Make something gorgeous! New craft books this month

Find some charming ideas in this collection of craft designs and make to give projects! Discover how to create unique and memorable art pieces for your friends and family. We have selected a variety of craft projects featuring stunning designs and creations. Take a look at the cutest range of baby shoes and booties to crochet – they’re so easy to make! Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverCrocheted baby shoes / Val Pierce.
“Cuddly, colourful baby shoes make the perfect gift for a new baby – this book is ideal for crafty people looking to give unique and personal presents. The book contains 20 gorgeous designs, all unique but all equally irresistible, in a range of colours and styles. Choose from red strawberry-style shoes with flowery toes, smiley car shoes, Christmas booties and even shoes shaped like frogs! Each pair of shoes requires relatively small quantities of yarn and can be crocheted quickly, easily, and on the go using the clear instructions provided.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSuper-cute felt : 35 step-by-step projects to make and give / Laura Howard.
“Learn how to sew, craft and make all sorts of fabulous gifts and accessories with felt. Felt is a really easy material to work with because it doesn’t fray when cut, and it comes in lots of great colors. Packed with 35 different projects for you to make, Super-Cute Felt will open your eyes to a whole world of felting possibilities. Complete with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and illustrations, Super-Cute Felt has a project for all abilities.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to craft with paper : with over 50 techniques and 20 easy projects.
“The team behind Mollie Makes magazine have brought together all their favourite papercrafters in a range of impressive disciplines from papercutting to papier maché. They share their tips, stories and beautiful projects, inspiring us all to pick up an old book, a newspaper or a vintage map and get creative.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHappy hexies : 12 hand pieced hexagon projects to stitch & love / Boutique-Sha ; translation: Kyoko Matthews.
“Discover the obsession taking the quilt world by storm: hexies. Learn how to construct these cheerful little shapes, and then use them to create unique patchwork projects. Step-by-step color photos illustrate various hexie techniques, including English paper piecing, hand-pieced inset seams, and special hexagon-specific quilting methods–you’re sure to learn something new, even if you’re a veteran hexie maker!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmiguruME pets : make cute crochet animals / Allison Hoffman.
“Crochet yourself a cute pet with the irresistible art of amigurumi!
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting small, adorable, stuffed animals and creatures–and this collection delivers on the sweetness. Crochet more than 60 projects, including dogs (Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle, Pug, Bulldog, Corgi), cats (American shorthair, Maine Coon, Siamese), small pets (like rabbits and turtles), pets we wish we could own (T-Rex, unicorn, and dragon), as well as accessories (beds, bowls, leashes) to complement your pets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ultimate party book for children : all you need to make your children’s party a hit! / Samuel Rice and Cissy Azar ; [photographer, Andy Lewis].
“A child’s birthday is the highlight of the year in any family and planning a themed party is easy with this guide packed full of ideas. The Ultimate Party Book for Kids takes you step-by-step through the process of planning and surviving your child’s party, while delivering a fun, stress-free and memorable event that everyone will enjoy (even the mums and dads). Plus, this book contains all you need to cook for a children’s party–fun and delicious treats to make even the pickiest child smile.” (Syndetics summary)

Inspirational ideas for Craft Lovers

Take a look at this gorgeous collection of new craft books and get inspired with lots of ideas on how to kick-start your craft projects. Experience the contemporary culture of craft with vibrant knitting and papercraft designs for yourself, family and home. Celebrate winter with the most sophisticated knitting designs – they’ll certainly turn heads. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverPaper made! : 101 exceptional projects to make out of everyday paper / Kayte Terry.
“Repurposing diva Terry transforms trash to treasure, fashioning newspaper, wallpaper, or plain old paper headed for the garbage into beads or bangles or headboards. A merchandise manager for Anthropologie and a crafter, Terry has transformed playing cards into lampshades, and an abandoned roll of raffle tickets into a coffee-table conversation piece. An avalanche of catalogues can become a cavalcade of crafts: the “Ring around the Rosy Vase” is constructed of pages woven from advertising usually destined for refuse. Paper maps become passport covers or origami birds on a string for a child’s nursery. The process may appear tedious at times, with instructions to cut 100 paper strips, but they are well worth the payoff of drink umbrellas from paper scraps and papier-mache pinatas bursting with treats.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverUltimate papercraft bible : a complete reference with step-by-step techniques / consultant editor, Marie Clayton ; [contributors, Sarah Beaman, Paula Pascual].
“Papercrafting encompasses a variety of techniques, and this reference provides basic information and simple projects explaining a number of popular crafts. Topics covered include cardmaking, scrapbooking, papercutting, and origami; brief descriptions of a few other papercrafts, including quilling, decoupage, and papermaking, also are included. The step-by-step approach is appropriate for novice papercrafters. Most steps are illustrated with line drawings, and photographs of finished projects are provided. Verdict: Crafters interested in basic information about a variety of papercrafts will find enough to whet their appetites, but the depth of coverage is definitely secondary to the breadth.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverI can herringbone : from basic stitch to advanced techniques, a comprehensive workbook for beaders / Melissa Grakowsky.
“The second in Lark’s “I Can” series (I Can Right-Angle Weave) focuses on herringbone stitch, a versatile stitch commonly seen in African beadwork. After a brief introduction to the building blocks of herringbone, Grakowsky explores the styles and variations of the stitch, including flat and tubular work and creating herringbone bezels for larger stones or beads. The organisation is tailored toward all levels of beadworkers-each chapter progresses from basic to advanced projects-and a nice variety of styles is represented, from simple and straightforward to opulent and decorative. The project directions are well organized, and the illustrations clearly show the thread path for each step-a huge help for new beaders or for complex projects. Verdict: This promising new series provides novice jewelry makers with a basics-and-beyond approach, and helps fill in gaps in experienced jewelry makers’ knowledge.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverNew earrings : 500+ designs from around the world / Nicolas Estrada.
“”Every piece of jewelry draws the viewer into a story and a world of its own,” Estrada (New Rings) says in this visual treat of imaginative works by 180 artists and jewelers. Devoid of any commentary other than Estrada’s own short biography, a preface, and an introduction, the majority of the book is devoted to the illustration of more than 500 pieces of personal, visual, wearable art that anyone can own. The colorful earrings featured are organized in four categories: elegant, daring, delicate, and sublime. Their designs range from the traditional to the flamboyant, with a variety of techniques, including positive/negative, light/shadow, and asymmetrical forms and shapes. The work concludes with an index of artists arranged by first name and highlighting their country of origin, educational training/background, selected exhibitions, and personal website. Verdict: This book should prove useful to both art students and other jewelry enthusiasts. Especially recommended for those whose collections focus on fashion, jewelry, and photography.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverMetropolitan knits : chic designs for urban style / Melissa Wehrle.
“Big city. Big style. Discover knitting that’s fashionable yet timeless. Knit for uptown or downtown with a trend-setting New York City designer. With these 20 polished, sophisticated projects, knitwear designer Melissa Wehrle has created a collection that perfectly reflects the rhythm, flavor, and drama of city life. From a chunky cabled sweater and hat to a beautiful tunic and gossamer cardigan, Melissa’s designs are beautifully shaped, expertly finished, and ready to be shown off on the street. They feature a variety of construction and finishing techniques, including knit-in pockets, tabs, button details, slip-stitch edgings, and small slits and pleats. Projects are divided along three themes: Heart of the City- Designed for those who enjoy sleek midtown in mind. Urban Bohemia- The downtown bohemian goddess will love these looks. City Gardens- Made to inspire a sense of tranquility. These three looks balance out a complete picture of the modern woman. What more could a city knitter need?” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverRowan’s greatest knits / edited by Kate Buller.
“Internationally renowned Rowan is a knitwear company that has been making gorgeous yarn and stylish, yet classic patterns to go with it for thirty years. With Rowans Greatest Knits, the company celebrates decades of great knitwear designs from such beloved and noted designers as Kaffe Fassett, Jean Moss, Sasha Kagan, and Annabel Fox. Featured in-house talent includes Martin Storey, Kim Hargreaves, and Marie Wallin. Included in Rowans Greatest Knits are 30 patterns from 1980 to the 2000s. With 80 stunning color photographs pulled from the original pages of Rowan magazine, Rowans Greatest Knits, with an an introduction by Kaffe Fassett, also presents its most popular patterns. And, these are modeled by, among others, a young Kate Moss. Patterns include yarn replacement suggestions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtful color, mindful knits / Laura Miltzer Bryant ; photography by Alexis Xenakis.
With expert instruction in the use of hand-dyed yarn, this pattern book gives knitters and crocheters the edge they need to stitch with confidence. Working with artisan hand-dyed yarn opens a world of possibility for a crafter, but problems can arise if the patterning is accidental, inconsistent, or unattractive. The author shows how to analyze the dye skein and reveal its color repeat, allowing the crafter to employ stitch gauge and stitch count to intentionally pattern the finished work. As a contrast, further strategies and stitch choices are shown that blend the colors to overcome unwanted pooling and create more gentle gradients. With 40 patterns for a wide variety of projects, this manual will have crafters constructing vibrant scarves, shawls, kimonos, and more. (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverThe art of seamless knitting / Simona Merchant-Dest and Faina Goberstein.
“Ask a group of knitters to name their least favorite part of knitting a garment, and many will say seaming. This aversion has led to an abundance of patterns-especially for sweaters-that don’t involve seaming. In this guide, experienced knitwear designers Merchant-Dest and Goberstein explore the whys behind seamless knitting, describe the various shapes of seamless garments and accessories, and educate knitters on best practices for seamless knitting. For the truly seam-averse, there’s even a section about adapting flat-knitting patterns for seamless knitting in the round. Eleven patterns-most for sweaters-are included. Verdict: Rarely do knitting books contain both gorgeous patterns and authoritative information on technique; this title is a notable exception. The background information about seamless knitting is useful, and the patterns are beautiful.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLight & layered knits : 19 sophisticated designs for every season / Vicki Square.
A collection of nineteen women’s tops made from comfortable fibers–such as silk, linen, cotton, and bamboo–and light yarns that can be layered and removed at will. (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverSweet knits : 30 cute designs for kids / Catherine Graham-Evans ; photography by Ella Mayfield.
“Catherine Graham-Evans has been passionate about knitting from an early age, and has always designed and made her own pieces. She studied fine art at university, before becoming a primary school teacher. In 2008, Catherine began designing, knitting and selling handknit and crochet items for children. In 2010, she gave up full-time teaching, and now creates patterns for books and yarn companies, as well as handknitted items for sale”. (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverAdorable animal knits for little people : 20 super-cute, animal-themed hat, mitten and bootee sets to knit / Nuriya Khegay.
“Cute coverall hats to keep your child’s head, ears, and neck warm and toasty. Practical pullover design ensures your little one won’t tug it off. Stylish matching mitten and booties “paws” and scarves. Patterns to suit all knitting levels, from beginner to advanced, and in a range of sizes from 6 months to 4 years”. (Book Cover)

iPad vs. paper : win-win

Syndetics book coverIn The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti the books themselves become the craft material – it’s full of projects that require you to gut, slice, fold and glue old books to create a range of adornments, containers and decorative yet functional items. You could choose to make a Bestseller Bookshelf, a Pagework Quilt or a Literary Lamp!  A great way to reincarnate old books that you can pick up cheaply at booksales.

The project that caught my eye was the Kindle Keeper.  I adapted the concept to make it work with my iPad – the perfect combination of my favourite digital device and the aesthetics of a hardback book.

iPad keeperThe first step was rummaging around at the booksale to find a book that was just a bit bigger than the iPad, then I was underway.  Lisa Occhipinti suggests using velcro strips to hold your e-reader inside the recovered bookcover.  I felt this would be a little insecure and instead combined her idea with the classic “book safe” where a cavity is cut into the book block.  I used a craft knife to remove an iPad sized chunk from the middle of the pages …  this takes more time that you might think!  Then I glued the remaining “frame” made of pages together and to the back cover of the book.

perfect fit!
perfect fit!

Now my iPad can nestle safely inside.   I used purple sugar paper to cover the frame made by the cut pages. This looked a lot better than the left over edges of the pages and also disguised where my cutting was less than perfect.

A stripey lining glued into the back of the cavity made a satisfying contrast and I replaced the original cover with a piece of heavy paper in a leaf design.

inside with stripey lining paper
inside with stripey lining paper
new dust jacket
new dust jacket

I really like the way there is still a hint of the old red book that this once was.

I had thought my next project might be transforming a vintage cookbook into a kitchen utensil holder.  Though after seeing the trailer that includes the author making a bookmobile (shown on the book cover above) I might just get the glue out again and try that first …

Do check out her blog for further inspiration.

Craft for lazy summer days!

In need of a new project for those long summer days? Check out some of our great new books! The first one up is knitting hats, and yes I know it is summer, but think – you will actually have a new hat ready by winter! Rather than the alternative. i.e. head gets cold THEN start knitting hat, hat finished by spring……

Syndetics book coverWeekend hats : 25 knitted caps, berets, cloches, and more / Cecily Glowik MacDonald, Melissa LaBarre.
” Embrace the hottest head-turning fashion accessory: the knitted hat The clever designs of Hats 2.0 will have enthusiastic knitters everywhere rejoicing in year-round hat style. …Inside you’ll find: Expert advice to spark the interests of a variety of skill levels with special attention paid to exploring cables, lace, color, and texture. Twenty-five contemporary designer hat patterns …Tips and tricks on how to maximize the use of specialty yarns and accessories to add a little panache to your designs. … Whether you’re interested in comfort, style, or just knitting enjoyment, Hats 2.0is your all-in-one resource for creating want-to-wear knitted caps. “– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverThe cloth paper scissors book : techniques and inspiration for creating mixed-media art / [edited by] Barbara Delaney.
“Where paint, paper, fabric, metal, and wax all come to play. Uncover the very best articles and projects from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. ….Explore the exciting worlds of collage, journaling, encaustic, printing, assemblage, and more. … The only rule in this mixed-media guide is that there are no rules. In addition to the tips and techniques, the experts elaborate on their favorite tools and mediums, including …. Perfect for all skill levels,… showcases inspiring projects for both those who are new to the world of mixed media and those who already love mixed media and are looking for exciting new ideas”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverPaper wonderland : 32 terribly cute toys ready to cut, fold & build / Michelle Romo.
“This is a collection of super kawaii-like paper toy templates–ready to be cut out, built and played with or displayed. So sweet they make your teeth hurt, Michelle Romo’s cute style can be summed up as Japanese-influenced cuteness with mid-century modern flair. Her characters can be brought into 3D life with only an X-acto knife and some glue. Besides people and animals, the collection also includes an adorable house, a sweetly spooky ghost and moustaches that can be assembled and worn.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScandinavian quilt style : over 40 sewing projects for home comfort and style / Trine Bakke. Scandinavian designs often have a flavour and design all of its own. This book is no exception. If you are looking for some different ideas, especially on how to use hard to match fabrics check out this book. (Crafty Librarian)

Syndetics book coverGoldwork : techniques, projects and pure inspiration / Hazel Everett.
A source of information and inspiration for anyone interested in goldwork embroidery.(Syndetics) This book covers all the basics, but has plenty to keep the expert going too! (Crafty librarian)

Syndetics book coverWeaving flowers from New Zealand flax / Ali Brown. Great to have a Kiwi book on the blog! This book has all the tips and tricks you need as a well as some great ideas for using the flowers! (Crafty librarian)

Yeah it is Winter! (well Autumn, same thing!)

I am sure all the crafters out there are rejoicing in the cold weather, nothing like staying in and crafting the weekend away. Which leads me to a question, why is my jobs list longer than my weekend? So much craft so little time.

Syndetics book coverMaking vintage jewellery : 25 original designs, from earrings to corsages / Emma Brennan.
“The vintage look is hot. Beginning jewellers can update their own collections with these timeless, handmade pieces that bring individual flair to even the most basic outfit…. There is also a comprehensive techniques section with lavish photography to guide the novice through all the basics, from working with wire to sewing on sequins.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLinen and thread : creating homewares embellished with embroidery and ribbon / Monique Lyonnet ; photography by Frederic Lucano.
I have not got my hands on this one yet, but I loved “made in France’s” black work book, if this is half as good I will be impressed!

Syndetics book coverCoffee cozies.
“What does the well-dressed coffee pot wear? All knitters are sure to have their favourite among the 30 colourful, fun designs in this great new addition to the popular “Cozy “series. The cozies–all created and contributed by the readers of “Knitting” magazine–use a wide range of techniques, …And because cozies are small and quick to knit…. –it’s a great place for beginners or experienced knitters to polish their skills and learn new techniques.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTimeless quilts : / designs by Ruth van Haeff and Janine Flew.
A friend did one of the quilts from this book and it turned out beautifully!

Syndetics book coverNew decoupage : transforming your home with paper, glue, and scissors / Durwin Rice ; photographs by George Ross.
“Inexpensive and remarkably easy to do, decoupage is enjoying a resurgence of popularity …..With a brief history of the art and a review of all the fundamental decoupage techniques, plus an exciting look at the future of decoupage, New Decoupage puts a fresh face on an ever-popular traditional craft. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSweet treats in cross-stitch : 53 delightful projects to embroider / Tinou Le Joly Sénoville ; photography by Frédéric Lucano ; styling by Sonia Lucano ; [translator, Melissa McMahon].
The “recipes” in this are lovely, but they do make you hungry!

We are having a number of events through May so keep an eye on the craft blog and see you there!

Kids, paper, glue and paint!

What could go wrong? Normally I am not one for looking at kids craft books. But I was recently dealing with a pile of new books and came across 3 great new kids craft and art books:

Syndetics book coverThe Usborne book of origami and other paper projects / Eileen O’Brien and Kate Needham . This book has great ideas while using simple tools, and yes the paper water bombs work really well, my nephews had a blast with them, and all we used was a pile of coloured paper. Mind you their dad is still in mourning for the back yard.

Big book of papercraft / Fiona Watt ; designed and illustrated by Antonia Miller, Non Figg and Katrina Fearn.
This text is full of fun and challenging things to make and do with paper, from paper crocodiles to 3-D bugs, book covers and embossing. It contains over 45 activities, each accompanied by simple, step-by-step instructions and clear illustrations to make them easy to understand and complete.

365 things to draw and paint / Fiona Watt ; designed and illustrated by Erica Harrison … [et al.].
This book is perfect for the young artist.