Fun Fiction for Hobbyists
One of the best parts of Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Club is forming real friendships with the other members. The monthly deliveries are awesome, don't get me wrong. Who doesn't love receiving happy mail? But being able to connect and form friendships as we read through the classics together is priceless.
One of those friendships that clicked from the very beginning was with my sweet friend, Heather. She found Pretty Literate when I offered the Outlandish Book Box two years ago and she stood out to me immediately because she had just begun to read the (then) 8-book series. Her goal was to finish them all by the time the ninth novel was published in November 2021 - just a few months away!
When I began the Monthly Book Club, Heather became a Founding Member, and has helped to shape what our growing little community has become.
Heather continues to stand out, not only because she is one of the gentlest souls I've ever met, but because she is also one of the craftiest people I know. And by crafty I mean the girl can undertake any artistic endeavor with seeming ease and prolific ability. Which is why when she opened an online crafty small business, I quickly got in line - not only to get personal items and gifts, but also to collaborate with her on a few book boxes for Pretty Literate.
I'm featuring Heather's small business again in our newest book box, which I thought would be an appropriate time to ask her to share on the Pretty Literate Blog about her unique hobby and how she has discovered a way to bridge the divide between her love of reading and her innate artistic side.
I hope you'll be as inspired by Heather as I am.
(Our NEWEST Book Box is being offered for a few more days as a MYSTERY BOOK BOX with same day shipping - a fun way to start your own collection of bookish souvenirs handmade by Heather!)
Fun Fiction for Hobbyists
A Guest Blog by Heather Qualman
I have always enjoyed making and giving gifts. I always thought a gift meant more when it was homemade and came from the heart. And it never really mattered what media of art or craft I went with...until about eight years ago when I was set on gifting one of my sisters-in-law a crocheted baby blanket for my new nephew. I had tried to learn how to crochet as a teen and in my early 20s. I tried learning from watching other people and from books. It never took. I never understood it. But somewhere in my body there is a stubbornness or a determination (whatever you call it! Bullheadedness, if you will). In 2015 that determination overtook me and I learned to crochet. Yes! I’ve been crocheting for eight years now! Numerous baby blankets and amigurumi (crocheted toys) later, I’m still at it and I’ve flirted with the idea of a crochet business (to the point I have a facebook business page and I’ve filled orders). And while that hasn’t been anywhere close to a success, I’m not too worried about it either. (Does this confuse you? Then you didn’t read that first sentence. I’m definitely a gift giver first and foremost and a business lady second.) Of course I’m going to keep the business page up and continue to share my projects. Although, those projects have been coming slowly. Lately, I haven’t been giving myself much time for those extracurriculars that I love. I’ve been preparing myself for a much wanted surgery (and if you want to know more about that, you can message me).
There are a few #PLeeps who’ve kept Qualman Crochet & Creations moving forward and I send a A BIG Thank You to each of them. (You know who you are!)
Like I said, I haven’t been giving myself much time for crochet projects or any of the other arts and crafts I enjoy. Luckily, I know Ericka at Pretty Literate, and she makes requests for amigurumi, other pieces, and even occasional guest blogs. And while I don’t like to disappoint her or anyone really (I am kind of a people pleaser) I rarely say ‘no’ to something artsy when it means I can procrastinate on house cleaning or put off other need-to-do things.
And honestly, I love being asked.
I love being involved with what goes into Pretty Literate's book boxes. Whether it’s a single item something or thirty-something items (ie. one per box), I love helping behind the scenes. And remarkably, Ericka is able to still keep every book box I've helped with a secret, even from me. Each one has been a delightful surprise when I received it in the mail, whether it's been a Seasonal Book Box or the Monthly Book Club boxes!
When Ericka asked me in February for something to add to an upcoming book box for the summer, I enthusiastically accepted.
When Ericka asked again at the beginning of March for a guest blog in June, I eagerly accepted.
When Ericka asked in April if I'd like to contribute a drawing or painting for another upcoming book box later this summer, I got my watercolors out and began work.
Like I said, I love to be asked. I love being involved.
Each of us is gifted with something special to offer to others.
When it comes to novels with a knitting/crochet element, I noticed a unique trend - there are a lot of mysteries and a lot of book series. I've found a handful of characters that share my affinity for crocheting (or knitting) like me.
If you also nurture a love of crochet (or knitting), here are a few titles you might enjoy reading.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
This is a cute children’s book about a young girl who, after finding an ordinary looking box of yarn, starts knitting things for everyone in her town and changes the world around her. This book was a recipient of the 2013 Caldecott Honor for its illustrations.
Literary Yarns Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang
This one is actually a crochet book. But I included it because of all the classic characters it offers (Elizabeth Bennett, Captain Ahab and Anne Shirley to name a few more). This is where I found a Sherlock Holmes weeble wobble doll, but there are so many little dolls in this book. This was a huge YARN-spiration for that recent crochet project Ericka and I collaborated on for Pretty Literate.
When It Happened… by Kathy Gleason
This one is about a typical teen who loves hanging out with her friends and boyfriend, her family, and crocheting. Months after her father’s death, the main character finds out she’s pregnant. She is now faced with the biggest decision of her life and learns more about love, what true friendship is, and her true strength.
This was a pretty good book and is available on Kindle, B&N Nook, and as a physical paperback. It’s a super quick read, as well.
The Vampire Knitting Club by Nancy Warren
With the word VAMPIRE in the title, I was an easy sell. I guess you could say I am a real SUCKer for creepy reads! This is the first in a series of fourteen books.
At a crossroads between a cringe-worthy past and an uncertain future, Lucy travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother. Her knitting & knit shop owning gran has always been there to help her catch her breath and figure out where her life was heading. But when Lucy gets to the shop she quickly discovers Gran is dead - or is she the undead? This leaves Lucy with the knitting shop and a lot of unanswered questions. The biggest one is what happened to gran? And another is why does the cat - or is it her familiar? - seem to know more about what’s going on than anyone?
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
This is book #1 in the Knitting in the City book series. It has around seven books, plus a coloring book and a book of knitting patterns. Each of the main books are stand alones. They are contemporary romantic comedies that follow the misadventures and exploits of seven friends, all members of a knitting group, in Chicago (I’m adding to that Chicago theme from our Monthly Book Club's recent read-alongs of So Big by Edna Ferber and The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty).
What special talent(s) or hobbies do you have?
Have you read any books where one of the characters share your special talent(s) or hobbies? I hope you'll share in the comments your talent(s) or hobbies and the book titles that include characters with whom you have that in common.