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A Year of Productivity*

Craft Date Ideas

The subtitle of this book states that it is a “craft date planner.” I believe the authors misspoke. When I think of a planner, I think of something that I can write in as I strategize something, whether it’s my day or a project. This is really more of a book that introduces the concept of a craft date if you aren’t familiar with it and gives some ideas for projects for the group.

The idea of a craft date is to get together with like-minded friends and craft together. Sometimes, the group might work on a single project together, like a gift for a mutual friend. Other times, the group might work individually, each participant making the same project but fashioned for her own likes and dislikes. Another possibility would be to work on a variety of small projects during the craft date time. As you can see, it really depends on what the group wants to do in general and on a particular day.

The bulk of the book is pictures of and directions for a variety of projects that a craft date group could do. In the table of contents, these are color coded to show whether they are short, longer, or cooperative projects. In flipping through the book, none of them looked particularly difficult, which I imagine would be a criterion for a craft date project. The crafts in this book include crochet, knitting, sewing, and even a little straight-up crafting, like making a wooden coat rack or a tool station. Each project has packaging instructions—some very creative—if you are planning to give the item as a gift.

When looking at the projects themselves, some were wholly contained within the main portion of the book, while others had directions (partial or complete) in the back of the book. I know this is a long-standing tradition in craft books, but I’m not a particular fan of it, and I don’t think it was well done in this book. It made for a very picture-heavy central portion and a very text-heavy end section. There was one project where all it showed were pictures in the main part—four pages worth—and had the directions only in the back. I would have loved to have seen all the directions integrated into the main part with the photographs scattered throughout the project’s section. It just breaks up the tedium of the pages and helps you to see what a project should look like, from a variety of angles, when the directions and the picture are on the same page.

I am a knitter and crocheter, but I do not sew nor do I do the other types of crafts that are in this book. In looking at the directions for the knitting and crochet projects, I found them to be straightforward and easy to read. I also like the diagrams for crochet. I thought that the way the patterns were written was a little odd. Having crafted since I was a teenager, I am very familiar with pattern shorthand (i.e., dc for double crochet or K5 to mean “knit 5 stitches”). This book didn’t use that, and it actually felt strange to see all those words written out. Perhaps if the authors had used the standard shorthand, they could have included the full directions in the main part of the book like I mentioned before.

The book definitely has some projects that look like they are worth doing, either alone or in a group. As someone who has crafted off and on throughout her life, this is just the sort of book to fire up my imagination and make me want to break out my favorite crafting tools and have a go. They would be more fun to do with others, that’s for sure, especially if the group is made up of truly like-minded individuals.

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