I am always amazed how as summer wanes, the latest books on knitting accumulate like brightly colored leaves on my desk. I would love to take up an entire column to review each one, but it’s much more efficient to tell you about them in batches.

Let me begin with The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, which isn’t really a book at all, it’s a magazine, but one that contains 144 pages and 30 projects.

The magazine, available through Nov. 4, is a product of Knitting Daily and a disclaimer on the front page states, “This magazine is unofficial and not authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by J.K. Rowling [author of the Harry Potter books], her publishers or Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.”

Not that it matters. The designs in the magazine are magical in the sense that the designers who created them certainly had on their thinking caps when they came up with The Sorcerer’s Sweater, Dumbledore’s Smoking Hat, Hagrid’s Sweater, The Gray Lady’s Cloak, The Mermaid’s Song Cardigan and the Malfoy Manor Wrapper, for example. There’s an edgy elegance to every design in the book, be it sweater, cap, mittens, socks, scarf or shawl. Many will appeal to the seasoned knitter who likes a challenge, and others will appeal to knitters in the intermediate range. Knitters, in general, will enjoy reading the article about designing knitwear for the Harry Potter films and another on Harry Potter’s Britain.

For information, visit knittingdaily.com.

You don’t have to be Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish to find “150 Scandinavian Motifs: The Knitter’s Directory” by Mary Jane Mucklestone appealing. We’re talking colorwork here — reindeer, snowflakes, hearts, scrolls, birds, dogs, horses, trees and peasant people. It’s all there in the book.

Each motif is charted in black and white, some in color, so if you want to mix your hearts with owls and stars, you can do that.

Don’t knit, or don’t knit to that magnitude? The charted designs can be used for counted cross-stitch, or create the designs with knit and purl stitches using only one color.

The projects at the end of the book are a pincushion, the perfect project if you are just beginning to learn the craft of knitting Scandinavian designs, traditional mittens in a checkerboard pattern; a reindeer hat and cowl in a geometric pattern.

The book also provides knitting technique information, using color and motifs, and planning a project.

Or if you’d prefer to belong to the knitting traditions of Scotland, reach for a copy of “Scottish Knits: Colorwork and Cables with a Twist” by Martin Storey, a knitwear designer for Rowan.

The 24 designs in the book include garments, accessories and home goods and each one channels the knitting traditions of Scotland in terms of color and texture.

Designs that stood out for me were the MacIntosh Rose jacket with its indigo roses on a gray ground and edged in knitted lace; the Thistle cardigan that marries indigo striped sleeves and back with a thistle motif in indigo and green on the front; and the Orkney throw, designed to be reversible.

Most of the designs are intended to those with advanced knitting skills, but some are easy enough for beginner and intermediate knitters. The designs call for Rowan yarns.

The book is beautifully illustrated and each design is charted and has written instructions.

Perhaps your knitting style has more to do with the sophistication of life in New York City. If so, “Metropolitan Knits: Chic Designs for Urban Style” by Melissa Wehrle is the book you will want to add to your knitting library.

The book contains 20 designs — cardigans, pullovers, a tank top, mitts, a scarf, a cowl and a shawl.

For lace knitters, the Grand Army shawl is a wispy bit of beauty knit in a half-circle and falling to below the waist. The Brooklyn Bridge cardigan sports a hood and bands of lace bordering each side of the front. The Washington Square hat is the perfect complement to the cardigan of the same name and sports one red button to echo those on the sweater. Both designs feature a chevron lace pattern. And the Uptown scarf, knit in a blend of mohair and silk, is adorned with knit-in pintuck stripes.

For information about these three books, visit Interweave.com.


Organizers of the University of Maine at Farmington’s annual Arts and Crafts Show are seeking artists and crafters from across Maine to exhibit in the show. The event will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the UMF Olsen Student Center, South Street, in Farmington. For information, or to reserve space, call the UMF Conference and Events Office at 778-7344 or email Doris Tutlis at doris.tutlis@maine.edu.

The American Red Cross is asking Americans to help brighten the holidays for active military, veterans and their families by sending holiday cards.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, the Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

“Everyone gets busy, especially around the holidays, so just a few moments can mean a lot,” said Sherri L. Brown, senior vice president, Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces, in a press release. “While it may not seem like much, a handwritten note to a service member spending time away from his or her family makes a world of difference.”

The Red Cross invites the public to send messages of thanks and holiday cheer by Friday, Dec. 6 to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.

Individuals are asked to refrain from sending letters, monetary donations or any other kinds of inserts with the cards. Also, do not use glitter. More information and card requirements may be found at redcross.org/holidaymail.

The Red Cross also invites the public to share photos and videos of their card signing efforts or their holiday greeting for troops by using the hashtag #HolidayMail on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine accounts. The Red Cross will use the material on its social sites throughout the holiday season. The public also can connect with fellow card senders through Facebook.com/redcross and Twitter.com/redcross.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.