There is a slim chance that I have an obsession with needlework books.
I’ve always been a book lover. I like to read. I love holding a real book in my hands and reading it. And when my hands are occupied with work, I like to listen to audio books.
Throughout my reading life, I’ve sunk my teeth into many genres of literature with insatiable enthusiasm until eventually glutted. Then, I moved on to the next genre and became a devotee of it until duly gorged. Right now – and for about the past five years – I’ve been on a non-fiction binge. I’ve found, much to my extreme delight, that non-fiction is possibly the best genre I’ve ever wallowed in, despite my calculated aversion to it when I was younger. You know the kind: well-written, accurate, supported by meticulous research, and related in the best tradition of story-telling? I just can’t get enough non-fiction these days.
Needlework books don’t really fall into any of the categories of regular literature that I’m talking about above. They are the Other Category of book that I tend to over-indulge in. I love needlework books! And I have a great excuse for constantly acquiring them, after all.
This poses a question: can you ever have Too Many needlework books?
Recently, I’ve been evaluating this question. I think the answer could be yes.
Warning: Messy bookshelves ahead!
When I moved into my current studio space over four years ago now, I didn’t move all my books over from my previous space. There, the majority of my needlework library fills a double, floor-to-ceiling, 24″-deep cabinet, with shelves stacked with books in double layers.
You can see a picture of those cabinets in this article. Since then, that double cabinet has overflowed into the neighboring cabinets. All the shelves, top to bottom, are devoted to books and periodicals that are devoted to needlework.
In my current studio, I’ve got most most frequently used needlework books (reference books and some of my old favorites that inspire me), plus new books I’ve acquired in the past four years.
I have a set of large cubbies for books. And I have a few small bookshelves for books.
And then there are the Stacks of Books that are on top of the bookshelves. And on top of the cubbies. And on small side tables. And here and there and everywhere.
Many of the books on my shelves you will probably recognize. Maybe you have them, too. Or maybe they’re on a wish list?
Over the years, I’ve also received other people’s needlework book collections. Folks have sent their books to me because they needed to reduce or unload their needlework books, and they didn’t want them going to a thrift shop or the land fill. They’d rather get them into the hands of people who want and appreciate them. They figured I could do that, and I was happy to help them.
Often, I’ll buy a newly published needlework book in anticipation of reading it and possibly reviewing it, only to have the publishers send me a copy as well.
These conditions have led to lots of repeats, as well as to housing many books that I simply wouldn’t keep, myself, because they aren’t in my area of focus.
And while it has always been part of my plan to have a wide variety of needlework books available as needlework library for folks taking part in classes or workshops, the long and short of it is this:
I have a surfeit of books.
As we prepare to move to the next studio space, we’re going to have to winnow out some of these books in order to make space.
To thin out my collection, we’re probably going go the eBay route. I can’t put them in my regular online shop as a listing – it would clutter the shop up and it would be difficult to manage.
Anna loves to do eBay, and eBay is a good way to get the books into the hands of people who really want them. I’ve decided it’s a pretty good solution – eBay or other online used-book outlets.
It is a dilemma, though! It takes time to photograph and list items, but there’s more to it than that – especially with the books that were never mine. I know my books. I can say what they are, where they came from, what they’re about. I don’t necessarily know other people’s books. So we will have to see how to handle listing them.
Tippy books! you can tell we’ve been pulling books off the shelves lately!
I think my book collection is probably the biggest hurdle in my head for the upcoming move to the new studio space. We’re going to use bookshelves to separate out work spaces, so I think my books will have a decent new home. But just the idea of going through them all daunts me.
So, back to the question: can you ever have too many books? At one point in my life, I would have said no. But as I look at this looming task, I find myself reconsidering!
It’s going to be great, though, once the job is done!
On Friday, we’ll kick off Autumn Fire. I want to give as many people as possible enough time to get their kits in hand before we launch, so Friday it is. Keep an eye out!
Hope your week is off to a great start!