Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule
This book + me = LOVE.
Seriously. I love reading the SouleMama blog on a daily basis. I think her blog was one of the first I started following. And this book is like her blog in print form. I love the style and thought that went into all the projects. And I’ve made quite a few of them over the years.
The premise of the book is similar to ImprovSewing that I reviewed on Monday: reusing old materials to make something new and useful. One thing I appreciate in craft books or cook books is having a little blurb about the project/recipe above the pattern/recipe. Amanda Blake Soule has a way with words that is so powerful and profound but still approachable. That’s a good word for Handmade Home: approachable. Everything is handmade, repurposed, and beautiful. Of the six essays Amanda wrote for the book, I think the one that speaks to me the most is Comfortably Worn. I feel like that is my philosophy with materiel goods, well worn and well loved.
So far, I’ve made the paper-mâché bowls, a towel rug out of the wildest fabric in the world and a purple towel, the pillowcase dress into a shirt for myself, a fiber garland, and the Broadturn bag, which make wonderful library/knitting bags. I want to make almost everything in here! Have I gotten around to it yet? Uh, no. Do I want to? Uh, yes!
Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques by Nicole Blum and Deborah Immergut
I’m a sew-er (stitcher? sewist? not a seamstress!). I don’t really like following patterns all that often, unless I do. I’m also thrifty (read: cheap) and don’t have access to a good fabric store nearby. That’s probably why my knitting gets more of my attention. However, I recently got my first sewing machine, a Singer that I named Miss Singer, which has rekindled my love of sewing.
This book makes me want to sew all the things. Seriously! Improv? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sewing? Yes! That is how I sew. Of course, I don’t love every single pattern, but I would love to make many of them. I don’t know how many times I’ve checked it out from the library…. I like flipping through the book simply for inspiration. Oooo… I like the way they did that, but what if I did it this way? How about adding some buttons? Or rick-rack? Or just doodling all over the fabric? Yeah, I like that!
I’ve made a few different projects from the book, like the super jersey bags my own way and a few bracelets. Most of the projects are made out of jersey, which I have had baaaaaddddd experiences with. *ahem, sewing machine chomping the jersey and NOT LETTING GO!* Yeah, stuff like that. I would like to make myself a jersey tunic using this book. I keep checking it out to do so, but then three weeks go by. The book is due and where is the tunic you were planning on making, hmm? If only I was so diligent with my sewing as I am with my knitting.
I really recommend this book, maybe not to just-starting-out stitchers, but to those with a smidge more practice. It’s a great book. 🙂