Some reading...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Although reading proper books has taken a serious back seat since Baby MiH (except children's books) - I do manage to read some crafts books - especially those with loads of pictures. However as I am hoping to move my craft room (ie Baby MiH's room) into a smaller space I need to decide whether I keep or resale some of the books I have. I thought you might be interested in some of my reviews - and get my verdict. 

Today I have a craft book - Anna Maria's Needleworks Notebook - and a guide for better prictures - Heidi Adnum's crafter's guide to taking great photos.  

Pictures are key for any bloggers and this is a guide to take better pictures. The book explains the basics first (aperture, shutter speed etc), composition depending on the type of crafts you are taking pictures of but also goes further and provide further information on how to present your pictures for commercial use. 

It also contains interviews of existing etsy shops and share their experience. The segmentation of the book into small bites chapters is useful. 

This book is a great start if you are interested in photography, taken some pictures - but want to take better pictures (every time). The small bites chapters make it a very practical book to pick up whenever you have time. There are some FAQs that are enlightening. A shoot and point camera user will also benefit from the tutorials provided by the book (I use both for my blog). 

However, as it may be relevant for some of you reading this post, it does not cover taking pictures of quilts - it is a bit of a shame. I personally find it quite challenging to compose well when it comes to quilting. Maybe a second edition could cover that? 

It is a great book for bloggers - the numerous examples are inspiring. Except for not covering quilting - but I am not sure there is a book out there that does - I would recommend this book. 

You should also check out the photography tutorials Heidi wrote for Etsy UK. It is a free resource so would be rude not to.. 

Verdict: It is a keeper

I have been excited by this book for a long time, and I finally got it! As the title suggests it covers a few needleworks techniques: cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery and crewel. If you are already interested in needlework, this is a great book to broaden your skills - it also explains how AMH approaches projects and her process. 

All projects have a clear AMH touch to it, in the boldness of the colours and the beautiful designs. It is full of skill building projects. 

This is a beautiful book. You can see some of the projects on AMH flickr account. There are so many I want to do already, I just need the time. I love the idea of having 4 different needlework techniques in one book. Although it provides a lot of inspiration for you to create your own patterns, it may be too basic for some crafters that are more into needlework than I am. 

This is one you get just for the pictures. Just to note as well, AMH uses Anchor and no equivalence is provided. There is no list of suppliers either - it would have been useful. But these are minor points. 

Verdict: It is a keeper. 

Note: These are my opinions only, I bought the books for my own use. 

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  1. I have the taking great photos one and I agree that it is a keeper! It has taught me a lot - not that you'd always realise that when you look at the photos on my blog!

  2. Great book suggestions. I never heard of the Taking Great Photos Book. I'm now headed to Amazon to look it up. I love AMH work and this book has been on my wish list for a while. You can use DMC thread instead of Anchor and you can find conversion charts online. like this one

  3. I'm so glad you mentioned that photography book! I'll have to put it on my list of wants.

  4. Thanks, Nat! So glad you like the book.

    For now, to read more advice on taking great photos of quilts, take a look at See How We Sew where I provided some guidance on that very subject:

    My full response to the question is available as a PDF download, which you'll also find on that page.

  5. Thanks for the reviews Nat - I can take a half decent shot of most things but do find quilts especially tough...and AMH can do little wrong in my view and I would love this book - full of stitchy eye candy I imagine :)

  6. Great reviews, but if you are anything like me then you will end up keeping everything!!!!

  7. These books both look great! You are never going to get rid of anything at this rate.

  8. Got that photo taking one from a friend for my birthday - somethings I was already doing but there are some good diagrams of how to set up a 'studio' to take better shots with lighting - easy enough to do just haven't gotten round to it yet!

  9. I love my AMH book. The photography book sounds interesting but I would love more info on composition and quilts. Those are tough!