At the Craft Table: Eight New Craft/DIY Books

Work on your lettering with close-up photographs of various pen types, nibs from all angles, and a great variety of inks and paints; step outside of the box and create something new and exciting with concrete; and tips on how to use bold, high-contrast color palettes to give your quilts an extra punch

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Glynn, Kathy. Hand Lettering Step by Step: Techniques & Projects To Express Yourself Creatively. Get Creative 6. Feb. 2018. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781942021858. pap. $19.95. ART INSTRUCTION Calligrapher and mixed-media artist Glynn’s book covers modern calligraphy, brush lettering, and drawn letters. Each chapter contains step-by-step projects with lots of practical applications, including designs for love letters, monogrammed jewelry, business cards, fabric patterns, all sorts of signs, gift wrap, rubber stamps, and temporary tattoos. Detailed, close-up photographs of various pen types, nibs from all angles, a great variety of inks, paints, and other supplies are featured throughout. A handy section at the end of the guide demonstrates how to digitize hand lettering in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. VERDICT This work will appeal to many audiences and is accessible to all, even those with little or no drawing and painting experience.

Crafts

NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL

Big Book of Weekend Beading. CompanionHouse. Mar. 2018. 192p. ed. by Jean Power. illus. index. ISBN 9781620082829. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620082836. CRAFTS Beading expert Power (Beading for the Absolute Beginner) curates a collection of projects using several popular techniques—weaving (both on- and off-loom), stringing, embroidery, and wirework. A quick overview of each of the techniques is followed by the designs, which range from beginner-friendly stringing projects that requires an hour or two to complete to a square-stitch belt that takes an estimated 50 hours. Each project includes step-by-step directions with color photographs, the estimated amount of time for completion, level of difficulty, and a list of materials and tools required. VERDICT There’s plenty of variety in both style and technique here, making this an appropriate choice for crafters looking to sample different methods for beading. redstarGoldin, Amy. Flowstones: Beautiful Creations from Polymer Clay. Countryman. Feb. 2018. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781682681244. $14.95;ebk. ISBN 9781682681251. CRAFTS Multimedia artist Goldin developed flowstones as a way to combine art (polymer clay) with nature (smooth river rocks in an array of shapes). The stones are decorative objects that also serve as a focus for meditation. In a brief introductory essay, Goldin describes her process and the state of creative flow she reaches while making the stones (hence the name flowstones). A gallery of her work photographed in natural settings follows, along with instructions for crafters to create their own flowstones. Those with polymer clay experience will recognize many of the techniques, such as Skinner blends and basic canes, and Goldin encourages free-form experimentation. VERDICT Given the popularity of both painted rocks and mindfulness meditation, Goldin’s flowstones could easily capture the imagination of crafters.

DIY

KAREN ELLIS, Taylor P.L., TX

Dawidowski, Marion & Ingrid Moras. Concrete Creations: 45 Easy-To-Make Gifts and Accessories. Search. Jan. 2018. 128p. tr. from German. illus. ISBN 9781782215851. pap. $15.95. DIY Concrete brings to mind construction, not decoration, but Dawidowski, author of a number of craft books, and crafter Moras, delve into this different medium with projects for vases, containers, ornaments, and more. After an introduction to concrete and safety considerations, projects are grouped by purpose or style in rather inconsistent fashion. They include a list of materials and step-by-step instructions with a picture of the process. Templates are included. Unfortunately, some of these projects are a mixed bag—some rough, some unique. Alternative works include Camilla Arvidsson and Malin Nilsson’s Concrete Garden Projects and Hester van Overbeek’s Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, and Platters. VERDICT An optional title for those interested in concrete crafts. redstarJohnson, Samantha . Chicken DIY: 20 Fun-To-Make Projects for Happy and Healthy Chickens. CompanionHouse. Jan. 2018. 192p. illus. photos by Daniel Johnson. index. ISBN 9781620082300. pap. $19.99. DIY There’s more to raising chickens than just providing a coop, and this well-rounded book focuses on simple DIY projects that anyone can do. Author Samantha and her brother Daniel, who provides the photos, both have farming and animal husbandry experience and similar books to their credit (e.g., How To Raise Rabbits). The projects here are very well organized, each accompanied by a list of materials and step-by-step instructions with great photos, rated by difficulty and time. A chicken tractor, nesting boxes, roosts, and other needed accessories, are also featured, with egg cooking recipes a nice addition. VERDICT An excellent book with great projects that will appeal to everyone from teens to adults, especially those involved with 4–H or Future Farmers of America. Highly recommended.

Fiber Crafts

NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL

60 Quick Knits for Beginners: Easy Projects for New Knitters in 220 Superwash® from Cascade Yarns®. Sixth&Spring. (60 Quick Knits). Mar. 2018. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781942021872. pap. $17.95. FIBER CRAFTS The latest entry in the “60 Quick Knits” series focuses on beginner-friendly projects knit in budget-friendly yarn. While the requisite hats and scarves are included, the designers branch out into shawls and wraps, socks, cowls, mittens, and simple sweaters, giving newer knitters some variety to choose from. Later projects incorporate simple intarsia and cable knitting to challenge beginners. The styles range from classic and simple (rectangular scarf, baby booties) to surprisingly contemporary (lots of stripes on a variety of accessories, asymmetrical shawls). While all of the projects are appropriate for beginning knitters, the patterns appear in order of difficulty, with tips and techniques included in the instructions. VERDICT Novice knitters will appreciate the variety of projects, as well as the helpful tutorials. Goldsworthy, Lynne . Quick & Easy Quilts: 20 Machine Quilting Projects. Taunton. Jan. 2018. 128p. illus. photos by Jan Baldwin. ISBN 9781631869143. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS Goldsworthy, coeditor of the online quilting magazine Fat Quarterly, combines modern quilting style with quick piecing in this collection of easy-to-sew projects. Oversized blocks feature prominently, and Goldsworthy uses bold, high-contrast color palettes to give her quilts extra punch. Several of the designs, such as the supernova quilt, are less difficult to piece than they seem, thanks to shortcuts and tricks such as chain piecing and strip piecing. Reproducible templates for techniques such as machine appliqué, quilt-as-you-go, and foundation paper piecing are featured in the projects. The directions are thorough enough to get a confident beginner through any of the quilts in this book. VERDICT These projects will appeal to quilters looking for attractive, modern projects featuring bold interpretations of traditional blocks. redstarStowell, Lauren & Abby Cox. The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking: How To Hand Sew Georgian Gowns and Wear Them with Style. Page Street. 2017. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781624144530. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624144547. FIBER CRAFTS Stowell and Cox’s interest in 18th-century fashion led to their business, American Duchess, which specializes in historical fashion and accessories. In this guide, the authors explore historically accurate dressmaking using techniques and fabric styles typical of the era. Four gowns, as well as their underpinnings (with the exception of stays) and accessories are shown, covering the most popular styles of the mid- to late 18th century. Each gown features a full walkthrough, starting with the undergarments, and the authors provide guidance on fitting, fabric selection, and appropriate accessories. VERDICT Whether the desired look is colonial matron or Georgian royalty, sewists will learn to design and stitch the dress of their reenactment dreams. An excellent choice for ­costuming collections.

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