Book Title: Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit and Crochet
Author: Mags Kandis
Publisher: Interweave Press
Copyright Date: 2010
Format: Trade Paperback
Number of Pages: 136
Cover Price: $24.95 US dollars
This book presents the reader with a variety of craft patterns and recipes intended for creating handmade gifts for friends and loved ones. The projects are divided into two sections: "gifts for the body" and "gifts for the soul". This division seems a little strange; The "gifts for the body" section is straightforward enough, but I had to wonder how exactly a netbook cozy is a "gift for the soul." Once I got past that, I enjoyed the book.
The author is skilled at many different types of needlework and other creative endeavors, including knitting, crochet, felting, needle felting, embroidery, sewing and cooking. The projects featured in this book include a mix of all of the above.
If you’re a multi-talented crafter like she is, you’ll get the most value out of this book. If you’re primarily a knitter, this book includes plenty of outstanding patterns for you to choose from.
For those of you who don’t knit, be aware that you won’t be able to use the majority of the projects in this book. There are only 7 crochet projects included. From the title, it wasn’t clear to me that there are so few. But – it still might be a worthwhile purchase for you if you love the crochet patterns that are included. If you pay the cover price of the book, that works out to costing roughly $3.56 per crochet pattern, which is still perfectly acceptable to me. I’ve certainly paid more for patterns I like.
Three of the crochet projects require felting, so if felting isn't your thing then that narrows the field even further.
These are the crochet patterns included in the book:
- Felted Granny Square Bag: Granny squares are ever-popular, and since this project offers one more way to use and combine them, it has mass appeal. While there are a zillion different granny bag patterns out there, this one stands out. It is lined, and it has a few unique details to differentiate it, like the hand-stamped greeting on the lining.
The only downside is that the finishing instructions for this bag are a bit vague. I was disappointed that there are no work-in-progress photos to guide me through. Even considering that, it’s a great project.
- Crochet Flower Brooch: This project is gorgeous, and so inspiring. The flower has a bobble center; beaded fringes dangle from the flower. Love this!
- Cheerful Earmuffs: Cute, unique, innovative, and creative. What a fun project! The only downside: The author recycled the frame from an old pair of earmuffs to create these -- which is good for the environment, but that doesn't help you figure out where to get your own earmuff frame. Mags suggests going to a local rummage shop. Great, but what if you don't find any?
- Gilded Mesh Scarf: I love everything about this; it's chic, elegant, versatile and easy. I'm thinking everyone on my gift list would love one of these -- a definite winner!
- Colorful Crochet Flowers: Playful, fun, and creative -- I can see making bunches of these for many different purposes, and not just as gifts.
- Felted Yule Bling: These are felted crochet circles with embroidered details. The embroidered designs are snowflakes, so even if you don't celebrate Christmas maybe you could find a use for these. They're chic and simple.
- Felted Trivet and Coasters: These are felted crochet circles with details made by needlefelting and embroidery.
- Weekend Socks: This is my favorite project in the book. I think these socks are fab! They're knit in three different colors of worsted weight yarn. They look like they'd be a delightfully challenging project.
- Modern Mangas (Sleeves): British fair isle meets Peruvian style in these colorful arm warmers. The sleeves are worked from a color chart, and then you work embroidered designs on top.
- Felted Egg Cozies: This is one of those hit-or-miss projects. If any of your friends need a knitted hat for their breakfast eggs, then maybe this is the pattern for you. Otherwise... I thought the project was good for a giggle, but there isn't a single person on my gift list who would "get it" if I presented them with one of these. However, there are plenty of people who collect egg cups; maybe this project would appeal to those people.
- Cabled Boot Toppers: I think these are an interesting concept; the author designed them because she didn't like seeing handmade socks hidden under boots. Cool idea, but I'd hesitate to give these as a gift; I'm not inclined to spend hours attempting to explain the entire concept to the gift recipient. I think perhaps knitters will get it, but everyone else? I'm not convinced.
Other projects include a baby jacket, a shoulder cozy, a tea cozy, paper rose napkin rings, mittens, a slouch cap, a ribbed hat, and more.
If you enjoy felting, this book gives you a broad range of different projects to play with. I counted 16 different felted projects in the book; I mentioned a few of them already. A few more:
- Felted leaf brooch
- Embroidered arm cozies
- Lavendar sachets -- These are sewn from linen and accented with tiny felted fabric scraps
Overall, this is a beautiful and creative book, although it is a little bit schizophrenic in its approach. There's hopefully a little something for everyone contained within its pages. I'm pleased to recommend this book to knitters; I do think crocheters will enjoy the book too, but because there are so few crochet projects, I recommend that crocheters take a look at the projects before purchasing the book.
I rated this book at 4 stars; if you own a copy of this book, you are invited to rate and review it as well.