. That was my experience with the two novels below, novels which contained a surprising-to-me amount of high quality embroidery content.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite (historical romance)
In the early 1800s Lucy, a scientist and an astronomer, has spent her youth helping her father with his work and publishing work under his name. After his death, she travels to London to apply to the Polite Science Society, a premier scientific organization of the day, and to try her hand at translating a French astronomy text. Turned away by the Society because she’s a woman, Lucy finds refuge with Catherine, a society widow who spent years supporting her explorer husband and is now interested in being Lucy’s patron. There is a lot here about the science of the era and the way it existed as a kind of gentleman’s pursuit; the roles available to women; and, for sure, the love that grows between Lucy and Catherine (this is a romance novel, so expect some steamy sex scenes). But I devoured it because of the detail lavished on Catherine’s hobby: embroidery. She embroiders maps, and botanical motifs, and the night sky on a finely woven scarf! The description of Catherine’s work made me hungry to see the way embroiderers blend colors, how elements of the natural world can be depicted, how craft becomes art. Continue reading “Unexpected Embroidery Content”

Upon Losing A Pet

Losing a pet is always hard. I recently lost my 20 year old cat, Stella. She was older then both of my children. Stella and my daughter had an unbreakable bond. My daughter’s first word at 8 months was “itty” as the cat would head bump against her. My daughter at times tried to say it was her cat but Stella and I really knew who the owner was.

Continue reading “Upon Losing A Pet”

Your Year of …Everything!

What does the year 2020 hold in store for you? Are you struggling to keep any resolutions? Any new things you’ve set out to learn, or kinds of reading you plan to do? Perhaps you’re looking to pick up some new habits, or drop some old ones. Authors and publisher have plenty of annual ideas to capture your interest, inspire your resolve and widen your experience during your next trip around the sun.

Inspired by C.J. Koch’s novel The Year of Living Dangerously (or the film adaptation), a lot of books seem to be about doing things dangerously. Did you know that the list of things you can do dangerously includes writing, reading, learning, running, dreaming, loving, dancing, voting, and knitting? Pun-loving hygge-hounds will also appreciate a Year of Living Danishly. Continue reading “Your Year of …Everything!”