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Bride of Death | On My Bookshelf

Posted on by MK Carroll

This book review was first published on my Goodreads pageI received the Kindle version of this book as a backer of the Bride of Death Kickstarter

Bride of Death (Marla Mason, #7)Bride of Death by Tim Pratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When reading a series that follows a protagonist over the course of several adventures/years, there seems to be a tendency for things to get ridiculous - a character who started out as a scrappy underdog becomes incredibly powerful and successful by book 3, for example, or by book 5, the thoughtful, questioning protagonist with realistic reservations about certain lifestyle choices has thrown all thought and question out the window, but who cares, the books are selling so well the publisher seems to think proofreaders are no longer necessary (...wasn't so-and-so's hair black in the last book? When did he become a blond?), etc.

The Marla Mason series has been refreshingly different. I did start thinking "is this where it gets ridiculous?" around book 5 - and it could have, very easily - but instead, in reading Bride of Death, I felt like I'd been given a peek at where it could have gone, and then given a story that took me back to why I started reading the series in the first place. Marla is growing and changing in realistic ways (and unrealistic - hey, it's a series about sorcerers), and there's a pleasant balance between that change and her recognizable, familiar self. It also feels like Tim Pratt is really hitting a stride as a writer, and that in itself makes this book enjoyable.

This series has continued because the author and the existing reader base wanted it to, and the results have exceeded my expectations. There's something special about being able to keep reading a story because an author really wants to keep writing it.

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On My Bookshelf: Pop Knitting

Posted on by MK Carroll

A shorter version of  this book review was originally published in Knit Edge magazine, issue #2. The review copy was purchased at full retail price. As a member of the Powell's Books Partner Program, I receive a 7.5% commission on referrals.

Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch

Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch

Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch

Britt-Marie Christoffersson

Interweave Press

With decades of experience in design, textiles, and knitting, Britt-Marie Christoffersson offers up 200+ pages of striking examples of using basic knitting techniques to create eye-popping textures, color patterns, and embellishments. It’s a wonderful way for experienced knitters to reconsider the possibilities of knitting, and an exceptional way for less experienced knitters to explore how simple techniques like slipped stitches, casting on, binding off, and knitting in different directions can create interesting fabrics. 

Instructions are provided for each stitch pattern in written form, accompanied by color photographs. A few of the stitch patterns are also shown worked up as cardigans, and a very simple cardigan template and brief instructions on how to use stitch pattern swatches to calculate a garment are provided. Knitters may find additional books such as Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns handy for finding ways to use the stitch patterns to make wearable pieces.

 Many of the stitch patterns are time-consuming and will leave the knitter with a lot of loose ends to weave in and tidy up. They are also excellent ways to use up small amounts of yarns, with striking results. 

On My Bookshelf: Curvy Girl Crochet

Posted on by MK Carroll

This book review was originally published in Knit Edge magazine, issue #2. A review copy was provided by the publisher. As a member of the Powell's Books Partner Program, I receive a 7.5% commission on referrals.

  Curvy Girl Crochet: 25 Patterns that Fit and Flatter, by Mary Beth Temple

 Curvy Girl Crochet: 25 Patterns that Fit and Flatter, by Mary Beth Temple

Curvy Girl Crochet goes beyond just offering patterns in larger sizes, offering tips and techniques for altering patterns to fit your body the way you want them to. The first two chapters focus on the groundwork: how to take your measurements accurately (tip: don’t use an old tape measure), how to assess yarns and patterns, and how best to make changes. The patterns include an entire wardrobe of sweaters, accessories scaled up for larger proportions, and something for every season. The Wrapt Top, a cropped lace wrap, could be a lovely accent in warm weather, while the basic, very customizable Progressive Tunic can be worn on its own or as a layering piece all year long. While the patterns may not all look like they come from the same wardrobe (and that’s intentional), yarn and color choices along with adaptations can open up a lot of possibilities. Is the Traditional Cloak too bold for you in bright blue- purple? An earthy tweed could give it a more classic countryside appeal. Looking through Ravelry projects to see how other crocheters have re-imagined the patterns is going to be a lot of fun!

Ravelry: Curvy Girl Crochet

On My Bookshelf: Clever Crocheted Accessories

Posted on by MK Carroll

This book review originally appeared in Knit Edge magazine, issue #2. The review copy was purchased at full retail price. As a member of the Powell's Books Partner Program, I receive a 7.5% commission on referrals.

  Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects, edited by Brett Bara

 Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects, edited by Brett Bara

The 25 patterns in this book range from a sparkly beaded cocktail ring (Dazzling Ring by Kazekobo) to thick, warm, cabled men’s socks (Hiking Socks by Kim Kotary) to a colorful floral motif bag (Amazing Motif Bag by Regina Rioux) - all cleverly constructed and great ways to explore crochet techniques and stitch patterns you may not be familiar with. For example, the Saturday Beret by Ellen Gormley, featured on the cover, is a visual head-turner that uses Bruges lace techniques to create a chunky texture, and the Chunky Capelet by Doris Chan employs broomstick lace. There a lot of great gift ideas here, including hats for men. 

Ravelry: Clever Crocheted Accessories