Tag Archives: book review

Book Review & Giveaway: Knit Purl Pray by Lisa Bogart

Knit Purl Pray by Lisa Bogart - book review by Underground CrafterThis post contains affiliate links.

A few weeks ago, Worthy Inspired contacted me about being part of the book tour for Lisa Bogart‘s latest book, Knit Purl Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative Soul. You may remember that I interviewed Lisa about her book, Knit with Love, back in 2011. I’m sharing my review along with a giveaway.

Lisa is a devout Christian, a writer, and an enthusiastic and accomplished knitter, and her three passions come together in her books. In Knit Purl Pray, she has created a collection of 52 devotions to inspire other Christian knitters to use their knitting time to reflect on their faith. Each devotion starts with a quote from the Bible and then Lisa shares a reflection on that quote. Her reflections include stories and examples from her own life and her own knitting. After the story, Lisa shares a short prayer. Expand Your Knitting Skills The book is a hardcover, but it’s small and lightweight (so, perfect for tossing into your project bag). In her advanced review, author Lauraine Snelling says that she thinks the devotions work well for all types of creatives, and not just knitters. Because there are lots of really specific references to knitting techniques, I’m not sure this book would be right for a non-knitter looking for a book of devotions. Similarly, I don’t think the book is right for someone looking for in-depth theological analysis of Biblical quotes. In the last few years, I’ve seen an increase in discussions about mindfulness and meditation while knitting. Most of us have very little quiet time in our lives with all the distractions of electronic devices and such. Knit Purl Pray would be a great book for a knitter who identifies as a Christian and who is hoping to slow life down a bit and take some quiet time to pray and meditate while knitting.


Does Knit Purl Pray sound like the perfect book for you or a friend? I’m hosting a giveaway for my review copy, courtesty of Worthy Inspired. To enter, let me know why you want to win the book in the comments, and be sure to log in your entry through the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to to readers with a U.S. mailing address except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, November 9, 2015. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget.   a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

Full disclosure: A review copy of Knit Purl Pray was provided by Worthy Inspired. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book review: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Back in July, I went to #BlogHer15, a blogging conference which just happened to be right here in New York City.

Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I’m a sucker for freebies. (It’s actually a pretty bad habit, especially when you live in a New York City apartment.) While I was in the vendor expo, I came across the Best Buy Wedding Registry booth. There was line to take a photo with someone I wasn’t all that familiar with in exchange for a free cookbook. Since I love to bake, it seemed worthwhile to spend a few minutes in line.

Sally McKenney and Marie Segares at #BlogHer15. Sally's #Baking Addiction by @sallysbakeblog, book review by @ucrafterSally McKenney even autographed my book.

Sally's #Baking Addiction by @sallysbakeblog, book review by @ucrafterShe seemed nice enough so I looked her up when I got home, and found out that her blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, is filled with some incredible yumminess.

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Since then, I’ve read through the book, also called Sally’s Baking Addiction, and today I’m sharing my review.

Sally's #Baking Addiction by @sallysbakeblog, book review by @ucrafterSally’s Baking Addiction is a visual delight. In the opening section, Sally shares her list of kitchen essentials and provides more details about the ingredients (such as which brands and types of peanut butters she used).

The book primarily consists of recipes – 76 in total. In each recipe, there’s a “Sally Says” section that includes tips or more details.The book also includes vibrant photographs (usually two or three for each recipe), and it’s organized into eight chapters:

  • Breads & Muffins includes 9 recipes,
  • Breakfast includes 8 recipes,
  • Brownies & Bars includes 10 recipes,
  • Cakes, Pies, & Crisps includes 10 recipes,
  • Candy & Sweet Snacks includes 10 recipes,
  • Cookies includes 10 recipes,
  • Cupcakes includes 8 recipes, and
  • Healthier Chocies includes 11 recipes.

One of my favorite details about the book is that Sally includes information about how (and how long) to store each item after baking at the end of the recipe.

Like me, Sally has a fondness for peanut butter and chocolate, Nutella, and bananas. The recipes lean heavily towards the sweet side of things. (The book’s subtitle is Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix.) I would say the title of the “Healthier Choices” section is a bit dubious, but that’s ok. I don’t think any one is picking up this book with the expectation of finding anything remotely healthy inside!

Other than the tendency towards super sweet (which may or may not be your baking preference), there isn’t much I didn’t like about this book.

Sally's #Baking Addiction by @sallysbakeblog, book review by @ucrafter

I made the Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread, and it was a hit. I actually skipped the glaze because I thought we might go into sugar shock, but in my younger years, I probably would have added it.

One thing I didn’t like about the book is that when ingredients are divided, it wasn’t noted on the ingredients list. So, when making the extremely delicious apple bread, I actually added all my chopped pecans into the batter because when I glanced over to the ingredients list to check the amount, it didn’t indicate they would be divided. That’s a relatively minor flaw.

I would highly recommend Sally’s Baking Addiction if you enjoy baking sweet treats – especially over-the-top sweet treats! It has great pictures, recipes that cover a range of goodies, and helpful storage hints. If you aren’t into super sweet desserts, you should skip it as there won’t be much for you inside.

Canning BasicsFull disclosure: A free copy of Sally’s Baking Addiction was provided by the Best Buy Wedding Registry. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review & Giveaway: Doris Chan’s Crochet Lace Innovations

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a review of Doris Chan‘s Crochet Lace Innovations: 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian, and Exploded Lace, along with a giveaway sponsored by Potter Craft/The Crown Publishing Group!

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Book Review

Crochet Lace Innovations by Doris Chan - book review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

Doris Chan is well known for her flirty crochet garments and her focus on lace. Crochet Lace Innovations, first published in 2010, is a pattern book that explores three specialized crochet techniques (broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Tunisian crochet) along with what Doris calls “exploded lace” (crocheting lace patterns similar to what you would see in thread in yarns with a larger hook for a better drape).

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The book opens with an introduction where Doris shares her passion for crochet. This is followed by a How to Use This Book page.

The next 3 sections, Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, and Tunisian Lace, include an overview of the crochet lace technique along with a written and illustrated tutorial and a list of tips for success. The next 3 sections focus on variations of exploded lace: Exploded Motifs, Exploded Doily Lace, and Exploded Lace Trim. The book closes with a section called Garment 101, where Doris shares detailed annotated patterns for Jacket 101 and Skirt 101. Finally, there is a resources section which includes a guide to crochet stitch symbols and abbreviations, and links to yarns, tools, and crochet websites.

  • Skill level: This book is geared towards an intermediate to advanced crocheter. There are 8 easy patterns, 6 intermediate patterns, and 7 experienced patterns.
  • Techniques: There are 3 broomstick lace patterns, 3 hairpin lace patterns, 4 Tunisian crochet patterns, and 11 exploded lace patterns.
  • Project types: There are 8 top patterns (including jackets, vests, sleeved tops, and a poncho), 4 skirt patterns, 4 wraps/stoles/scarves, 2 belts, 1 dress, and 1 collar.

What I like about this book:

  • Doris has a conversational style but isn’t too chatty.
  • The designs are striking and the photos make you want to pick up your hook and start crocheting!
  • There are schematics including for the garments and there are stitch symbols for most patterns in addition to US pattern abbreviations.
  • This book allows you to explore several different crochet techniques while making women’s garments and accessories.

Some challenges about this book:

  • A true beginner to some of the special techniques may find the illustrations difficult to use as a primary learning resource. Luckily, there are many online tutorials for broomstick lace (you can find a roundup here), hairpin lace (a beginner’s roundup here), and Tunisian crochet.
  • There isn’t much discussion about under layering. It would be great if Doris would have shared more ideas about how to layer to wear these designs in real life.
  • Like all mostly pattern books, your enjoyment will be based on how many of the patterns you want to make. Check out the Ravelry source page for the book here to see thumbnails of all designs included in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to an intermediate to advanced crocheter (or an adventurous, confident, and patient beginner!) who enjoys crocheted women’s garments and accessories. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


So, has this review left you itching for your own copy of Crochet Lace Innovations? To enter, visit the Ravelry source page here and leave a comment letting me know which pattern you would crochet first. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, June 2, 2015! Please note that only entries in the Rafflecopter widget will be counted, so be sure to log your entries there.

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Full disclosure: A review copy and giveaway copy of Crochet Lace Innovations were provided by Potter Craft/The Crown Publishing Group. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.