Libraries Embrace Hobbies & Crafts Enthusiasts

Diverse selections of the latest and hottest hobby and crafts books in publication today as well as for early 2019 release.

Ardent hobby and craft enthusiasts are changing the canvas that makes the world more beautiful–a stitch, a sparkly bead, or a terrarium at a time. Yes, terrariums are a thing in the modern crafting community. In earthy Seattle, WA, librarian Abby Bass is proud to share that “we’ve successfully hosted a terrarium-making workshop twice in the last year. Participants made small terrariums using pint Mason jars and stemless wine glasses with succulents and air plants. In addition to the craft activities, a local DJ played ambient music to create a chill atmosphere.” Wine glass horticulture and DJ beats in the crafting room are not that far removed from our grandma’s afghans and needlepoint.

What roles are librarians playing to meet to this demand? This article will investigate the influence librarians are having on patrons seeking arts and crafts resources. Library Journal’s custom media group asked librarians on both coasts to share their strategies for maintaining the latest crafting publications, how they access and stock materials to meet the demand of their patrons, how they market their newest collections, and which publishers are supplying the majority of their collections. We also connected with publishers to learn the latest in titles they are introducing to provide relevant and more engaging resources to support the younger crafters who make up the highest percentage of the crafting community.

Love is what brings this tight-knit community together across the generations. Love for our family, and a deep commitment to keep the rich stories of our genealogy alive. Local Connecticut crafter, Debra Barry Ernest, wells up with tears as she recounts how she has ensured that her daughters keep the legacy alive. “The women in my family are bound by more than five generations of sewing and craft work. When I make something, I feel a sense of comfort that my mother is with me. I see someone wearing something I created and I feel a sense of pride that they wear my family’s history.” Elaborate quilts dating back to the Cold War adorn Debra’s home and keep her children warmly tucked into history through unforgiving New England winters.

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, and other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.

Librarians can take a page from Jill Soltau, President and CEO of JoAnn Fabrics near Columbus, OH who opened a “Creator’s Studio” to unite experience crafters with beginners and crafts-curious enthusiasts.  “Customers come in to find inspiration, learn from our Team Members and share creative experiences with others, she said, and that discovery, along with industry insights and DIY trends, helped us create the most shareable and welcoming craft experience  ever built.” The incorporation of new technologies is enabling crafters to practice and plan their creations before cutting a strip of fabric.

Trends really vary from craft community to craft
community, each has its own hot happenings.


Hobby and craft innovations on the east coast mirror those of Seattle Libraries, as New York City librarian, Amy Geduldig leads workshops created by “passionate librarians who saw a demand for specific programs. Some of these programs are very hands on with a librarian giving critiques and instructions, some are more participant lead, like our crochet groups or open studio hours.”

Geduldig highlights programs in:

  • Open Art Studio
  •  Origami
  •  Adult Coloring
  • Sewing /Crochet /Knitting / Quilting classes
  • Jewelry Making: Beade Bracelets
  •  Chinese Calligraphy
  • Canvas Painting or Watercolor
  • Sculpture Workshops or Mosaics
  •  Basic Digital

New York City Public Libraries also feature programs for the elderly. Geduldig shared that “Creative Aging” is a targeted program for older adults interested in art. Libraries with interested populations fund a teaching artist for a six-week course. These classes range from jewelry making to oil painting to memoir writing. These courses are taught in a workshop-style that engages and motivates participates to build skills together. Final works are introduced at a culminating showcase.

Librarians on both coasts revealed that all of their resources are pulled from their own collections and placed on prominent display for hobbyists and crafters to borrow. Digital collections in the genre are also highlighted through their websites and social media presence. These dedicated librarians keep the arts alive for the local community, despite struggles with funding and personnel training. In order to continue the crafting  legacy, librarians are consistently on the lookout for new materials.

Publishing houses such as F&W Media’s Interweave Books, Trafalgar Square Books, Tuttle, and Search Press contribute their colors to the tapestry. The second section of this article will surface multiple and diverse selections of the latest and hottest hobby and crafts books in publication today as well as for early 2019 release.

F&W’s Kerry Bogert, Editorial Director of Interweave Books, addresses the most current trends in crafts and hobbies. “Trends really vary craft community to craft community, each has its own hot happenings. For knitters, patterns that feature color-shifting effects called ‘fades’ are hugely popular on the major knitting hub, Ravelry. We see too a return to traditional techniques while bringing a modern flair to those proven methods whether through yarn choice or color palettes. Crocheters continue to love stitch dictionaries and reference titles that introduce them to the variety of motifs that can be achieved with just a handful of stitches. And they are never shy about color choices! For those crafters adorning themselves with handmade accessories, wirework is the hottest jewelry topic. It’s more accessible for the kitchen table maker than working with a torch and solder but doesn’t compromise on the quality of the finished project. Countless quilting enthusiasts are setting their sewing machines aside to give hand stitching a try. The traditional method of hand sewing tessellations known as English paper piecing has more than 88k posts on Instagram alone.” Bogert recommends the following exciting new titles for librarians.


F&W/Interweave Books

Yarn & Fiber

Crochet Kaleidoscope . Interweave. 160 pp. | ISBN: 9781632506139 | $24.99/$30.99 Can./£18.99 UK. Paperback Crafts and Hobbies/Needlework. Publication date: January 31, 2018.
Sandra Eng, in Crochet Kaleidoscope, explores a lively twist on crocheted motifs as you shift through various shapes and color combinations. From the traditional granny square to more complex forms, these faceted motifs are the building blocks to creating unique and stunning designs.


Bead & Jewelry Making

Thompson, Sarah. Woven in Wire. Interweave. 160 pp. | ISBN: 9781632506221 | $24.99/$30.99 Can./£18.99 UK. Trade Paperback Crafts and Hobbies/Needlework. Publication date: July 17, 2018.
Woven in Wire breaks through the boundaries of traditional wirework jewelry to discover the world of intricate possibilities. As you weave, sculpt, and transform wire, award winning jeweler and wirework instructor Sarah Thompson guides you through the steps of achieving spectacular wearable art.

Quilting & Sewing

Hansen Denegre, Vivika The Quilting Arts Idea Book. The Quilting Company. 160 pp. | ISBN: 9781440248849 | $26.99/$34.99 Can./£25.99 UK. Crafts & Hobbies / Quilts & Quilting. Pubication date: October 27, 2018.
Written for new and seasoned fiber artists alike, this all-in-one resource includes everything you need to create one-of-a-kind art quilts and more. Peppered with gorgeous imagery and expert advice, The Quilting Arts Idea Book will help you hone your skills while enjoying the creative process.

Trafalgar Square Books

Knits and Crochet

Zachrison, Carlos and Arne Nerjordet. Arne & Carlos’ Favorite Designs Greatest Hits and New Inspirations. Trafalgar Square. 264 p. | 155 color photos, 134 illus, 53 charts | ISBN 978-1-57076-881-1 | $29.95 hc.
Written for new and seasoned fiber artists alike, this all-in-one resource includes everything you need to create one-of-a-kind art quilts and more. Peppered with gorgeous imagery and expert advice, The Quilting Arts Idea Book will help you hone your skills while enjoying the creative process.

Storey, Martin. Easy Cable and Aran Knits: 26 Projects with a Modern Twist. Trafalgar Square. 128 pp. | 88 color photos & charts | ISBN: 9781570768972 | $22.95 pb | recently published.
Also from Trafalgar Square Books, is Easy Cable and Aran Knits 26 Projects with a Modern Twist. Martin Storey features 26 luxurious projects with all the delight of classic textured cable patterns, plus renowned designer Martin Storey’s trademark contemporary appeal.


Mills, Theresa. The Mosaic Artist’s Bible: 300 Traditional and Contemporary Designs. Trafalgar Square. 256 pp | 342 color photographs, 190 color diagrams | ISBN: 9781570768439 | $26.95 paperback | published.
Mosaicists of every level will delight in this new sourcebook, featuring page after page of inspiring motifs. Arranged by theme–from animals, birds, and marine life to flowers, cultural symbols, and children’s motifs–these striking designs are easy to copy and scale. A comprehensive techniques section offers step-by-step instructions on everything from choosing materials and selecting color combinations to cutting and grouting tiles, while a gallery section demonstrates how the motifs can be used to decorate ceramics, furniture, and accessories–or be works of art on their own. 



Thomas, Mary. Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. 208 pp | 132color photos, 402 color diagrams | ISBN: 9781570769214 | $26.95 paperback | published January 2019.
First published in 1934, Mary Thomas’ Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches has long been a well-loved favorite of novice and experienced embroiderers alike! Updated by Jan Eaton, this indispensable handbook pictures and describes over 400 embroidery stitches, arranged by usage, ranging from basic outline and border stitches to more complex detached-filling and pulled-fabric stitches. This outstanding reference guide will enable all needle-workers to master the art of embroidery at every level, with clear, helpful photographs and step-by-step instructions.

Tuttle Publishing

Paper Crafting

Yamazaki, Hiromi. Japanese Paper Flowers: Elegant Kirigami Blossoms, Bouquets, Wreaths and More. 96 pp. | 18 projects; color photos; 31 paper flower designs; templates. Frontlist | ISBN: 9784805314982 | 9784805314982 $15.99 paperback | published March 12, 2019.
Learn how to bring a Japanese aesthetic into your life with these elegant works of floral art. Japanese Paper Flowers has all the information and all of the necessary patterns you need! With just some scissors, a few sheets of colorful tant origami paper, and a few drops of crafts glue—all of which can be found online and in paper stores—you can create breathtaking paper flowers in no time at all!


Okamoto, Keiko. Translated by Gayle Roehm. Keiko Okamoto’s Japanese Knitting Stitches. 144 pp. | 150 stitch patterns, full instructions for 7 projects; color photos. Frontlist | ISBN: 9784805314845 | 4805314842 | $19.99 | Crafts & Hobbies Needlework/Knitting. Publication date April 9, 2019.
Tuttle Publishing also proudly presents Keiko Okamoto’s Japanese Knitting Stitches with 150 exquisite knitting and crochet stitches from one of Japan’s most prolific and innovative designers. Her designs range from classic to ethnic to quirky—in colors ranging from earthy to vivid.

Bead Embroidery

Yu, Han.  Bead Embroidery Chinese Style: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide with Inspiring Projects. 180 pp. | 25 projects; over 200 full-color photos. | Frontlist. | ISBN: 9781602200388 | 1602200386. | $24.95. Hardcover paper over boards. | Craffts & Hobbies: Needlework/Embroidery. Publication date: March 26, 2019.
Tuttle’s step-by-step guide to 25 unique embroidery designs, Bead Embroidery Chinese Style incorporates traditional Chinese design elements, including landscape paintings, bird and flower motifs, and famous poems. Projects are beautiful, useful, and simple enough for embroidery beginners.

Search Press Publishing


Various Authors. The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery. 400 pp. | ISBN: 9781782216063 | $35 Hardcover. | Publication date: June 26, 2018.
The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery team of teachers bring you step by step guidance and masterful tips for creating beautiful works of embroidery. Perfect for the beginner and the experienced embroiderer who wants to learn a new skill.


Lakin, Michael. The Beginner’s Guide to Botanical Flower Painting. 128 pp. | ISBN: 9781782213109 | $19.95 | Publication date: January 2, 2018.
The Beginner’s Guide to Botanical Flower Painting will teach you to draw flowers with accuracy and clarity with this clear and simple approach. Michael Lakin expertly guides the budding artist through how to select and prepare flowers and provides several samples to follow as you develop your skills. The range of inspirational ideas for drawing flowers has made this book a hot favorite for all artists!


Benilan, Anabel. Sewing Clothes for Barbie. 128 pp. | ISBN: 9781782215974. | $17.95 | Publication date: February 13, 2018.
Barbie loves clothes and now you can make a perfect wardrobe for any Barbie in your dollhouse. With 24 stylish outfits with patterns for all Barbie sizes, Search Press’ Sewing Clothes for Barbie brings couture inspiration to Barbie. Sew clothes for every day or create outfits for special occasions. The detailed explanations are accompanied by step-by-step diagrams and real-size patterns.




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