New craft and hobby books to curl up with this winter

Winter is just right around the corner, and the chilling weather is well underway. Cosy up this season making handmade creations for your home or yourself.  Whether you want to restore a piece of old furniture or take on a delightful but quirky cat cross-stitch pattern, be inspired by books showcasing clear step-by-step photographs and easy-to-follow techniques. We’ve rounded up this month’s new titles that will surely bring warmth to your creative self. So, grab your knitting needles, crochet hooks, and sewing kits – let’s start making!

A handmade cottage : the art of crafting a home / Seymour, Jodie May
“It’s possible to create a picture-perfect cottage frugally and simply with some creative ideas and a little DIY know-how. Jodie May Seymour shares her projects and ideas for every room in the house using simple craft and DIY techniques. Almost everything can be made by an absolute beginner, yet there are also inspiring projects that will appeal to the more skilled crafter. From candles and lampshades to dressers and curtains, this guide offers a variety of DIY projects and introduces some of the most useful techniques such as sanding, sewing, and painting. Whether you want to restore old furniture, repurpose forgotten fabrics, or decorate your home using natural materials, you can create a beautiful and unique home on a tight budget.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Peter Panda and pals : 10 sweet and easy amigurumi designs to crochet / Vindevogel, Femke
“Crochet Peter Panda and his amigurumi friends: 10 quirky animals to brighten your day. Be captivated by the personalities of Peter Panda and his whimsical friends! Femke Vindevogel invites you to crochet 10 irresistible animals, each one with its own uplifting story to tell.  Between 18cm (7in) and 26cm (10in) high, yet with personalities much bigger, these toys burst onto the scene with their Scandi palette, joyful outlook and smart accessories. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cross stitch with cattitude : 20 pawsome designs / Congdon, Emma
“In this collection of 20 projects, bestselling cross stitch designer Emma Congdon gets inside the mind of a finickity feline to deliver a humorous selection of projects that will chime with cat owners everywhere. Easy-to-follow full-colour charts, step-by-step instructions on the techniques, and a gifty package make this ideal for beginners.” (Catalogue)


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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)

Slow Fashion Projects Galore: New Crafts & Hobbies Books

With springtime coming soon, everyone looks forward to sunshine and warm weather.  This month’s crafts and hobbies titles are filled with pages that will surely spark joy at every turn. From bagmaking to embroidery, get inspired with handmade extravaganzas that uplift the creative soul and celebrate the planet.

Feeling stitchy? Have fun doing simple projects while saving textile waste going to the landfill with Jen Rich’s book, Stitch, Sewing Projects for the Modern Maker. Also, Zero Waste Patterns: 20 Projects to Sew Your Own Wardrobe by Birgitta Helmersson will help every eco-friendly seamstress create their first tank top using a unique “paperless” pattern method. While The re:fashion wardrobe: sew your own stylish, sustainable clothes by Portia Lawrie offers our budding eco-makers a guide on sourcing and ” harvesting” existing clothes and applying “refashioning” techniques to transform an old piece of clothing into something edgy.

Similarly, if you love lingering at the op shops and hunting for copious amounts of preloved clothes, don’t miss the book by Melody Fortier, New to You: How to Buy, Fix, and Keep Second-hand Clothing. Let the author, a vintage fashion expert, help you build a stylish but more sustainable wardrobe collection.  Another creative goody to keep you busy is Sara Naumann’s Modern Resin Jewellery: over 50 inspiring easy-to-make projects.  Develop a new skill set by creating your own earrings using a few tools and materials.  The author provides over 50 visually inviting projects for budding resin crafters!

So, get inspired this upcoming season with less textile waste and the pleasure of everything handmade that will surely make Mother Nature smile.

Zero waste patterns : 20 projects to sew your own wardrobe / Helmersson, Birgitta
“Zero waste pattern cutting is a bit like a puzzle. You use a pre-determined length of fabric end to end by strategically planning your pattern pieces so that everything is used and then draw them onto the fabric. By using this unique “paperless” method you can eliminate both textile and paper waste from your sewing projects and take the fear out of learning to self draft and sew your own clothing. This book includes 5 simple zero-waste pattern blocks and can then be used to make a further 15 projects by making simple changes or mixing and matching your blocks into new designs.”–Publisher’s description.” (Adopted from Catalogue)

Stitch : sewing projects for the modern maker / Rich, Jen
“Stitch will offer contemporary designs and creative projects for the modern maker with a discernible eye for aesthetics, with a focus on customisable makes, stunning fabric inspiration, easy-to-follow instructions and beautifully graphic photography. The book will cover the basic techniques of sewing with all projects achievable either by using a sewing machine or by hand (and a little more time!), and with no overly complicated techniques. Each project will be photographed and some will be accompanied by step-by-step images to help guide you through more intricate instructions. “–Publisher’s description.” (Adopted from Catalogue)

New to you : how to buy, fix, and keep secondhand clothing / Fortier, Melody
“A guide to finding, buying, and caring for vintage clothing”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

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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 (

Create What You Love: New crafts & hobbies books

The autumn vibe is upon us, and what better way to celebrate this new season’s changing foliage to bright reds, oranges, and yellows than starting with nifty creative projects to keep your hands busy and your creative heart happy?

Say goodbye to fast fashion, and hello to ultimate dressmaking projects!  Inside these month’s sewing books are pattern sheets that suit every skill level, from amateur sewers needing a gentle introduction to experienced ones ready for challenging dresses with pleats and details. For avid yarn crafters, author Emma Wright shows how fun it is to CIY (Crochet-It-Yourself) with style while including your creative touch. Or why not go retro? Retro Girl Embroidery by Erin Essiambre will bring all those nostalgic 70s feels while spicing up any living space. Other April titles include Catherine Legrand’s ode to patchwork. With over 300 stunning photographs, every page of Patchwork: A world tour is an inspiration to every fabric fan and artist around. So, whatever your crafting tools are, from knitting needles to a handy little wooden flower press, take a deep breath and treat yourself to these inspiring makes!

How to sew clothes : learn with intuitive, super-hackable patterns / Greenhall, Amelia
“How to Sew Clothes will help you start from scratch or reignite your excitement for sewing-so you can make clothes that are personal, well-fitted, and versatile.” (Catalogue)



A year of sewing with Nani Iro : 18 patterns to make & wear throughout the seasons / Ito, Naomi
“Learn to sew garments that you’ll love and want to wear all throughout the year! Craft a timeless and versatile wardrobe for everyday with Nani Iro, the Japanese fabric brand by artist and textile designer Naomi Ito. In this follow-up to The Nani Iro Sewing Studio, Naomi and her talented atelier present a collection of 18 artful garments that can be enjoyed all year round–simply change the fabric selection or design elements like sleeve length to customize pieces for specific seasons.”–Publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The modern flower press : preserving the beauty of nature / Richardson, Melissa
“A Best Floristry Book of 2022, Gardens Illustrated A contemporary, beautifully illustrated book on flowers, flower pressing and arranging. ‘A delight, packed with stories about the flowers JamJar Flowers work with, as well as practical information’ House & Garden” (Catalogue)


CIY [crochet-it-yourself] : 15 modern crochet designs to stitch and wear / Wright, Emma
“With 15 beautiful designs, CIY: Crochet-It-Yourself takes you through all the steps and techniques that you need to master and refine your crochet skills. In this fresh and modern guide to crochet, Emma Wright shows you how to create your own stylish crochet collection. Once you have mastered the basics, Emma will show you how to confidently play with colour and pattern to make clothes that suit you style and add your own creative flair to.”–Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Retro girl embroidery : 20 vintage patterns inspired by the 1970s / Essiambre, Erin
“Far-Out Fiber Art to Celebrate the ’70s. From fringe and bell-bottoms to funky patterns and florals, fill your embroidery hoop with the iconic style of the 1970s! Erin Essiambre, renowned fiber artist and creator of Salt Water Stitches, combines her love of the disco decade with her passion for stitching in these 20 unique embroidery projects inspired by the folksy vogue of the ’70s era. Complete with warm desert shades, celestial scenes and peaceful affirmations, these magical designs will instantly add a pop of vintage flair to your walls. Show off the boho outfits of the famous Retro Girls! ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Patchwork : a world tour / Legrand, Catherine
“What do Korean bojagi wrapping cloths, Cameroonian Bamileke boubous, Peruvian montera hats and Hungarian cifraszür shepherd cloaks have in common? Each is made using the ancient technique of patchwork the art of juxtaposing fabrics and motifs to create blankets, clothes, accessories and more. Catherine Legrand, who has spent many years travelling and researching textiles, has a deep knowledge of the techniques and traditions that characterize patchwork. Pieced together much like the gorgeous textiles it portrays, her beautifully illustrated book features over 300 dazzling photographs of patchwork worldwide. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The quilted home handbook : transform your space with the art of quilting / Chow, Wendy
“Perfect for beginners and experienced quilters alike, this quilting book features simple illustrations and easy-to-follow steps that teach you how to make 15+ beautiful quilt projects for around your home, including everything from placemats to a throw pillow to a matching bed quilt and pillow shams”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)