Recently, a children’s book, “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, appeared on my desk. Rarely do I come across books about knitting aimed at children, so it caught my interest. The story is a simple one and will appeal to grownups who knit as well as to children who don’t.
The story goes like this: One winter, a little girl finds a box filled with yarn of all colors. She knits herself a sweater and one for her dog, and yarn is still left in the box — which turns out to be a magic box. The story takes a bit of a sinister turn (but in a good way) toward the end when the archduke hears about the magic box and wants it for himself, but the ending is a happy one.
Klassen’s illustrations set a perfect black, gray and white tone, in keeping with a story set in winter, enlivened by patches of color indicating the things the little girl knit. These splashes of color look as if the artist took a scrap of knitting, rolled it with paint and pressed it to paper to leave an imprint of knit stitches behind.
This book is sure to become a classic, especially in climates where winter rules. Now all we need is a sequel featuring a magic bolt of fabric that never runs out.
The cost of the book is $16.99. For information, visit harpercollinschildrens.com.
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting toys, often in the shape of tiny animals. “Ami Ami Dogs 2” by Mitsuki Hoshi introduces crocheters to amigurumi by providing step-by-step photographs from start to finish. Each dog is made in a similar way, with different yarn colors and ear and tail treatments defining the 11 breeds, including Chihuahua, Jack Russell terrier, toy poodle and Boston terrier. The book includes charts for crocheting the pieces that make up the dogs, instructions for sewing the pieces together and for stuffing them. The finished dogs (just the heads) can be made into refrigerator magnets or cellphone accessories (or perhaps key chains). Or maybe the little canines will find their way into the pocket of a beloved grandchild. The cost of the book is $14.99. For information, visit http://hoshi-mitsuki.com or harperdesignbooks.com.
Those new to crochet or veterans to the craft will find easy designs in “Totally Simple Crochet” by Tove Fevang, who lives in Norway. The first few pages of her book focus on dish cloths made with basic crochet stitches — single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet and treble crochet — which allows beginning crocheters plenty of practice. The book also contains instructions for a granny square afghan, scarves, baby hats, baby blankets, shawls, cushions, shopping bags, placemats and containers. Designs that caught my eye were the chain stitch netting shawl, the half-gloves, the placemats with striped borders and the large basket with handles crocheted in a cotton-linen yarn. The cost of the book is $21.95. For information, visit trafalgarbooks.com or tovefevang.com.
“Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters” by Deborah Newton is a classroom disguised as a book, one serious knitters everywhere will want to add to their libraries. The book offers 15 patterns and illustrated workshops on the basics of blocking, sleeve-cap seaming, sewing a cabled band, installing zippers and linings, custom couture and steeks (the process of cutting knitted fabric to create a front opening and armholes).
Pattern offerings in the book include scarves, tunics, a crochet-edge pullover for a child, several jackets and an elegant cardigan embellished with crystals and silk organza.
The book is filled with helpful information; it’s destined to become a knitter’s best friend. The cost of the book is $29.95. For information, visit sixthandspringbooks.com.
Also, ask at your local bookstore or library about these books, or look for them online.
Heart of Winter Scrapbooking Day will be held 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Hammond Street Congregational Church in Bangor. Registration fee is $25 and includes crop table and lunch. The day will offer door prizes, demonstrations, make and takes and shopping. The church cafe will be open. The event will benefit the church and its work. For information, call the church at 942-4381 or email email@example.com.
Knit Night is held at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Bangor Public Library. Stop in at the front desk to find out which room the group is meeting in. For information, call the library at 947-8336.
Knitting and Crocheting for Fun and Fellowship is held at 12:30 p.m. Mondays; and the Quilting Fellowship is held at 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Bucksport Senior Citizens Center. For information, call the center at 469-3632.
Art Quilts Maine, a statewide contemporary quilt art guild, will exhibit a collection of small quilts created in reference to artists’ favorite children’s books through Friday, Feb. 24, at the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square. The 15 quilts in the exhibit represent 12 favorite books, ranging from Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” to P.D. Eastman’s “Go Dog Go.” The most unusual book was “Lotty’s Visit to Grandmama,” author unknown, originally published in 1877. Participating artists and the books they selected include, Peggy Lovejoy, Janet Clement and Amy Nichols, “ Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney; Kathy Angel Lee, “ A Bad Case Of Stripes” by David Shannon; Joan Chellis, “ Fishes” by Brian Wildsmith; Alison Olds and Rana O’Connor, “ The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnet; Jane Hann Morey, “ The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein; Beth French, “ Louhi, Witch of North Farm” by Toni de Gerez; and Elaine Brown, “ The Calico Jungle” by Darlov Ipcar, and more. For information, call the library at 871-1700.
Coastal Quilters will meet 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Camden Lions Club, Lion’s Lane in Camden. Cookbook author and chef Nancy Harmon Jenkins will talk about healthy diets and how diets and health can be improved with vegetables and olive oil. Free and open to all. For information, call Sarah Smith, 763-3565, or Prudy Netzorg, 354-0983.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.