Every Nerdy Sewist needs a library filled with craft books. It’s important to have books around for inspiration. The tips and techniques are helpful, the personal stories can be charming, but most of all, I love the stunning photographs.

The downside: it’s an expensive habit! Here are three ways to maintain your library without breaking the bank.

Tip 1:

Go to your public library and check books out. I’ve blogged about this before, but here’s a new tip: pre-screen books you think you might buy by borrowing them from the library first.

That’s how I found “Stitch Sampler,” hands down the best book with pictures and descriptions of embroidery stitches. I went to the library knowing I wanted an embroidery reference book, but I didn’t know which one. I sat there and sorted through lots of choices. I’m so glad I did because I don’t think I would’ve picked this book sight unseen — it’s a DK book, which usually publishes children’s and novelty titles — but without spending a dime, I found exactly what I wanted. I own it now and use it as a reference at home and in my embroidery classes.

Also, when you are drooling over a title and feel like you absolutely must have it? Preview it at the library, trust me, because reading the library’s copy may just sate your appetite for it. This was true with Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern, which I read from cover to cover. But once I finished it, I happily returned it to the library. It is a must read, but if I’m spending money, I would rather own her pattern books ~ or buy more of her fabric!

Here are the books in my personal library:

Tip 2:

Borrow books from friends.

Some the books in this stack are my friend Tracy’s, and she has generously lent them to me for at least 6 months. In our Super Secret Sewing Social, we’ve talked about starting a borrowing library at Fabric Bliss, ie just keeping our own books at the store so we can dip in whenever we want inspiration for a new project. Sewist friends tend to have great taste in books, so this is another good way to try a book on for size before buying it.

Tip 3:

Keep a wish list of books online. I have mine on Amazon.com, so I can access it anytime from my phone, iPad, or computer.

That way, if I’m at my LQS or Barnes & Noble or the library, I can check to see if these books are available locally. I often hear about books via other blogs, eZines, or Twitter, and it’s helpful to have a virtual list to keep track of it all.

I do buy from Amazon too though, so I won’t discourage you from doing that.

Don’t forget: Amazon makes it so easy to impulse-buy; I think the best craft and sewing books are worth the wait!

~ Kristina

I’m linking up today over at my Twitter friend Sharon’s blog A Prairie Sunrise, where the theme is BOOKS!