Escape into Spring with fabulous craft projects!

This month’s selection of new craft books offers inspiring ideas and handy techniques to help you get started. Celebrate the change of season by experimenting with creative jewellery designs and knitting projects such as seamless sweaters and easy hand knits for your baby. And, if you are looking for something different, check out for the charming doorstops that can bring character to your home. Enjoy the challenge!

Syndetics book coverDonna Kooler’s encyclopedia of quilting / Donna Kooler.
“Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Quilting is the complete, authoritative guide to the history, techniques, and patterns of quiltmaking for the quilting enthusiast. Twenty skill-building projects with several quilts tailored specifically to novices are beautifully photographed and accompanied by detailed instructions and clear how-to illustrations. The pattern gallery includes 80 pieced blocks, 10 applique patterns and 14 quilting patterns. A source list, cross-referenced index, and bibliography round out a volume you’ll refer to again and again. This is a companion reference to Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedias of Crochet, Knitting, and Needlework, all available now from Leisure Arts. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElegant quilts, country charm : appliqué designs in cotton and wool / Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel.
“This book makes you smile. The patterns featured range from patchwork piecing designs using cottons, to wool felt applique projects. The graceful designs are brought to life with interesting colour choices. Some feature more traditional country colours, rose pink, olive and burgundy but the designs I’ve fallen in love with use aqua, red-oranges, marigold and crimson on taupe with grounding colours of black and navy. Stunning! There are a number of projects to make, everything from a wool felt appliqued pillow to full-sized quilts to a gorgeous scarf. All of the projects have clear instructions and there are user-friendly tutorials showing the range of skills needed to complete the projects. I especially appreciate the info about wool felt and the notions one should use for achieving beautiful results. Great book, elegant designs, projects for days.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverFree-motion quilting with Angela Walters : choose & use quilting designs for modern quilts / Angela Walters.
“Walters is the go-to machine quilter for many modern quilt designers, and her first book is an introduction to the basics of designing for machine quilting. To make it appealing to a variety of quilters, it isn’t specific to a type of machine-any of the designs in the book could be created using a standard sewing machine or a long-arm quilting machine. Walters organizes the content by geometric shape (swirls and circles, squares, etc.), allowing quilters to quickly reference the designs when needed. A useful section on choosing what to quilt based on the design of the quilt top is also included. VERDICT Machine quilting is very popular, and this book is suitable for quilters of all skill levels, regardless of the machine they use for quilting. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverContemporary jewellery art : innovative materials / Design-Ma-Ma.
The book is organized according to the materials used, including metal, ceramics, stone, wood, fur, textiles, plastic, soap, and rubber. The aesthetic of each piece, whether simple or sculpturally intricate, balances the designer’s unique perspective with the constraints and possibilities of each medium — from the elasticity of plastic to the solid weight of stone, silver, and iron.

Syndetics book coverA girl’s best friends : creative jewelry design / [edited by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann ; text and preface by Alisa Anh Kotmair].
“Today, jewellery –whether glamorous, gothic, or minimalist–is en vogue. Jewellery goes back centuries and has been on the forefront of design many times throughout history. Now, thanks to a burst of innovative concepts, materials, and designers, a new age of contemporary jewellery has begun. Girl’s Best Friends is an eclectic collection of work from around the world that documents this current development. Today, j jewellery exists in a wide spectrum of forms from traditional to modern, from geometric to organic. It is inspired by elements of folklore and the composition of collage. The materials used include gold, silver, and gemstones as well as plastics, porcelain, leather, wood, feathers, and hair. These are being used to create not only necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and brooches, but also more experimental forms of decoration that expand the human body. Girl’s Best Friends is the most comprehensive showcase of the innovative jewellery being created today.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverChain maille jewelry workshop : techniques and projects for weaving with wire / Karen Karon.
“Karon, a Massachusetts-based metal artist, introduces the basic supplies and weave structures involved in making chain maille jewelry. The book is organized by weave type, and each chapter includes basic instructions, variations, and jewelry projects incorporating the weave. Some chain maille jewelry projects leave the wearer looking like an extra from a fantasy movie, but Karon’s addition of beads and crystals add a more contemporary look to the classic styles. VERDICT This is an excellent introduction to the world of chain maille. Beginners should be able to teach themselves basic weaves and techniques; advanced jewelry makers can challenge themselves to learn some of the more difficult weaves, such as Jens Pind Linkage or Persian weaves. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe complete book of polymer clay : step-by-step instructions, original projects, inspirational gallery / Lisa Pavelka.
“If crafts are big, then clay is colossal. From pins and pendants to bracelets, buttons, and embellishments, crafters of all ages are embracing the creativity that polymer clay inspires. This encyclopedic book by renowned expert Lisa Pavelka includes the latest techniques, handy tips, and trade secrets. Pavelka presents a sweeping overview of materials, how-to fundamentals, and construction techniques. She also introduces six original projects with complete instructions showing readers how to make pendants, curio boxes, a necklace, and a bracelet. Clear, concise, and comprehensive, this is an essential addition to any crafter’s library, no matter his or her skill level. For even more inspiration, this indispensable reference features a gallery of 50 original projects by Pavelka and other talented polymer clay designers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe knitter’s handy book of top-down sweaters : basic designs in multiple sizes and gauges / Ann Budd.
“Fiber and yarn enthusiasts nationwide will celebrate Ann Budd’s latest addition to The Knitter’s Handy Book series. Answering to a growing interest in knitting sweaters from the top down and knitting seamless sweaters that require little finishing, this handy book offers instructions for knitting five basic sweater types: circular yoke, raglan, modified-drop shoulder, set-in sleeve, and saddle shoulder. Patterns are offered in multiple sizes and yarn gauges and for a broad age group. Following the basics for each of the five sweater types are three diverse patterns from top designers that illustrate some of the many ways that instructions can be used as springboards for creative expression, including color, texture, and shaping variations. Also included for intermediate to advanced knitters are personal design touches, detailed charts, clear instruction, and quick tips to expand knitting possibilities and maintain creative originality. A key reference for knitters of all skill levels, this is the new essential knitting resource on your bookshelf”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverKnit in a day for baby / Candi Jensen ; photography by Silvana Di Franco.
“Knit in a Day for Baby is a treasury of quick and easy designs that the average knitter can complete in 2 to 12 hours. These 20 eye-catching modern designs by Candi Jensen are perfect when you need to finish items fast (for upcoming baby showers and gift-giving, or just because your free time is limited). Some projects are presented as basic patterns with “upgrades” to enhance the design with embellishments, colourwork, or other treatments when time permits. Designs include sweaters, blankets, caps, toys, totes, hanger covers, pacifier fobs, bath mitts, booties, and more. Have fun with the projects and make them your own, because every baby is special and deserving of special hand knits.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverKnitting in circles : 100 circular patterns for sweaters, bags, hats, afghans, and more / Nicky Epstein.
“You won’t believe what you can make with knitted circles! One circle can become a stylish hat or an adorable shrug. Two, and you have a unique handbag or cover-up. Knit more circles, and you can make show-stopping scarves, capes, sweaters, afghans—even a stunning lace dress. Mix and match to your heart’s content with 100 circles and 20 inspiring projects that feature everything from cables to rich colorwork, delicate lace, and over-the-top embellishments in Nicky’s signature style. You’ll find step-by-step techniques on how to knit circles, both in the round and flat, plus expert guidance on customizing the projects, with unique cut-and-paste circle templates to design your own styles. With this groundbreaking book, you’ll never look at circles the same way. Once again, Nicky Epstein has outdone herself, opening up a world of creative possibilities with a gorgeous knitting reference that will have you knitting in the best of circles over and over.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverSuper-cute doorstops : 35 charming doorstops that bring character to any room / Emma Hardy.
“Decorate your home with 35 colourful and quirky doorstops. Every home has a door that needs propping open, so why not create one of these fun and attractive doorstops to do the job? With ideas for animals, dolls, flowers, cars and decorative cubes, you will be sure to find the perfect design to suit all the rooms in your home. Why not stitch an adorable dog doorstop to keep watch by your front door, or make a pretty miniature garden with felt flowers to hold open the patio doors and let the cool breeze in? The retro rag rug draft excluder will keep you cosy on cold winter nights, while the apple and pear made from tweed would be the perfect kitchen doorstop. The projects use a variety of different materials and sewing techniques, and all come with clear step-by-step instructions and artworks. There are simple ideas that even kids could try – a little girl would love to make the simple doll with cute embroidered face and hair – as well as more advanced patchwork and applique designs to appeal to confident crafters. There’s even a colourful knitted draft excluder and cute cottage that would make the perfect housewarming gift.” (Abridged summary from Amazon.com)