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Books about knitting and so much more

I don’t know about you, but I love to be outside in the summer and fall: hiking, biking, swimming or fishing. When this time of year rolls around, however, I become what some have called “indoorsy.” Let others do all the snowmobiling and skiing they want (provided the weather cooperates and gives us snow); I would rather find an activity that involves a mug of hot tea and an afghan. Even if you do enjoy outdoor activities in below-freezing temperatures, you might want to spend an afternoon tapping your creative juices with ideas from the following books, available at the Brainerd Public Library.

Knitting is one of my favorite hobbies, and it has enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity in the past decade. The best new knitting book I’ve found is “10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters: a Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn, and Life” by Vickie Stiefel and Lisa Souza. Aside from 27 simple yet interesting patterns, the authors discuss how to choose fiber and color, the ethics of where we get our yarn, and how to use knitting to reconnect with yourself and your community. Two less serious pattern books are “Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches” by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne and “More Knitwits: 20 More Fun Projects for Those Who Love to Knit & Purl” by Katie Boyette. “Knit Your Own Dog” is a charming little book that features instructions for making a pint-size replica of your favorite pet, including collies, terriers and Dalmatians. “More Knitwits” has patterns for some rather more fantastical creatures that would be great gifts for young children.

Nancy Zieman has hosted the PBS show “Sewing with Nancy” for many decades, and has authored a wide range of books on the subject. Her latest, “Nancy Zieman’s Sewing A to Z: Your Source for Sewing and Quilting Tips and Techniques,” is chock full of clear, step-by-step illustrations for every kind of sewing quandary: piecing, adding pockets and zippers, and creating flat, comfortable seams on garments.

Creating a mosaic can be a great way to take an old or worn piece of furniture or a garage sale find and give it new life. In “Mosaics: Innovative, Creative Ideas and Designs Using the Latest Techniques” by Elizabeth Atkins-Hood and Elizabeth Joy Bell, the photographs will grab your imagination and show you how to incorporate interesting materials into your piece. An idea I loved was to take pieces of pottery or china from broken heirloom sets and create a memorial piece to the former owner of the dishes. I would love to make a picture frame to hold a photograph of my late grandmother from some of her old china pieces.

Two other crafty activities that have seen a rise in popularity in recent years are jewelry-making and creating scrapbooks. “Making Beautiful Bead & Wire Jewelry: 30 Step-by-Step Projects from Materials Old and New” by Linda Jones has a great mixture of dressy and casual necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins for every style. The editors of “Creating Keepsakes Magazine” have published a new book of ideas and inspiration for people who want to make books filled with memories, titled “Creating Keepsakes: Scrapbook Tips and Techniques, Book 2.”

The library also subscribes to a number of magazines related to creative hobbies: “American Artist,” “Bead & Button,” “Creating Keepsakes,” “Fine Woodworking,” “Model Railroader,” “Pack O’ Fun,” “Quilters Newsletter Magazine” and “Threads.”

Speaking of outdoor activities, we have a great event coming up for those interested in dog sledding. Local musher and veterinary technician Charlotte Wolf will be at the library at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 to discuss her sled dogs, equipment and her experiences racing dogs around the country.

Bring your favorite kids to the library at 10 a.m. Jan. 28 for “In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater,” a show featuring stories gathered from indigenous cultures: the Assiniboine of the Great Plains, the Aztecs of Mexico and the Okanagun and Salishan of the Great Basin.

Award-winning, Minnesota-raised author David Treuer will visit Feb. 1h to celebrate the release of his newest book, “Rez Life.” In this non-fiction work, he discusses the origins of reservations and what they mean to and for Native Americans today, as well as what the future holds for them.

If you are having difficulty getting to the library due to illness, lack of transportation or disability, I would love to speak with you about what the Senior Outreach Program can do for you. It is a free, personalized program that brings library materials to your doorstep once a month via a friendly volunteer. You get to read or listen to the books you like without worrying about when or how you’ll be able to return them. Give me a call today at 829-5574 if you have any questions, or would like to sign up.

LAUREL M. HALL is the senior outreach coordinator for Kitchigami Regional Library System.