Creative Spaces: 8 Inspirational Craft/DIY Books

Simple step-by-step watercolor projects, illustrations and instructions offering consistently clear DIY diagrams and pictures, and advanced knitting designs featuring long repeats, knotted and interlaced cables, delicate lace, and bobbles; all crafting needs can be found here

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Harrison, Terry. Painting Watercolour Snow Scenes the Easy Way. Search. Sept. 2017. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781782213253. pap. $19.95. ART INSTRUCTION Roughly half of artist Harrison’s (Painting Water in Watercolour) guide is devoted to materials, tools, and basic techniques. The other half consists of six simple step-by-step projects for creating winter scene watercolor paintings. Techniques demonstrated are specific to portraying winter landscapes, such as using wet on wet to suggest a wintry glow, how the use of masking fluid mimics a dusting of snow, and using a dry brush to depict animal tracks. Snowcapped mountains, Christmas scenes, birch forests, changing seasons, and other popular winter subjects are featured. VERDICT Readers of beginning or intermediate artistic skill level, especially those with previous painting experience, are the ideal audience for this guide. redstarScheinberger, Felix. Dare To Sketch: A Guide to Drawing on the Go. Watson-Guptill: Crown. Sept. 2017. 160p. tr. from German by Faith Gibson. illus. ISBN 9780399579554. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780399579561. ART INSTRUCTION Scheinberger’s (Urban Watercolor Sketching) book is filled with drawings selected from his own deep sketchbook archives, as well as his thoughtful and eloquent insights, which are as likely to explain humorously a particular technique as they are to ruminate philosophically. Chapters cover tools and techniques; a few drawing fundamentals; observation skills, creativity, and creative practice; and subjects to sketch, including people, animals, architecture, everyday environments, and distant travel. Lots of practical advice helps with everything from how to confront a blank sketchbook to the best way to catch a subject that won’t sit still. VERDICT For readers of any artistic skill level who want to expand their creativity and have fun doing it.

Crafts

NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL

Martin, Ann. The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry: Techniques & Projects for Metallic Earrings & Pendants. Interweave. Sept. 2017. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781632505774. pap. $22.99. CRAFTS Martin (Creative Paper Quilling) demonstrates a different use for quilled paper creations in this collection of jewelry projects featuring scrolls, coils, and other quilled designs. It begins with an overview of quilling supplies, including tips on workspace organization and supply storage, followed by a tutorial on the coil and scroll shapes used in the projects. Each individual design lists the particular shapes used, which is especially helpful for beginners, as well as the necessary tools and jewelry findings, plus illustrated instructions. Designs range from simple earrings featuring tight coils to elaborate pendants with coils, scrolls, and coils sculpted into a variety of shapes. VERDICT This beautiful collection opens up numerous options for quilling beyond the standard surface decoration and may inspire crafters to give this ages-old craft a try.

DIY

KAREN ELLIS, Taylor P.L., TX

redstarChristiana, Asa. Build Stuff with Wood: Make Awesome Projects with Basic Tools. Taunton. Sept. 2017. 202p. illus. ISBN 9781631867118. pap. $21.95. DIY This solid, basic primer wonderfully reflects straightforward instruction with some very desirable projects. Christiana, former chief editor of Fine Woodworking magazine, promises no crazy joinery or complexity. The progression of projects guides users through basic power tool skills. The organization is well thought out, including materials and a supplies list with a line drawing of the project with dimension. Furniture pieces include benches and tables, and the wood slab table and wooden cell phone speaker are particularly stunning. Christiana’s guidance is great, and the pictures are clear. Includes a foreword by Nick Offerman. VERDICT This book will leave readers with great projects and skills. Highly recommended—beautiful pieces, excellent instruction. redstarMcAlister, Michael & Michael Litchfield. Wiring Complete. 3d ed. Taunton. Sept. 2017. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9781631868382. pap. $24.95. DIY Wiring is an important element of every home. Coauthors McAlister, a licensed electrician and contractor, and Litchfield, a building professional and founding editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine, have home improvement books to their credit and wrote the first two editions of this title. There is a quality level of illustration and instruction here, offering consistently clear diagrams and pictures. Safety and code considerations are highlighted. While most of the material can be found in the book’s previous versions, the new information is worth the replacement. This edition features video doorbells, smart thermostats, smart house features, and charging docks for electric cars. ­VERDICT This is as close to a bible of home wiring as you can get and is a key book for any renovator or builder. A necessary purchase.

Fiber Crafts

NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL

Rosenthal, Maxine & Linda Bardes. One-Block Wonders of the World: New Ideas, Design Advice, A Stunning Collection of Quilts. C&T. Oct. 2017. 80p. illus. ISBN 9781617455186. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617455193. FIBER CRAFTS Fiber crafters Rosenthal and Bardes present a gallery of inspiring quilts and helpful tips in this guide to hexagon-based kaleidoscopic quilts—commonly called one-block wonders. These hexagons are mixed, matched, and combined into striking pieces that transform fabric in unexpected ways. The authors, along with numerous collaborators, show a variety of finished quilts as well as the fabrics that were used to create them. Methods for cutting and piecing are glossed over in favor of extensive coverage of “auditioning” fabrics for placement in a finished quilt. While some of the missing information is self-explanatory, beginners may be frustrated at having to look elsewhere in order to get started. VERDICT Quilters familiar with making kaleidoscopic quilts will find plenty of inspiration; those new to this style will want to consult Rosenthal’s earlier book One-Block Wonders for instructions. Shell, Maria. Improv Patchwork: Dynamic Quilts Made with Line & Shape. Stash: C&T. Oct. 2017. 96p. illus. ISBN 9781617454967. pap. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617454974. FIBER CRAFTS Contemporary quiltmaker Shell specializes in prints made from combining solid fabrics into stripes, polka dots, plaids, and other common patterns. Her first book walks quilters through the various techniques used for creating these prints, many of which involve freehand fabric cutting and improv-style ­assembly. Each chapter explores the creation and use of a different print type, beginning with simple ruler-made and mat-made ­(freehand) stripes, and proceeding through polka dots (small, repetitive prints), triangles and other triangle-based prints such as chevrons and herringbones, and linear prints such as checks, tracks, and plaids. Samples from Shell’s work are included throughout, demonstrating the vibrant designs that can be made from each of the component prints. VERDICT Shell’s work echoes traditional American improvisational folk quilting and will appeal to quilters interested in exploring color and pattern via one-of-a-kind patchwork. redstarShida, Hitomi. Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida. Tuttle. Oct. 2017. 160p. tr. from Japanese by Gayle Roehm. illus. ISBN 9784805314531. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781462919406. FIBER CRAFTS This collection, the first by Japanese designer Shida to be published in English, presents a series of intricate patterns featuring cables, lace, and specialty stitches. The arrangement is similar to a standard Western stitch dictionary, with a close-up color photograph of at least one pattern repeat (often knitted in a neutral-colored yarn), plus charted instructions. Shida’s designs are involved, featuring long repeats, knotted and interlaced cables, delicate lace, and bobbles—often all in the same chart. Japanese knitting symbols are used throughout, and a ten-page guide (which cites the number of the chart that uses the symbol) gives all the details. Five small-accessory patterns that use the stitch patterns are included. ­VERDICT This is mindful, challenging knitting at its best, and this translation opens up a world of Japanese knitting charts to English speakers.

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