Celebrating colour and craft books I've read lately

I love a good book, and I especially love a good book or two for Christmas. For me, they provide the perfect excuse to escape the washing up (it’s honest if nothing else) and provide entertainment if there’s something on the telebox that I’m not that into. So when my presents are plenty of books, there’s little chance of moving me off the sofa for the afternoon, which sounds ideal to me.

This Christmas was one of those book rich Christmases, and as well as the craft books which are later in this post, there’s a couple that celebrate colour and pattern which are quite apt for me. And to accentuate the celebration of colour I’ve photographed all of these on my new scarf, full of ‘my’ colours and handmade by my mum, who’s clearly been paying attention to my posts as it’s finished off with handmade pom poms - I told you pom poms would be big, didn’t I?

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

Now this is a fascinating book. As you can see on the cover it’s billed as “The book Charles Darwin used to describe colours in nature on his voyage on the HMS Beagle” - I mean, a book to help you describe colours, really. At the start of the book, which was first published in 1814, it says it has “proper coloured examples of the different tints.” And sure enough a few pages on there are proper examples of greys, blacks, blues and more with names to match.



Each colour has a number and a name, as well as description of its make up. For example “No. 9. Ash Grey, is the characteristic colour of Werner’s greys; he gives no description of its component parts; it is composed of snow white, with portions of smoke and French grey, and a very little yellowish grey and carmine red.”

Now I will no longer have the excuse of knowing what colour I’m talking about. And I have the vision of myself carrying this around Michael-Portillo-like (but without the clashing outfits) while on the hunt for the perfect home decor!

Spectrum, Heritage Patterns and Colours

Not content with colour, now I’ve got pattern too. Sheer heaven!

This book, which draws on the V&A collection and comprises patterns that “simply felt exciting” though I’m sure that narrowing the selection down was even harder than choosing the photos for the year book I’ve just finished. The book aims to be “both a compendium of beautiful patterns for inspiration and a functional tool”, and really is celebration of pattern and colour and no doubt, is just a splash in the ocean of the V&A collection.

It covers patterns and colours from the 15th century through to the 21st century, and while I’ve only dipped in and out of this book, I’ve a feeling that that’s something I’ll be doing for a long while yet - I could be a while!

V&A Spectrum Heritage Patterns and colours

Ah yes - I thought you deserved to see my scarf without it being adorned with a book, fab isn’t it? Strangely though, I almost bought this wool for my wrap, that I’m going to make up as I go at some point. I thought it looked familiar, and more familiar than me just liking it and having seen it before - then it struck me, it was the same as my new scarf…

My new hand made scarf

Granny Squares Weekend, Emma Varnham

I do like a Granny Square, and quite early on in my crochet adventure decided these would probably be my thing, especially for their transportability. I’ve been looking for ideas to take me beyond blankets and I think this book will do just that. I love the bag on the cover - which also reminds me of a patchwork bag I had (and could have made myself) many years ago. There’s coasters, fingerless mittens and even a bobble hat that might tempt me at some point, but not until my current project list has reduced a little.

Granny Squares Weekend

12 Months of Crochet with Red Agape, Mandy Sullivan

Ah, just look at that creation on the cover. But what’s also great about this book is the lesson in colour which it begins with, as it seems putting colour together to look this good, isn’t that easy. The book’s also split into seasons, so if you fancy a spring project, it’s easy to find just the thing. And funny I mention spring, as the project (apart from the one on the cover) is a Spring Wreath - we’ll see, most likely not this spring, but maybe.

12 months of crochet with Redagape

And the blanket on the cover, that’s called the Hexagon Starlight Dancer Blanket and is an Australian summer snowflake, which Mandy assures isn’t as hard to complete as it looks. There’s an autumn tote bag, and a crocheted bouquet. My project list really doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

Modern Quilts, Block by Block, Emily Dennis

There’s 12 quilt projects in this book, and once again i’m a goner. I’ve not even finished cutting out the quilt I started last year, nor even blinked at the ones that would follow and yet here I am planning more. My excuse, well apart from they’re lovely, is that they’re very me. If I ever get them finished my bed will look like the reverse of the Princess and the Pea, instead of sleeping on all the mattresses, it’ll be the quilts on top of me (until I get too hot, and throw them off of course!)

Modern quilts block by block

The challenge of course will be deciding which one, and then resisting the urge to buy material to use.  I’ve a thing at the moment for stars with quilts on.  That said my current favourite is called ‘Hopscotch’ but it’s quite likely that it’s bright colours are swaying me away from the star version, called First Place.  What else I like about this book is the project gallery at its start, which allows me to drool over and compare all of the quilts at once.  What I wish it had though, is the quilt’s names, not just the page numbers on the pictures.  I’m sure I’ll cope though.

Secret Garden, Johanna Basford

This was an inspired present choice by MOH, which is also code for he had no idea what he was buying as I put this in his Amazon basket and he paid for it.  The best kind of presents, well apart from those that come in small boxes from the jewellers.  I like Johanna’s colouring books, and you might remember I met her at an adult colouring evening with Staedtler back in 2016, and she was lovely and quite obviously very talented but totally unassuming too.

secret garden adult colouring book

And how could I resist a garden-based colouring book, a secret one at that. I hadn’t spotted the treasure hunt element to this, and if I’m honest, I’m still undecided about that. I’m sure I’ll cope, but perhaps I need to sit down and spend some more time using it to relax me after often a frantic day at work.

Have you read any of these, or read any great craft books lately? I probably shouldn’t ask, as I’m sure you’ll tempt me to try a few more, and add even more projects to my project to do list!