Long Live The Craft Book

There are two types of people in life: the winners and the rest of us. I never win anything. Like, ever. Village fete raffles? Forget it. Company sweepstake? Don’t waste my time. My maternal grandmother only had to look at a raffle ticket in order to win a jar of boiled sweets. But now it’s my turn to shine. After months of entering blog giveaways, I finally won something!

The Fabric Loft recently ran a giveaway for Mandy Shaw’s latest book, Stitch With Love. I really like Mandy Shaw’s writing and have completed several projects from Quilt Yourself Gorgeous. So I was genuinely thrilled when The Fabric Loft told me I’d won this giveaway. What to make first, what to make first…

The shelf bunting?

Or the sewing tidy?

Decisions, decisions! Thank you so much, Fabric Loft, for giving me this delicious dilemma.

I thought this would be an opportune moment to step back and analysis my book buying of late. This is my growing stack of sewing and knitting reference books:

I say ‘reference’ books, as though these purchases are for pure research reasons. I think we all know that’s not the only reason I buy them. It’s the projects, the pictures, the satisfaction of holding something in my hands or resting a book on my knees and feeling inspired.

All of this sits in stark contrast to my fiction reading, which has been transformed by the Kindle I received in February. Remember when I made a cover for it, inspiring the Ugly Amnesty series? At the time, I promised to report back on my experiences with a Kindle. They’ve been life changing. I hope that’s not too grand a statement, but something in the world of publishing has most definitely shifted. I now resent having to buy a physical copy of a novel if it’s not available on Kindle. I find myself reading books I would never before have been seen reading on a tube. Yes, my change of habits has shamed me into admitting to literary snobbery. I used to care what people thought when they looked at the cover of my book. Not any more, because there isn’t a cover any more. At the other end of the spectrum, I can download classics for free. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, anyone? And I no longer have to worry that a brick of a novel is going to hurt my shoulder if I carry it around in my bag for the next four months. I don’t have to count pages any more. Revolutionary? You betcha.

These are massive changes. But here’s where it becomes really interesting. I still feel the need to invest in a physical book that I can love, stroke and put on a bookshelf. It won’t be a novel any more, because I want the convenience of reading fiction on a Kindle. So like a dressmaker who finds herself buying many more accessories because she can no longer find pleasure in buying dresses, I’m now diverting my book buying joy into sewing and knitting illustrated hardback books. The type of book I would once have hesitated over because of the cost. The type of book that won’t really work as an ebook because we need nice, big pictures to show us what to do. The type of book that demands the ritualistic sound of glue cracking as a spine is opened because any type of craft or reading about craft is a ritual.

The Kindle could be the best thing that’s ever happened to craft publishers. Interesting, no?

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10 Responses to Long Live The Craft Book

  1. Ashley says:

    Very interesting. I love my e-reader (OH has a kindle and I borrow that too if he has a book I don’t and I love it) but I definitely wouldn’t want craft books on there. Or textbooks for that matter. For craft books I like to flick through every now and then which isn’t the same with an e-reader. Talking of craft books my copy of The Gentle Art of Knitting arrived today! I’ve had a flick through all of the projects and I think I want to have a go at the gloves. I think so anyway, they do scare me a little bit. lol
    Definitely the sewing tidy first! It’ll be so useful. I keep meaning to make myself one, but never get round to it. It can be my in-between project 🙂
    Ashley x

  2. Ashley says:

    Oh, and congrats on winning the giveaway! 🙂 x

  3. Susan says:

    Oh so glad someone else is as passionate about crafting books as I am! My collection grows and I make nothing from them, but they are so inspiring, so much fun to look at and hold and drool over. But I still can’t get into the Kindle.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    What a great theory! Thanks for sharing it. I think you’re onto something there. Off to write a craft book now. 😉

  5. Congrats on your win! Yeah I’m finding myself reading books on the kindle I’d never read in public. But I really love it and it’s hardly far from my hand most days. I’ve had to start leaving it at home so that I don’t get hooked on a book and not sew when I get home!

  6. Justine says:

    I also have a weakness for beautiful craft books . Yes you can’t produce gorgeous photos on a reader. I just recently have started to collect vintage sewing books too. My oldest is from 1921. Love your blog.

  7. mooncalf says:

    Congratulations! I saw that competition and I’m intrigued by the book. It gets good reviews on Amazon.

    I’m interested in what you say about the Kindle too. But the cost and the fact I can’t transfer my existing books to a Kindle mean I probably won’t buy them. Besides, about a year ago I discovered downloadable audiobooks that I can listen to while knitting and that don’t make my tummy queasy on the bus to work and I’m pretty much hooked on them now.

    And I have a mountain of craft books. I wish wish wish I had time to really *use* them all.

    • Yes, as I’ve got older my childhood travel sickness seems to have returned with a vengeance and reading on the move leaves me horribly queasy now. Good idea about audiobooks!

  8. Lizzet says:

    I am very pleased you liked the book. Just like you, I never win giveaways, until not long ago I enter just for fun a giveaway with Three Red Apples, I had even forgotten about it, until Anabelle told me. Oh I was happy!

    I have never used a Kindle, I do love the smell of paper, and holding a book it is a bit of a ritual for me too. But I guess it has its advantages, and I know, some time soon, I will be shifting my habits when it comes to books, and like you say, I might then have more money to splash in craft, decoration and art books that seem to be a bit more expensive that the fiction books.

  9. MissA says:

    I have recently found your blog and reading through your old posts has given me a great giggle! Thanks so much!! However, I’m surprised no-one has mentioned the best part of e-readers…you can read them in the dark!! I’m still totally amazed that I can lie in bed, snuggled down in the dark…and READ!!!

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