Over the years I have bought (and sometimes been given) quite a few craft books. Mostly sewing, quilting and embroidery books. I choose craft books for their instructions or certain techniques, for their patterns or sometimes just because I think they will inspire me to try something new.
I thought about why I like some books better than others, I think there are a few points that everyone will agree on and others are possibly more prone to discussion (and yes please let me know what you think). In no particular order here's a few things that I think every Craft book should have.
1. Clear instructions, written in normal every day language, that are supported by well drawn diagrams or good photos. Generally I like diagrams better than photos for instruction, especially for (embroidery) stitches.
|Patterns inside Lotta Jansdotter's book 'Simple Sewing'|
2 A good and practical layout. A font that is readable. In some cases a spiral bound book can be handy. Actual paper patterns in the book (for sewing and embroidery) I just find that if I look for a project and see that I have to enlarge a pattern I'm often inclined to find another one that doesn't involve enlarging the pattern.
|Sophie Simpson's book 'Storyland Cross Stitch' with beautiful illustrations by Julianna Swaney|
3. Stylish and creative illustrations and good photography. Ok maybe not a 'must' for a craft book because Not Very Stylish Books can be a great resource too of course but it's so nice and inspiring to leaf through a beautiful craft book like Sophie Simpson's Storyland Cross Stitch. If I ever get to write a book I hope it will be just as stylish as Sophie's book.
|Lucie Summer's book 'Quilt Improv'|
4. A distinct personal style or vision. Often these are books in which all the projects are designed by one person. Quilt improv by Lucie Summers is a good example. She has a unique style and inspiring (new to me) approach to quilting (free hand cutting curves!).
5. I love craft books that implement confidence and make you want to explore and try out new techniques. I learned the basics of sewing with Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing and Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing got me into quilting. The quilt in Amy's book is really simple and might be frowned upon by serious quilters but it was the perfect first step for this non-quilter to start with!
So what do you think is important in a craft book? What makes you want to buy (and use!) a book? What annoys you in craft books you have bought? What is your favourite? Let me know!