Embark on a new creative adventure!

January has brought everyone a much-needed respite from the previous year. It’s a great time to open our creative selves to infinite possibilities of happy accidents. This month’s new titles offer aspiring makers and experienced crafters handmade projects that don’t involve mobile phones. How exciting!

Are you ready to embark on a new crafting adventure? For rad creations that make every wardrobe eco-friendly, try fashion upcycling – sewing and mending projects that won’t break the bank. Perhaps imagine yourself holding a vibrant skein of yarn, eager to begin a beautiful crocheted or knitted project.  Each title features step-by-step instructions with beautiful accompanying photos, making it easy for beginners to achieve success. So, let your creativity soar and follow your innate curiosity to celebrate this new year!

Mending with kids : patching, painting, sewing & other kid-friendly techniques / Levy, Nami
“Mending With Kids shows you how to take torn, stained and outgrown kids’ clothes and make them better than before using various simple techniques that you can do with your kids. This book is filled with helpful tips and techniques. Best of all, most of these techniques are easy enough for kids to join in and put their personal stamp on. And with your supervision, they’ll pick up practical skills along the way. This book has templates for patches and stencils that kids can use to trace fun shapes, and it provides zipper repair, stitching, and darning techniques. You can preserve your kids’ wardrobe and save money, while your kids can participate in saving the environment and exercising their creativity. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!”–Publisher’s description.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Handmade books at home : a beginner’s guide to binding journals, sketchbooks, photo albums and more / Ly, Chanel
“You don’t need to be an experienced bookbinder to create one-of-a-kind books. Chanel Ly, the founder of Bitter Melon Bindery, guides you through 12 practical projects you can personalize to show off your creative side. All you need are a few basic tools and materials to get started.  Adapted from the back cover.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)


Alexandra’s garden vegetables : 30 crochet vegetable patterns / Lord, Kerry
“Here are 30 friendly vegetables waiting to be brought to life by hook and yarn. The array includes orange Pumpkin, yellow Corn on the Cob and red Cherry Tomatoes. In this new book, Kerry Lord heads for the allotment or veg patch to produce delightfully colourful crocheted produce.” (Catalogue)



Fashion upcycling : the DIY guide to sewing, mending, and sustainably reinventing your wardrobe / Hilado, Ysabel
“Save your wallet and the planet by repurposing older clothes and secondhand finds into fashionable new looks! In Fashion Upcycling, popular TikTok designer and Project Runway Junior contestant Ysabel Hilado shares her secrets for reinventing old clothing into dazzling new outfits. With several do-it-yourself, beginner-friendly projects and genius tips and tricks, you’ll learn to express yourself and reinvent your closet in all-new ways.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Sharp notions : essays from the stitching life
“Essays by diverse voices exploring their relationship with fibre arts. In difficult times, the reliability of a knit stitch, a quilting needle’s steady rocking, and a loom’s solid structure can bring comfort. In this nonfiction anthology, writers and artists from different backgrounds explore their complex relationships to fibre arts and the intersection of creative practice and identity, technology, climate change, trauma, politics, chronic illness, and disability.  Sharp Notions showcases Black, Indigenous, South Asian, Chinese, and queer artists and makers and the cultural traditions of craft in diasporic communities. Accompanied by full-colour photographs throughout, these powerful essays challenge the traditional view of crafting and examine the role, purpose, joy, and necessity of craft amid the alienation of contemporary life.”– Provided by publisher.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Made to measure : an easy guide to drafting and sewing a custom wardrobe / Jewell, Elisalex
“Made to Measure guides you to create clothes that fit your body and your individual style while learning pattern drafting, garment sewing, and customizing skills you can use for a lifetime.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

A festive roundup of new crafty reads

Holiday festivities are in full swing, and maybe you’d like to make a wreath to deck the halls! Or perhaps you have a passion for everything sustainable and would like to make a calendula soap to gift to a friend. This month’s offering of new hobbies and crafts books have plenty of nifty ideas for creatives of all levels. The below list includes charming book trees made from old, inexpensive book pages, turning leftover wine into a natural dye, and cute pompom card pegs you can make with your tamariki. Furthermore, for those keen to start a creative lifestyle as we welcome 2024, there’s some beginner-friendly skills and projects to help you get started. So, no matter your experience or attention span level, there is something in our collection that will spark that Christmas joy.

Quick and easy Christmas crafts : 100 gifts & decorations to make for the festive season / Haxell, Kate
“Christmas is a wonderful time of year for crafting! From imaginative handmade gifts to stunning, reusable decorations, this book contains 100 fabulous quick and easy makes for the festive season. All the projects have been carefully selected from Search Press’s best-selling 20 to Make series and are simple enough for beginners as well as seasoned crafters.There’s something for everyone in this book, including knitting, crochet, papercraft, sewing, sugarcraft, cross stitch, polymer clay and needlepoint. Each craft has a handy techniques section to get you started, followed by a range of quick projects that include embroidered snowflake bunting, papercut Christmas cards, knitted Santa and Rudolph finger puppets, crocheted stars and a sugar snowman. All the projects are made using tools and materials that are easy to source and provide all the inspiration you need to make Christmas extra special”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Stars & snowflakes : simple, sustainable papercrafts for the festive season / Lantz, Jennie
“When the nights draw in and you need to add a little magic and sparkle to the long evenings, what better way than to make your own decorations. All you need is paper, scissors and glue, and with the templates and step-by-step instructions in this book, you can create a winter wonderland in your own home. Start with snowflakes in different sizes and scatter them around the room, or hang them from your windows.  All sorts of paper can be used — from leftover wrapping paper, to baking paper and coffee filter paper. There are also wreaths, garlands, leaves, flowers and lots more to discover, and once you start creating these stunningly simple projects, you’ll want to make more and give them as gifts, too!” — Provided by publisher.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Soapmaking for beginners : 100% pure soaps to make at home / Umehara, Ayako
“The all-in-one guide to making 100% natural beauty and bath soaps at home! This book makes it easy to create your own soaps using ingredients that you know and trust. Author Ayako Umehara, a certified herbal therapist, aromatherapy and Ayurveda instructor, shows you how to make your own soaps using pure and simple natural ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, rose hips, as well as many novel aromatic ingredients like Yuzu Matcha Mint, Lemon, Eucalyptus and Salt, Seaweed and Clay. A special section introduces basic techniques for bar soaps and how to vary the type and quantity of plant oils used. An extensive reference section covers everything you need about natural and botanical additives, such as plant and essential oils, herbs, dried flowers, etc. For all your cleansing needs, Soapmaking for Beginners has got you covered–in suds!”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Knitted Christmas stockings : 25 festive designs to make for family and friends / Reynolds, Emilee
“There’s nothing more exciting than waking up on Christmas morning to find a stocking, with your name on it, stuffed with presents. This year, you can create that magical moment for friends and family with these truly special handmade stockings. With the choice of modern designs, jolly elves, classic nativity scenes and traditional festive themes, you can find a style to suit everyone. Why stop at one stocking, when you could make them for the whole family?” — Back cover.” (Catalogue)

Botanical dyes : plant-to-print dyes, techniques and projects / Behan, Babs
“Babs Behan guides readers through everything you need to know to make your own natural dyes. She features recipes and top tips on everything you need to know to make your own natural dyes, focusing on how to turn plants into dyes. — adapted from back cover” (Catalogue)


Retro crochet style : 15 beginner-friendly patterns to create your vintage-inspired closet / Price, Savannah
“Learn to create your own fabulous and one-of-a-kind wardrobe with Savannah Price’s Retro Crochet Style. This book will show you, step by step, how to make the perfect sweater, skirt, pants or dress, all of which can be customized to fit every body shape and size. Be your gorgeous self in clothing that was designed specifically for you or put a smile on your best friend’s face by gifting them a stylish new sweater handmade with love.” (Catalogue)

Calling All Crafters!

Winter time is the best for getting stuck into those craft projects.  Watching the throw you’re crocheting grow over your lap, or the warm jersey forming from your knitting needles is lovely on a day when you can get cosy.  Perhaps you’re an embroiderer, or quilting is your thing.  No matter what your craft of choice is, these cold winter days just invite settling in somewhere cosy and getting creative.

If you’d like some company while you work on your current project, have you thought of coming to one of the craft sessions in our libraries?

Arapaki Knit & Natter

Arapaki library on Manners Street in the city has weekly lunchtime sessions on Tuesdays at 12:30pm.  Pop in on your lunch break to get away from work for a little bit, and enjoy the company of other craft minded folk.  Perhaps you could borrow this book from their collection to give you some inspiration:

Beginner’s guide to colourwork knitting : 16 projects and techniques to learn to knit with colour / Austin, Ella
“Introduction — Choosing colors — Yarn and tools — Reading charts — Stripes — Slipped stitches — Stranded colourwork — Intarsia — Double knitting — Modular knitting — Entrelac — Techniques. Beginner’s guide to colorwork knitting explains all the techniques and stitches you need to start your journey to knitting with color.” (Catalogue)

Wadestown Library – Community Craft Circle

Or you could pop in to Wadestown library on the third Wednesday of every month at 10:30am for their Community Craft Circle.  Join other crafters in their community space to share conversation, craft tips and crafting supply sources.  It’s always lovely to see a new face.  And perhaps you might like to borrow this book from their collection:

Anyone can crochet amigurumi animals : 15 adorable crochet patterns / Simpson, Kristi
“Whether you’ve been crocheting for years or have never picked up a crochet hook before, this accessible, exciting project guide will show any crafter of any skill level everything you need to know to successfully make adorable amigurumi animals! This crochet project book opens with expert guidance on basic tools and techniques and insightful introductory sections on the basics. Get detailed insight on the background of amigurumi, basic materials, how to read patterns, and other essential tips to know in the preface to the projects. Also included are stitch guides, a comprehensive glossary, a handy abbreviations sheet, and more.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Johnsonville Library Sit & Knit

On alternating Sundays at Johnsonville Library at the Waitohi Hub, there’s a fortnightly sewing and craft group for thread-heads of all skill levels and ages. Bring along an existing project, some needles and some yarn, or use our basket of goodies.​ You do need to register for this popular event as there is limited space available, and you can do so here.  Maybe this sewing book from their collection is something that would interest you:

Simple hand sewing : 35 slow stitching and mindful mending projects / Strutt, Laura
“Hand sewing is a great way to practice mindfulness through craft. Laura Strutt has designed these 35 projects specially to develop your hand-sewing skills, but also to help you slow down, enjoy the moment, and appreciate the rewards of your work. Using a number of different techniques including visible mending, sashiko, embroidery, thread doodling, boro, and abstract embroidery, Laura shows you how to incorporate these methods into making something useful, creative, and sustainable. Whichever project you choose, take time to enjoy the process and simply sew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more information on library events and programmes, you can go to: Event Calendar (wcl.govt.nz)

Winter Projects to Warm-up Your Creative Soul: New Crafts and Hobbies Books

This month, we round up the fresh crafts and hobbies titles to treat your creative self to projects that celebrate WINTER. So, grab those hand tools, and let’s get busy!


From simple hand-sewn mending projects to learning to create your first retro-designed apron, easy projects await the seamstress-in-the-making. Simple hand sewing: 35 slow stitching and mindful mending projects by Laura Strutt and Fabulous fat quarter aprons: fun and functional retro designs for today’s kitchen by Mary Beth Temple can guide you on your first make with only the most basic sewing skills.

As the temperatures continue to drop, winter allows for much-needed healing and recharging.  Flip and tune in to the pages of inspirational stories that will tug your heartstrings, On Mending: Stories of damage and repair by Celia Pym is a must on your list.

Crochet lovers will be delighted with two new reads, Crocheted Houseplants: beautiful flora to make by Emma Varnam and Tom Daley’s Made with Love: get hooked with 30 knitting and crochet patterns. So, crochet your way with these gorgeous projects that will add colour and warmth on a dreary winter morning.  Similarly, Close Knit: 15 Patterns and 45 Techniques from Beginner to Advanced from Europe’s Coolest Knitter by Lærke Bagger is an inspiration for knitters yearning to test their skills with something edgy and funky. With the gnarly rain hitting the capital during these winter months, spending an indoor weekend afternoon upcycling an existing garment or creating something new for yourself can be just the creative boost you need.

Simple hand sewing : 35 slow stitching and mindful mending projects / Strutt, Laura
“Hand sewing is a great way to practice mindfulness through craft. Laura Strutt has designed these 35 projects specially to develop your hand-sewing skills, but also to help you slow down, enjoy the moment, and appreciate the rewards of your work. Using a number of different techniques including visible mending, sashiko, embroidery, thread doodling, boro, and abstract embroidery, Laura shows you how to incorporate these methods into making something useful, creative, and sustainable. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sewing love : handmade clothes for any body / Ishida, Sanae
“Learning to create and customize your own patterns empowers you to make exactly the kind of clothes you want, and solves the fit issues of ready-to-wear clothing or commercial patterns designed for an “ideal” body type. Ishida takes you thorugh the simple art of pattern-making and garment sewing. You’ll leran to make fashionable yet timeless items completely customized to your own body measurements. — adapted from front flap” (Catalogue)

On mending : stories of damage and repair / Pym, Celia
“A fascinating insight into the work of a pre-eminent craftsperson, On Mending was inspired by Anni Albers’ seminal work, On Weaving, (1965). Not a ‘how-to’ book, this is rather an in-depth look into the damage that we do, as manifested by our outer layers, our clothes.” (Catalogue)



Fabulous fat quarter aprons : fun and functional retro designs for today’s kitchen / Temple, Mary Beth
“Fashionable Fun for Your Kitchen. Those who sew know that a fat quarter stash can accumulate fast. In Fabulous Fat Quarter Aprons, Mary Beth Temple offers a dozen novel project ideas that are functional, fun, and will use your stash with a wink to the past. Ideal for the busy kitchen, your next holiday party, or that special gift for a friend, each design can be made with anywhere from two to six fat quarters and comes with a matching potholder, oven mitt, or hot pad. Best of all, this handy guide offers an excellent starting point for anyone looking to join the sewing community. So grab your stash and let your materials and imagination run wild to create the apron of your dreams.” (Catalogue)

Made with love : get hooked with 30 knitting and crochet patterns / Daley, Tom
“Tom Daley is on a mission to inspire the next generation of crafters. Stitch by stitch, in Made With Love he wants readers everywhere to discover the joys of knitting and crochet. Alongside 30 exclusive projects ranging from covetable gifts to chic homeware, cosy accessories and stylish wardrobe essentials, Tom offers helpful tips and tricks.” (Catalogue)


Design and create contemporary tableware : making pottery you can use / Bloomfield, Linda
“The tableware we use is very important in our everyday lives, whether plates, bowls, mugs, cups or teapots. This stylishly illustrated guide helps budding and established ceramicists alike to create practical and attractive ranges, starting with design principles, working through appropriate construction techniques, and leading on to decoration and finishes. Leading designers Sue Pryke and Linda Bloomfield explain the importance of inspiration and consistency in design, providing step-by-step guides to the main making methods, which include hand building, pinching, coiling, throwing and slip casting. They also offer advice on using various clay materials, and the combination of clay with other materials including wood, metal, textiles and synthetics.” — Back cover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crocheted houseplants : beautiful flora to make for your home / Varnam, Emma
“Plants can make any space feel more tranquil, and by making the unique projects in this book, you can enjoy a lush green indoor oasis without ever having to remember about watering, repotting or feeding. Ideal for armchair growers who aren’t keen on getting their hands dirty, these crocheted beauties will give year-round horticultural satisfaction, without any of the hassle. You’ll find retro crowd-pleasers, like yucca, spire, and Swiss cheese plants, along with dramatic purple foliage of coleus, the delicate blooms of the moth orchid and the menacing Venus fly trap.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Creative inspirations to kick off the New Year: New hobbies and craft books

As we usher in the New Year, seize that fresh opportunity and reclaim the promise of a more creative life. Get excited for your first easy weekend makes as we round up this month’s crafts and hobbies books! We think you’ll find a project below to uplift your spirits and enhance the comfort of your home — whether you choose to practice mindfulness through the ancient art of Japanese calligraphy, or prefer to read about cherished travel stories captured in intricate crochet patterns. Also included, some more general inspiration. Have a browse!

Shodo : the practice of mindfulness through the ancient art of Japanese calligraphy / Takeda, Rie
“The ancient Japanese art of calligraphy is more than just a decorative skill; it is a revolutionary approach to mindfulness. This book is a beautiful introduction to Shodo, which shows how the movement of a brush channels energy through the body and mind, uniting both in harmony. What results on the paper is a true depiction of the present moment, a movement towards a more peaceful mindfulness. Shodo expert and professional calligrapher Rie Takeda shares the history, philosophy and craft of Shodo. Decorated throughout with her stunning art, Takeda begins with the basic brushstrokes, and builds up to drawing complete kanji, beautifully nuanced in both appearance and meaning. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crochet journey : a global crochet adventure from the guy with the hook / Roseboom, Mark
“Crochet Journey: Crocheting and travelling… these two passions have been brought together by talented designer Mark Roseboom — aka The Guy with the Hook — in this exquisite crochet book. Mark has traveled extensively in the last ten years. He has seen and learned from the different cultures, religions and ways of life. Travelling made him the person he is today. And it’s the same with crochet. Each design in the book is inspired by a cherished memory and takes you on an adventure through the wonderful world of crochet. The patterns feature full written instructions in US crochet terms, charts, and Mark’s tips for success. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The complete beginner’s guide to embroidery : everything you need to start creating today
“In Beginner’s Guide to Embroidery, you can experience this for yourself. Regardless of if you’re a needlework novice or a seasoned sewer, we’ve laid out all the tools and techniques you need to get started.” (Catalogue)

P.S.– we made this : super fun crafts that grow smarter + happier kids / Domesek, Erica
“A concise set of easy-to-construct crafts for parents to create with their children. Working with childhood play and learning professional Laura Felt, Domesek includes crafts that are marked with codes to show the cognitive, physical, or social-emotional skills the activities emphasize. Most of the projects involve materials easily found around the house [and] incorporate ideas for expanded elements of play and participant improvisation”–Library Journal.” (Catalogue)

Dress code : unlocking fashion from the new look to millennial pink / Hyland, Véronique
“Everything–from societal changes to the progress (or lack thereof) of women’s rights to the hidden motivations behind what we choose to wear to align ourselves with a particular social group–can be tracked through clothing. Veronique Hyland examines thought-provoking questions such as: Why has the “French girl” persisted as our most undying archetype? What does “dressing for yourself” really mean for a woman? How should a female politician dress? Will gender-differentiated fashion go forever out of style? How has social media affected and warped our sense of self-presentation, and how are we styling ourselves expressly for it?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Karl Lagerfeld unseen : the Chanel years / Fairer, Robert
“”Casting a new light on one of the best-loved chapters in fashion history, ‘Karl Lagerfeld Unseen: The Chanel Years’ illuminates key Chanel collections and creations from behind the scenes. From discreet client fittings in rue Cambon’s immaculate black-and-beige salons to previously unseen backstage moments that show models, hairdressers, stylists, make-up artists and Karl Lagerfeld himself at work, Robert Fairer’s stunning and high-energy photographs capture the elegance, glamour and spirit that defined Karl Lagerfeld’s shows for Chanel.”–Publisher’s website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crochet Projects to Challenge You

I don’t know about any of you other crocheters, but I’m bored with crocheting granny squares and the afghan throw of eternity (it’s nearly big enough to cover a king size bed, twice, how do I stop??)  I have a huge yarn stash, built up after last year’s lockdown so that never be without yarn in a lockdown again, and of course, a lot more time to actually crochet, but inspiration has been lacking.   Then I realised I had access to Overdrive from home, and I went hunting for eBooks and online magazines to kickstart my crochet creativity.  I thought I’d share a few that I really enjoyed with you here:

Kawaii Crochet by Melissa Bradley – super easy amigurumi patterns for 40 very cute food toys.  I hadn’t attempted amigurumi before, and Kawaii Crochet was a great primer for getting started.  I made the cutest little lemon in about half an hour at my first attempt.


Title details for 100 Micro Crochet Motifs by Steffi Glaves - Wait list

100 Micro Crochet Motifs by  Steffi Glaves – I cannot resist a tiny crochet and these are perfect for making into earrings.  Or perhaps add to berets and beanies to give them a pretty twist.  Again, these patterns are easy to follow and are a good way to use up the leftover bits of yarn from earlier projects.


Title details for Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore - Available

Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore – want to jazz up the neighbourhood on your socially distanced walk?  Learn a little about the history of yarn bombing/graffiti, seek out some inspiration and find some patterns to create for your first yarn bomb projects.


Title details for My First Crochet Book by CICO Books - Wait list

My First Crochet Book by CICO Books – if you have bored kids, involve them in crochet.  This junior crochet book is written in simple language, has plenty of starter projects that both you and the kids can get into.  Crochet is excellent for young minds and hands.  It’s very calming, you can find a crochet hook that suits small hands without having to buy special junior ones, it’s inexpensive to start (a ball of acrylic yarn is the best place to start) and there’s a completed project at the end.

Title details for Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workshop by Ellen Gormley - Available

Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workshop by Ellen Gormley – Ok maybe you do want to work on an Afghan throw of eternity.  That’s the thing with Afghan rugs and throws, you can just keep going at them and watch them grow.  This book will kick you off if you’ve never made an Afghan design before and give you inspiration for some new ones.


Title details for How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques by Deborah Burger - Available

How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques by Deborah Burger – another book of small, stashbuster patterns, great for making patches for clothes, bags, hats, you name it.  I can see some of them as brooches too.  Lots of themes and motifs for you to work your way through.


Title details for Lacework for Adventurous Crocheters by Margaret Hubert - Available

Lacework for Adventurous Crocheters by Margaret Hubert – perhaps your crochet skills are a little more advanced than mine and you’d love to give some fine lacework a go.  I haven’t had a go at these yet, but I did drool over the patterns and styles on offer.  One day I hope to have the confidence to have a go at these.


These are just the tip of the iceberg for the books and magazines you can find on Overdrive for crochet, not to mention all of the other craft topics available.  You can find more crochet books and magazines here.

Happy stitching!