Want to learn a new craft? Why not try Knooking?

Knooking is a new trend in yarn craft it is in essence a combination of knitting and crotchet. Cico books https://rylandpeters.com/have just published a book by  designer, knit & crotchet author  Laura Strutt called Get Knooking .

Yes it is a strange term, but a clever way to create knitted fabrics with the use of a single, cord strung hook. The author says she came to knooking via both knitting and crotchet but claims that even a complete novice can pick up the technique easily.

Apart from the fact it is slightly easier to transport that knitting, having only one implement, that is a crotchet hook with the eye of a large needle at its end, I was not sure of the benefit of this new craft.

However what it allows the maker to do is to create cloth that looks like it has been knitted rather than crotched. In the book five different fabrics have been created including stocking stitch, garter stitch, double rib, single rib, moss stitch. As well as the knitted fabrics you can also create crotched fabrics.

There are small easy projects to tackle first. These include a zipped purse, a headband and arm warmers. The intermediate projects include a very nice block-colour cushion a nautical rope handled bag and knitted storage boxes. The larger projects are more challenging such as a slouch blanket cardigan and a beautiful infinity scarf.

The book comes with a free knooking hook.

So happy knooking.

Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces

35 Contemporary Projects for Garden Furniture & Accessories

By Hester van Overbeek

Photography by James Gardiner

Stuck for something to make? Little or no money then this is the book for you. Follow the instructions within and you can make a huge variety of items for the garden. These include benches, tables, a covered store for wood, a planter and much more. There are clear instructions throughout and a useful guide to using pallet wood, which includes taking a pallet apart and cleaning it before you start.

There are guidelines on the tools you need and how to use them. As well as larger items such as a pallet sofa and planter bench, there are smaller accessories such as a garden trug, tea light and candle-holders and a very nice white washed lantern. I love the birdhouses too.

I have repurposed a couple of Pallets in my time, adding the odd shelf, wheels and coat of paint or upended to make a vertical flower wall. This book has an element of this too but goes far beyond it as it uses and recycles this free valuable resource and that is wood.

         Hester van Overbeek is a keen multi-crafter who works for many different craft magazines and has written four craft books already. She has a very successful web site that feature her books and video’s and how to projects.

A perfect book to buy now, for making all those outside projects, that will enhance your garden or yard and prove invaluable this summer.

Published by Cico books £12.99

Want to create a timeless Mid Century look in your home?

 Then look no further than the new book ‘Mid-Century Modern Living’

The Mini Moderns Guide to Pattern and Style, by Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire.

In 2006 Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire launched Mini Moderns, the company that specializes in mid twentieth century inspired, applied pattern. They are known for their striking use of pattern and colour across a range of products including wallpaper, fabrics, ceramics and household accessories.

        The designs are inspired by childhood memories, popular culture and the designs of the mid century greats.

        The book kicks off with Keith and Mark’s mid century inspiration. They then break down the key components that make up a mid-century look- including colour, pattern, materials and accents. Chapters are divided into seven interior looks that explore different aspects of mid century design.

     For a quirky bit of fun, a mid century menu is provided to go with each look plus music of the period.

        As they point out, no one wants to live in a museum so they show ways of incorporating their designs with original fifties and sixties pieces – design classics with a few bits of kitsch thrown in. This should result in you being able to make a space that reflects you and the way you wish to live.

         The Mini Modern Mantra

Build your interior around your passions

start with your collections and cherished possessions.

Don’t Fake it

Splash out on one original mid-century piece, rather than a room of poor quality replicas.

Embrace Pattern and Colour

Don’t be scared, it won’t bite unless you want it to!

Mix old and New

High street basics make the perfect foil for junk shop treasures.

Reuse what you can

Adapt, repurpose and repaint to create personalized space that doesn’t cost the earth.

The reader is  shown where to find the inspiration, the elements that make up the following key looks:

Studio townhouse

Bistro fabulous

Let the sunshine in

Granny takes a trip

Ocean Blue

Beatnik Beach House

Scandi Rustic

There is an excellent resources guide at the end of the book. Images from  style icons such as Robin Day, Hans Wenger, Lucienne Day and Gio Ponti are included.

This is a fabulous book and design resource that you will want to dip into time and again with stylish photography by Jan Baldwin.

Mid-Century Modern Living by Mark Hampshire is published by Kyle Books, www.octopusbooks.co.uk, £20. Photography by Jan Baldwin.

A tree in the House

Flowers for your home, special occasions and every day byhttps://www.annabellehickson.com/ Annabelle Hickson published by Hardie Grant

It was the name and the cover shot that made me want to review this book. Both capture the imagination.

The author is a writer, photographer, former-city-slicker who now lives with her husband on a pecan farm in the Dumaresq Valley on the New South Wales Queensland border. She has three children and combines all that entails with being a gardener cook reader and celebrator in the beauty of life.

The book is interspersed with gorgeous snapshots of Annabelle’s picturesque rural life. Above is a lovely shot of her tall willowy figure walking with her beautiful children and followed by a trusty family dog.        

I would not describe this as a practical manual of flower arranging it is far to beautiful to be just that, and you will want to display its beauty on your coffee table. It is a useful book too, with practical hints and tips including images of what to do and not do when it comes to flower to vase proportions. Preparing both vessels and flowers are covered, as is making flower friendly water.

The chapter ‘around the table’ has beautiful images especially of outside dining. The book is shot in Australia so obviously the seasons are different to the Northern Hemisphere. All kinds of celebrations are covered including weddings and funerals. It is so lovely to see something  intimate and less formal than usual, to decorate a coffin. 

I think when you have read this and taken in all the lovely shots you will want to be Annabelle and to own her life.  Her husband is rather yummy too. He features holding a bunch of freshly picked cotton he has grown just before the big harvest begins.

A lovely and inspiring book that truly celebrate the joy that flowers bring into our lives. Published by Hardie Grant. £25

Weave This

Over 30 fun projects for the modern weaver By Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis

Francesca Kletz and Brooke Dennis are the partnership who started and run The London Loom, a weaving studio in Hackney,  East London

         London Loom hosts both community workshops and smaller classes where adults and children work alongside each other inspiring creativity. As well as beginners weaving Francesca and Brooke also teach other crafts. This book is not your conventional weaving book, there are many styles and methods of weaving that are covered in the book.

Not all the projects are done on a loom, however the basic different steps are covered, as are tools and materials. These include interlocking, curves, soumak, rya knots and loop stitch.

         There are exciting and inventive ideas such as making a giant loom from a clothing rail or creating your own yarn from scraps of fabric. Tassel making is covered. One is shown how to weave a letter or even how to use a spade to create a wall hanging. Learn how to ice dye and to make a woven fringed back for a jacket.

If you want to create interior accessories there is a really cool shade, an upcycled chair with a new woven seat  a puja mat and some great geometric cushions and a rug. This book is full of exciting projects that takes what can be quite a worthy po faced activity and turns it into something that is fun.

If you want to start a new craft this is a bargain at £14.99.

Published by Hardie Grant Books

A book for art and cat lovers : History of Art in 21 Cats

by Nia Gouldhttps://niaski.co.uk.

This humorous and witty picture book uses the cat as a guide to enlighten us about the different and fascinating art movements throughout history. This is Art history as you’ve never experienced it before- with a large helping of cattitude. From the old masters to the modernists, the moggy as muse.

Feline friends have stalked the studios of many artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keefe, so, it only seems entirely fitting to enlist 21 cultured cats to navigate a journey through art history.

From ancient Egyptian and Byzantine art to the wacky and wildly successful world of the Young British Artists, explore the styles that characterized important art movements and the artists who led them. Each cat is depicted in the style of the art movement that is being shown. For example the Egyptian cat has an ornate eye and the colour palette of the Egyptians is explained.

         To show renaissance art, the Mona Lisa has been represented in cat form.

We have Rococo cats, impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism, Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism. Dada, Destijl, Magic Realism, Art Deco and all the major art movements of the twentieth century are represented. The book ends with a feline timeline. This will make a great gift for any cat lover.  

From Michael O’Mara books £12.99

Fine Little Day, Elizabeth Dunker, designer and visual communicator, with 153K instagram followers

Ideas, collections and interiors

This book was published in October 2015 but it is still beautiful and relevant today. It encompasses the world of Fine Little Day, you’re invited to take a peek into the fascinating life of blogger, artist, designer and photographer Elisabeth Dunker. We meet Elisabeth in her studio, where she presents her workplace and sanctuary, before she introduces us to one of her greatest loves – collecting!

With beaded baskets, crochet potholders, vintage embroidery patterns, Scandinavian crockery and retro novels just as a start…

Elisabeth gives us a tour of her own eclectic home. Bursting with colour and pattern, her Gothenburg apartment is an enviable mix of handmade blankets, vintage finds, bold printed wallpaper and fabrics, smart storage and classic Scandinavian furniture.

She also gives us plenty of ideas for recreating the look, with quick and easy projects to try at home: pressing flowers, re-using textiles in a patchwork, making beaded baskets, decorating wooden spoons or printing a sweatshirt…

There are also images of Elisabeth’s creative friends and partners we also meet Japanese artist Mogu Takahashi, illustrator Henning Trollbäck and hear about her successful collaboration with homeware brand House of Rym, to name a few.

This inspiring book is full of pictures, fun and heart and is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in interior design and handmade.

Elisabeth Dunker was educated at the HDK School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg. She founded her blog, Fine Little Day, in 2007. The blog reaches an international audience and features interiors, art and craft. The blog has been featured in Vogue Living, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and more. It has been listed in The Independent (50 best interiors websites 2013), Vogue Japan (top 3 blogs for moms and kids, 2012), and The Times Online UK (50 of the world’s best design blogs). Elisabeth has designed homewares for Urban Outfitters and has worked as a stylist for IKEA.

£17.99 published by Pavilion