This year I used lots of half-off coupons to purchase craft-related books I thought I needed. Some of them have been more useful than others but I've been happy to have them as references for a variety of projects.
Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting
This book has an extensive stitch reference section, as well as some interesting information on the history of knitting. It does cover some of the basics of knitting but I don't know how helpful it would have been to me if I didn't already know how to knit.
The New Handmade: Simple Sewing for Contemporary Style (That Patchwork Place) by Cassie Barden
This book changed my life as far as sewing is concerned. I know I've mentioned it here on the blog before but I just cannot say enough about how great this book is. I would say anyone who wants to learn how to make some very simple but useful projects would benefit from this book. It would help if you already knew how to use your sewing machine but other than that, this book explains everything you need to know in perfect detail with very clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions. This book has helped me conquer my zipper phobias and demystified some of the trickier elements of sewing for me. I highly recommend this book!
Simply Sublime Bags: 30 No-Sew, Low-Sew Projects by Jodi Kahn
This is such a fun book because it outlines some great sewing alternatives like staples and duct tape- how cool is that?! If you're looking for some funky ideas for quirky bags and stylish purses, this book is for you.
Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needs by Lexie Barnes
I like that this book explains how to make your own bag patterns but also includes some basic versions of all the bags in the book. There are some hip and funky projects in this book that have been very inspiring.
Sew What! Skirts: 16 Simple Styles You Can Make with Fabulous Fabrics by Francesca DenHartog
This book has very detailed instructions for making your own skirt patterns and also explains how to make some really cute projects. I benefited from the basic skirt instructions when I made my wrap skirts.
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques for Sewing, Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing, plus 150 Inspired Projects from A to Z by Martha Stewart Living Magazine
I am not a huge fan of Martha Stewart but she and her people know what they are talking about. This book came out right after my sewing obsession went into full swing so it only seemed natural that I should own a copy of this very extensive reference book. This book will also just look cool sitting on the shelf in the sewing room I hope to have some day.
2-at-a-Time Socks: Revealed Inside. . . The Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle Works for any Sock Pattern! by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
While I have yet to successfully knit two socks at a time, I appreciate that I understand the concept of how to do it because of this book. This book has also been nice to have for the wonderful variety of sock patterns.
Socks A La Carte by F&W Publications
I have enjoyed the mix-and-match pattern style of this book. It's full of instructions for so many fun socks, I've barely scratched the surface of possibilities. It is nice to have several different styles of heels and toes laid out in one book.
Pints & Purls by F&W Publications
Okay, I'll admit that I mostly wanted this book because I loved the title. It just seemed like something I should have. There are some super fun things in it but I have yet to actually knit any of them. The authors of the book claim that the projects are designed to be easily knit in public places- like in a bar, for example. What a fun idea.
The Feisty Stitcher: Sewing Projects with Attitude by Susan Wasinger
Even though I have yet to make any of the projects from this book, the unique materials the instructions suggest have inspired me and helped open my eyes to some exciting possibilities in sewing. Anyone for a wallet made from a bike tire inner tube?
How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew by Erin Bried
I like the idea of this book; unfortunately, it reads more like a novelty gift than a how-to manual. There are some good, useful instructions though and I love the life stories of the older women the author interviewed for the book. If you're looking for a go-to reference book, don't bother with this one. If you want some general instructions or just a list of things you should go out and learn, you'll probably be satisfied with this book.
I think 2010 should go down as "The Year of Crafting." Somehow I managed to make lots of things this year thanks, in part, to all of the wonderful crafting resources I've had at my fingertips. Let's hope the new year brings more inspiration and more half-off coupons!