New Year Inspirations – Craft picks for January

Start the New Year with lots of inspiring ideas found in this fabulous collection of new library books. Read about enchanting printmaking techniques for expressive mark making and unleash your inner artist. Have fun with crochet projects inspired by classic fairy tales or if you prefer knitting there are gorgeous ideas to add to your ‘To-knit list’ for this year. Enjoy the challenge!

Syndetics book coverPrintmaking unleashed : more than 50 techniques for expressive mark making / Traci Bautista.
“Unleash your inner artist and join Traci Bautista as she shares inventive ideas for making marks with handmade tools, nontraditional materials and simple DIY printmaking techniques. Pulsing with exploration and whimsy, Printmaking Unleashed features 60+ step-by-step demonstrations and countless possibilities for creating original prints, fabrics, art journal pages, mixed-media collage, and so much more.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCrochet ever after : 18 crochet projects inspired by classic fairy tales / Brenda K. B. Anderson.
“Shows and movies based on fairy tales are incredibly popular, and crafty crocheters now have a book of fabulous projects that pay homage to their favorite stories. Little Red’s hood with integrated infinity scarf will stay put when she’s being chased by the Big Bad Wolf. Sleeping Beauty now has just the right nightie to wear while waiting for Prince Charming to wake her up. Gretel can take her snacks to go with her cupcake purse. Plus the Evil Queen will know exactly who the hottest in the land is when she gazes into her Mirror, Mirror on the Go makeup case. Heroines, fairy princesses, witches, and big bad wolves are all accounted for in this fanciful collection of crochet accessories, toys, bags, kids’ clothes, and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverChunky knits : 31 projects for you & your home knit with bulky yarn / Ashley Little.
“Here’s the secret of bulky yarns – they knit up quickly. This attractive book features more than 25 patterns that use bulky- or superbulky-weight yarn, and the great thing about them is that they are not the usual suspects. Yes, there are hats, mittens, and scarves and shawls, but there are also a delicate-looking lace capelet, a scalloped necklace, and even a lacy lampshade covering. Knitters looking for instant gratification will find it in smaller projects: braided wall art, jewelry, and round, cabled sachets.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverPainting made easy / Mike Chaplin with Diana Vowles.
“Professional artist Mike Chaplin demonstrates that anyone can paint if they are taught the necessary techniques in a simple and structured way. Starting from the premise that we all want to make marks to record the world around us, this book aims to give basic guidelines that will help anyone to express themselves through different media but especially watercolours, oils and pastels with essential skills and techniques presented in an accessible way.” (Adapted from Publisher’s description)

Marvellous crafts to explore and discover

Find lots of inspiration and practical ideas in our latest library craft books. Start your crafting adventure reading about artists who are enjoying sharing their knowledge and ideas with young crafters about knitting, crocheting, sewing, stitching and hand weaving – without spending a fortune! A fantastic way to learn how to make beautiful things that work for you and your family, satisfy your creative urge and have fun!

Syndetics book coverChloë tells you how… to sew : more than 30 things to make, do, and sew / Chloë Owens.
“Chloe Owens brings the past to life. Chloe Owens is inspired by all things vintage – much of her work is made with groovy fabrics designed in the 1960s. But she also has a passion for the annuals she read as a child, with their story strips, brightly-coloured two-tone illustrations, and snippets of instruction mixed in with activities, puzzles and games. In this book, she has created a truly unique blend of beautiful craft projects and stylish, retro artworks and design in this blend of old and new. The projects include everything from egg cozies to upcycled chairs, and display her trademark eye for fabrics, and embellishment with applique and embroidery. Whether you are already a fan of Chloe’s work or you are discovering her for the first time, this combination of practical projects with illustrations by some of the best contemporary artists will delight you.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSew bunting : simple and stunning garlands to style your home / Debbie Shore.
“Her imaginative, modern designs give a new twist to these traditional decorations, making them ideal for adorning special celebrations, your garden or your home. With 29 eye-catching projects to choose from, all accompanied by simple, easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photographs, you are sure to find something in this book to excite and inspire you. Choose from romantic Valentine bunting, festive advent calender bunting, fragrant lavender bag bunting, as well as Halloween bunting, felt bunting, frilly bunting, and lots more. All you need is a sewing machine and a basic sewing kit, and with all the basic techniques explained clearly at the beginning of the book, there is nothing to stop you getting going on a project straight away, even if you are a complete beginner.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverStitch and structure / Jean Draper.
“Diagrams, drawings and easy-to-follow instructions take the reader through each technique; beginning with recording information for translation into stitch, then moving on to constructing with threads and linear structures and making experimental textiles and structures using stitched fabrics.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverKnitting with giant needles : simple projects to knit and crochet / Hanna Charlotte Erhorn.
“Enjoy quick and easy knitting and crocheting using giant knitting needles and thick yarns with Knitting with Giant Needles. Use a few relaxing hours on the sofa to catch up with the latest trend of knitting with giant needles and create beautiful and unique accessories for your wardrobe and home in no time. You can choose from 35 gorgeous, inspirational projects to fill your weekends, from scarves and shoulder bags to cushions and blankets. You can even choose from variations of the projects to ensure you get your perfect crafty creation, ideal for creating individual accessories or gifts. Whether you are an experienced knitter or just starting out, step-by-step knitting pictures show basic techniques, making knitting easy for everyone.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverBoycraft : loads of things to make for and with boys (and girls) / Sara Duchars & Sarah Marks ; illustrations by Nicola Kent.
“Duchars and Marks note, “There are plenty of craft books out there for girls, but even the ones that don’t have pink frilly cupcakes on the cover are often full of handbags, fairy wings and princess tiaras.” No such items are on display in this book, which targets “boys and tomboys” with lots of messy, spooky, and recycled crafts; boys will like the can-do attitude of this book. A particular standout is the totally enthralling papier-mache landscape that truly does look like it will offer days of fun. American readers will have to overlook some British English, a small quirk. A larger concern is the haphazard arrangement of the projects. In the sewing chapter, for example, making a large stuffed animal is followed by instructions for making the simpler giant beanbag chair, which is followed by instructions for simplest-of-all beanbags, sequenced in the exact opposite of skill-building order. And directions are far from comprehensive; trying to make the bird feeder Duchars and Marks offer will lead to heartbreak. Still, these low-key projects will inspire outdoorsy kids who might not otherwise be interested in a crafts book.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverWise craft : turning thrift store finds, fabric scraps, and natural objects into stuff you love / Blair Stocker.
“Stocker, a blogger who had a career in apparel and textile design before staying home to raise children, offers 60 projects in four seasonal chapters, with holiday nods going out from May Day (sheet music and paper bag floral cones) to Halloween (naked zombie Barbies, painted delightfully white). Most undertakings require only an open mind as a skill set, though a bit of sewing (patchwork jeans from thrift store shirts or the picnic blanket fashioned from men’s apparel) or crochet (glass fishing bobbers as casual decor or tree ornaments) skills will help. Even the most gifted repurposer should find inspiration in the woven chair back, crafted from yarn and a lucky side-of-the-road find (a set of mid-century modern dining chairs). “Sometimes,” says Stocker, “what seems blah at first glance just needs an open mind and a little love to be completely transformed.” A keeper for thrift-store divas and dumpster divers.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverMade by yourself : 100% handmade designer DIY projects for the home, from furniture to accessories / Peter Fehrentz.
“DIY is all the rage and handmade objects guarantee individuality and sustainability–and for this reason they have once more become highly sought-after. Made by Yourself’s ideas for furniture and small decorative crafts are 100% individual, while the step-by-step instructions, sketches, and patterns guarantee that they are surprisingly easy and fun to make. The many different kinds of materials–stone, wood, paper/cardboard, glass/porcelain, metal, plastic, textiles and leather–combined with the imaginative ways they fit into their environment make this both a practical and atmospheric book filled with sophisticated and creative ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe art of tinkering : meet 150+ makers working at the intersection of art, science & technology / Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich.
“ Every day, there is something new and wildly wonderful out there that someone has made by hand a city built out of 100,000 toothpicks, a musical instrument that’ s powered by the ocean, or a pop-up book that lights up, too. In “The Art of Tinkering,” you will be introduced to the individuals behind these and many more marvellous works, find out how they create, and get inspired to start tinkering yourself. “The Art of Tinkering” is a collection of exhibits, artwork, and projects that celebrate a whole new way to learn, in which people create their own knowledge through making and doing, working with readily available materials, getting their hands dirty, collaborating with others, problem-solving in the most fun sense of the word, and, yes, oftentimes failing and bouncing back from getting stuck. Each artist featured in “The Art of Tinkering” goes through this process, and lovingly shares the back story behind their own work so that readers can feel invited to join in on the whimsy. The stories, lessons, and tips in The Art of Tinkering offer a fascinating portrait of today’s maker scene. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Beautiful things made with style: New Craft Books in March

It’s been an exiting time for our crafty library team, cataloguing and sorting out all these cool and ‘delicious’ craft books, which are packed with inspiring knitting, quilting, crocheting and sewing projects. If you are ready for an artistic journey take a look at some of our latest arrivals. Get inspiration with new ideas and learn great techniques through the numerous step-by-step tutorials and tips. And, there is much more… You are offered guidance on how to market your craft business, ways to engage with customers, sell your work online and move your business forward with confidence. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverOnce upon a knit : 28 Grimm and glamorous fairy-tale projects / Genevieve Miller. “Iconic fairy-tale characters from storybooks, movies, and television inspire this collection of magical knitting patterns perfect for modern knights, villains, and princesses. Once again, Genevieve Miller taps a wide range of contributors (from knitwear designers to students) to create a collection of 28 wearables, accessories, and toys that can be knit for adults or kids. Inspired by the recent resurgence of fairy-tale and fantasy characters, these projects draw from classic stories as well as pop-culture phenomena featuring romantic, feminine costumes. Projects range from kid- and teen-friendly animals hats to an Alice in Wonderland beret to a crystal-embellished vest fit for a Snow Queen, adding a little dress-up fun to knitters’ everyday wardrobes.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverQuilting with a modern slant : people, patterns, and techniques inspiring the modern quilt community / Rachel May. “May, a founder of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild, has created an encyclopedia of modern quilting. So-called “modern” quilting labels the latest category of quilting, following “traditional” and “art.” Modern quilting-admittedly hard to pin down, but proudly inclusive-is a hybrid of the other two, resulting in quilts that “perform both a design and functional purpose.” May divides her book into seven sections with titles that reflect the whimsy and experimentation that help define modern quilting, including “A Sense of Play,” “Improv,” and “For the Love of Color.” Within those chapters, she presents modern quilters (“Meet”), such as Angela Walters, David Butler, and Caro Sheridan; offers directions (“Project”) for techniques like paper piecing and for quilts, like Sherri Lynn Wood’s modern t-shirt quilt; and covers history and museums. Sidebars cite quilters’ blogs and places to donate quilts, among other information. Crawls at the bottom of pages define words (“Quilt Lingo”) and blurbed quotes from quilters and their blogs are scattered throughout for encouragement. Like a good host, May serves as an enthusiastic introducer, teacher, and cheerleader.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverBaby crochet / Sue Whiting ; [photography by Sian Irvine and Paul Bricknell]. “Create beautiful baby clothes with these quick- to-make designs. 24 gorgeous designs for babies, ranging from pretty cardigans and cosy jackets to hats, bootees, mitts and toys.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverWeekend : 30 quick projects to make for your home and to wear / consultant, Nikki Trench. “Weekends are all about slowing down and taking it easy, and crochet is a wonderfully restful hobby. Why not spend a weekend creating some gorgeous items for your home and your loved ones? Don’t forget to treat yourself – there are plenty of ideas for everyone, from snuggly hot water bottle covers with pom poms to cosy jumpers…  and more!” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverVintage crafts : 75 do-it-yourself decorating projects using candles, colors, and other flea market finds / author & photographer, Clara Lidström ; translated by Anette Cantagallo. “In this book, which is based on her blog, Lidstrom plays that pretty, talented friend who makes flea market finds and shabby chic decor seem enviable. The author makes make-do and mend look like high design, from her collection of “beloved” vintage dresses to a “scrapbooked” linen cabinet decorated with wallpaper. The author never lets her flea market evangelizing (“I fear that we’re annihilating our heritage in the rush to constantly consume what’s new and modern.”) overtake her enthusiasm at remaking a great bargain. Her favorite thing to do is to “pimp” her finds: a set of old speakers with lace, notebooks with vintage girls’ book covers, and a lampshade. The book contains a few gems, such as a recipe for wallpaper paste using water, sugar, and potato flour, as well as tips for freshening up old clothes with flaxseed oil soft soap. Her advice isn’t always new-using newspaper to form cups for seedlings or attaching jar lids underneath a shelf-but no matter. The book is less a practicum and more an idiosyncratic and inspiring romp through the charming space that Lidstrom has created from scraps and paint. Framing that world is a series of gorgeous, light-filled, photos, in which the author and her son often play a supporting role to the author’s lime-and-red retro kitchen or her tastefully unkempt vegetable garden.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverMade for baby : more than 50 fabulous gifts for babies / [editor, Hilary Mandelberg]. “This book features more than 50 fabulous homemade gifts for babies. Make over 50 beautiful, creative and personalised gifts for newborn babies to one year olds with Made for Baby. Homemade, personalised presents for babies are more popular than ever. Made for Baby includes a range of projects, from easy to complex, ensuring you can make beautiful gifts for babies to cherish whatever your craft skills. You can make anything from a button bunny to an appliqued cushion cover or spoil the new mum with a cupcake gift set. Other adorable projects include a night sky mobile, a sleepy dog rattle and wooden stacking blocks. Indulge in sewing, painting, paper crafts and more to make gifts for all occasions, including baby showers, new baby congratulations and first birthdays. Made for Baby is perfect for anyone looking to make and give gifts that will be cherished.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMade for you : homemade gifts to give / Jenny Occleshaw. “Helps you create gifts for your friends, family and loved ones using your sewing, beading, knitting, crochet, felting and embroidery skills. This book features projects that are divided into the following sections: Gifts for children, ladies, gents and the home. It is suitable for experienced crafters and newcomers alike.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book cover “Make your own cute and easy pompoms / by Kazue Kasuga, Ryoko Nishizua, Naoko Nakui, Idea Oshima ; Kevin Wilson, translator. “Most crafters are familiar with pompoms as embellishments for hats or scarves. The authors, a collective of Japanese fiber artists who call themselves Pompoms, banish the “embellishment-only” point of view with this series of whimsical projects that use creative placement of yarn and shaped trimming techniques to create pompoms featuring patterns or pictures. No specialized equipment is needed-either a piece of cardboard or a standard pompom maker will do; the magic is in the way the yarn is wrapped around the pompom maker. There’s a lot of counting involved, since the directions are given in number of wraps of each color of yarn, but the end results are surprisingly detailed. Standouts include a variety of pretty floral pompoms, as well as a pompom matryoshka set. – These easy projects require simple equipment and inexpensive supplies, making them appropriate for all ages.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book cover “How to show & sell your crafts : how to build your craft business at home, online, and in the marketplace / Torie Jayne. “Online marketplaces like Etsy have opened up a new world for crafters who want to make money from their work, and UK-based Jayne, whose aesthetic is part English country house, part “put a bird on it” quirk, enlists the help of a number of successful craft entrepreneurs for this collection of tips for making a living selling creations. Though the title is presented as a book on showing and selling crafts, it comes across as more of a lifestyle manual, with cutesy projects taking the place of practical advice. Some of Jayne’s suggestions are a little odd-does it really matter if you cover your storage boxes with floral wallpaper, or if the chair you sit in to work is “stylish”?-but her tips on branding will be helpful to those who are new to marketing their wares. Those who have already mastered the basics and are looking to take their fledgling businesses to the next level may prefer Kari Chapin’s Grow Your Handmade Business, which focuses less on making your workspace pretty and more on selling handmade goods as a livelihood. VERDICT Crafters who are just starting out may find some handy tips here, but only if they’re willing to wade through all the style-related fluff to find the nuggets of wisdom.” (Library Journal)