Jonsdottir, Vedis. Knitting with Icelandic Wool. Griffin: St. Martin’s. 2013. 255p. illus. ISBN 9781250024800. $29.95. fiber crafts
Most knitters are familiar with the colorwork traditions of Scandinavia and Scotland. Iceland has similar knitting traditions, developed during or prior to the 17th century, and featuring a combination of yoked sweaters, stranded colorwork, and the use of wool (called lopi) from Icelandic sheep. Jonsdottir, the head designer at Istex, Iceland’s premier yarnmaker, designed most of the new patterns in this collection and adapted many of the vintage patterns. Each of the designs is created to highlight the beauty of the lopi. Colorwork sweaters for women, men, and children dominate, but there are also patterns for accessories.VERDICT The combination of knitting history, attractive patterns, and in-depth information about Icelandic knitting traditions and techniques make this an excellent addition to knitting collections.
Vasbinder, Nicole. Sewing Solutions: Tips and Tricks for the Savvy Sewist. Interweave. 2012. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781596685987. pap. $19.95. fiber crafts
After a decade of teaching sewing, Vasbinder has a good idea of the information that sewists need to create quality garments, and she has assembled some of her best advice into a collection of tips and tricks. Approximately half of the book is devoted to sewing tools—machines, needles, thread, notions, and rulers—and the other half focuses on common sewing and finishing techniques. Most of the tips focus on garment sewing, although many are relevant to home décor sewing or quilting as well. The format includes both step-by-step instructions and brief descriptions, and quick tips are provided, Q&A style, throughout the book. VERDICT Though most relevant and useful to beginners, Vasbinder’s book can also serve as a ready reference for experienced sewists who need a refresher on a specific technique.
Clever Crocheted Accessories: 25 Quick Weekend Projects. Interweave. 2012. 127p. ed. by Brett Bara. illus. index. ISBN 9781596688278. pap. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781596688117. fiber crafts
Former Crochet Today editor Bara (Sewing in a Straight Line) curated this fine collection of crocheted accessory patterns designed for instant gratification. Crocheters will find plenty of the standard hats, mittens, and scarves, but there are also patterns for socks, jewelry, handbags, and a clever cozy for electronic devices. Several of the patterns take advantage of crochet’s built-in retro feel, adding a modern spin to 1970s style; others make use of unusual objects such as key rings or novelty yarns made of linen paper to create a unique look. Written directions are provided for each pattern; charted instructions accompany the more complex projects. VERDICT Quick projects are perpetually popular with crafters, and this collection incorporates some interesting accessories that go beyond the usual hats/mittens/scarves triumvirate.
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The following titles are reviewed in the February 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Coombs, Peter. Painting with Pastels. Search. Apr. 2013. 48p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781844488865. pap. $7.95. art instruction
Evans, Margaret & others. Pastel Painting Step-by-Step. Search. 2012. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781844488612. pap. $19.95. art instruction
Grakowsky, Melissa. I Can Herringbone. Lark Crafts: Lark Bks. (I Can). 2012. 128p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781454703624. pap. $24.95. crafts
do it yourself
Robnoxious. Unsinkable: How To Build Plywood Pontoons & Longtail Boat Motors Out of Scrap. Microcosm.2012. 72p. illus. ISBN 9781934620526. pap. $7.95. DIY
Bostic, Heather. Pillow Pop: 25 Quick-Sew Projects To Brighten Your Space. Stash. Feb. 2013. 128p. illus. ISBN 9781607054788. pap. $15.95. fiber crafts
Florke, Randy & Nancy J. Becker. Country Living Simple Sustainable Style: Ways To Make a House Your Home. Hearst. 2012. 192p. index. ISBN 9781618370525. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781618370532. interior design