Book Review

I love books. I love reading them and buying them and owning them. And I love sharing books. Here are 2 of my recent finds. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been to me.

book review

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is exactly what it says it is, but not in the way you think. I thought it would be a book with 20 very different sweaters. Instead Ann Budd addresses 6 basic sweater silhouettes and writes out the patterns in 6 gauges for sizes from toddler to large adult (there are a lot of tables involved). As a new designer this book is also a great introduction into the world of sweater design. I had no idea how to write a sweater pattern or how to shape a sleeve or a collar. Now I do.

How to Sew a Button: and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew is as humorous as it is informative. Erin Bried covers topics from cooking to clothes care in a lighthearted manner, drawing from information she gathered from a panel of genuine grandmothers. This book is definitely worth a read.

A Well-Kept Home

A book shop is a pleasant place to while away an hour. And, of course, one cannot leave a book store without a book. This is the most recent addition to my library:


What a refreshing and thought-provoking book. I feel like I’ve sat down with women of many generations and been told all their secrets of keeping a home. I long for a simpler life where my main concern is how to keep my linens white and my silver polished. That life may never come back to our culture as a whole, but I can capture pockets of it by using the knowledge and traditions of yesteryear (also, lots of lemon, salt, lavender, and soap).

Here is what Amazon has to say about the book:

This classic volume … provides time-tested advice and old-fashioned wisdom for maintaining a lovely and inviting home. The frantic quality of modern life and our increasing reliance on technology and on manufactured goods has submerged our awareness of the inherited and seasonal patterns of effective domestic household management. A Well-Kept Home revives the more natural methods used by our forebears to run their homes, reflecting on the traditional way that earlier generations cooked, cleaned, decorated, groomed, and gardened. In this exquisitely illustrated book, Laura Fronty draws on her own grandmother’s life experiences in the home and the garden, providing helpful tips and natural solutions for effective food preparation, cleaning methods for clothes and the interior, restorative beauty treatments, and basic approaches to gardening. She emphasizes the satisfaction gained from even the most mundane of tasks and offers indispensable tips for activities that cover a variety of domestic themes, such as making bitter orange marmalade or instant shortcrust pastry, lighting a wood fire, treating wooden floors with wax, mixing ivy water for cleaning delicate fabrics, and preparing lily oil as a face moisturizer. A Well-Kept Home transforms our approach to the daily chores surrounding the upkeep of a home. The practical advice and natural recipes make it possible to take real pleasure in essential household duties, while at the same time evoking the atmosphere and spirit of a time gone by.


Adventures in Yarn Farming

Doesn’t a yarn farm sound wonderful? I mean, just take a minute to imagine the possibilities….

Barbara Parry has done it all. When she and her husband retired they bought a farm and started raising sheep. Their flock ranges from 60-100 sheep, depending on the year. They shear their sheep, grow their own hay, supervise lambing season, dye the (spun in a mill) yarn from their fleeces, and everything else that goes alone with running a farm. Their retirement sounds like even more work than their careers, but by their own account, they are loving it!

I love the idea of raising sheep, spinning my own wool, growing a garden. Being self-sufficient. Barbara’s book is a funny, compassionate, and informative guide to what sheep farming is really like.

I wonder if she needs an apprentice….