NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL
Chapin, Kari. The Handmade Marketplace: How To Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online. 2d ed. Storey. 2014. 248p. illus. index. ISBN 9781612123356. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612123363. CRAFTS
For many crafters, turning their hobby into a full-time job is a dream come true—but it’s also a lot of work. In the second edition of the author’s 2010 guide to creating and growing craft-based businesses, Chapin (Grow Your Handmade Business) provides advice on starting from the ground up, covering everything from choosing a catchy name to developing a logo and marketing strategies. There’s a strong focus on using social media and blogs to promote one’s business—a must in today’s connected world—and Chapin gives thoughtful guidance on how to do so without overwhelming followers with your message. Online sales aren’t everything, so there’s also facts about selling at craft fairs and through brick-and-mortar stores. Quotes and essays from successful business owners are interspersed throughout the book. VERDICT Chapin’s guide contains real-world (and often tested) advice on making craft-based businesses successful, and this updated edition includes information about services such as Pinterest and Instagram, which weren’t on most crafters’ radars when the first edition appeared.
Hiebert, Helen. Playing with Pop-Ups: The Art of Dimensional, Moving Paper Designs. Quarry: Quarto. 2014. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781592539086. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781627880329. CRAFTS
For the last 20 years, Hiebert (Playing with Paper) has studied papermaking and book arts, including paper engineering and pop-up design. In this guide, the author and a variety of guests introduce novices to the foundational skills of pop-up design via a series of fun, decorative projects. Paper engineering, at its simplest, involves cutting, scoring, and folding to make the shapes or designs literally pop off the page, and the basics will be familiar to paper crafters with origami experience. The projects feature a wide range of styles, from a whimsical robot to a realistic rib cage that pops up from the surface of a card via a pull tab. Templates with cutting lines are provided, and an extensive full-color gallery of works by prominent pop-up artists provides added inspiration. VERDICT Pop-ups are popular with all ages, and paper crafters may be surprised at how easy it is to master the basics. The only minor concern for libraries is that this book has consumable pages on which readers are directed to cut from the book.
Pinterest Perfect! Creative Prompts & Pin-Worthy Projects Inspired by the Artistic Community of Pinterest. Walter Foster: Quarto. 2014. 128p. illus. ISBN 9781600583964. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS
Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has been a destination for crafters looking for inspiration and ideas. This collection features eight crafters and active Pinterest users, each with a specific interest (e.g., paper crafts, mixed media, doodling). Each crafter has her own section that includes a profile, samples, and a selection of projects, most of them fairly basic. Since this is a Pinterest-themed book, the visual component is key, and all of the designs—even the simple ones—include plenty of illustrative photographs. VERDICT The variety of techniques included is nice but the book is essentially a collection of craft-blog tutorials in print—which means that most active Pinterest users have seen these projects before.
KAREN ELLIS, Taylor P.L., TX
Cool Springs Eds. Black & Decker The Book of Home How-To; Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair & Improvement. Cool Springs: Quarto. (Black & Decker Complete Guide). 2014. 600p. illus. index. ISBN 9781591865988. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781610589840. DIY
Owning a house inevitably means repairs. While there are lots of books addressing various aspects of home improvements and fixes, a general manual covering everything from top to bottom is favorable. This is an encyclopedia of home repairs, pulling much of its material from two previous books in the “Black & Decker” series—Black & Decker The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair and Black & Decker The Complete Photo Guide to Home Improvement. The pictures are large, thankfully, and the instruction is clear, making repairs and improvements quite doable. The book’s arrangement is alphabetical by project title. Unfortunately, that order is not always intuitive. While there is a detailed index and keyword list, it is more difficult to browse through and find related projects. Still, the work makes a solid companion to Creative Homeowner’s Ultimate Guide, which has a broader range of fixes and improvements but not as much detailed instruction. VERDICT For libraries that lack the titles it pulls from, this compilation is a recommended addition. The photos and instructions are quite strong, and the lack of topical arrangement is awkward but not insurmountable.
NANETTE DONOHUE, Champaign P.L., IL
Brackman, Barbara & Karla Menaugh. Emporia Rose Appliqué Quilts: New Projects, Historical Vignettes, Classic Designs. C&T. 2014. 64p. illus. ISBN 9781607058908. pap. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781607058915. FIBER CRAFTS
Quilt historian Brackman (Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler) teams up with machine appliqué expert Menaugh in this collection of appliqué projects inspired by quilts made in Emporia, KS, between 1920 and 1950. Emporia was a hotbed of quilting activity during this era, and Brackman profiles three of the city’s most prominent quilters, providing context for their work. Samples of the original creations—many now located in museums—are paired with projects that are influenced by these originals. The centerpiece of the book is the titular Emporia Rose sampler, a full-size bed quilt that draws from a number of individual quilts profiled, but smaller projects are also included. The use of machine appliqué may surprise traditionalists, but hand appliqué techniques can be implemented, too. Appliqué templates are provided on pull-out sheets for easy use. VERDICT Brackman’s skill at combining history and artistry shines again in this collection. The author’s many fans who follow her work online and in print will be pleased with this latest book.
Morgan, Leonie. 100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet: 50 Original Stitches & 50 Fabulous Colorways for Blankets and Throws. Griffin: St. Martin’s. 2014. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781250049490. pap. $21.99. FIBER CRAFTS
Ripple stitches, with their undulating waves (or sharp angles), are a common stitch pattern in crochet. Morgan (100 Colorful Granny Squares To Crochet) demonstrates the beauty and versatility of ripple stitches in this colorful guide. Despite the title, there are only 50 stitch patterns covered in the book (the other 50 are color variations, as noted in the subtitle), but there’s still ample variety. Each stitch pattern includes both a close-up and distance color photograph of the swatch, written and charted instructions, descriptions of any special or unusual stitches used, and a measurement for one pattern repeat in the specified yarn (worsted-weight yarn and a size H hook were used for all the samples). A selection of projects, including afghans, a pillow, a purse, and a scarf, demonstrates the versatility of the stitch patterns. VERDICT Stitch guides are popular with crocheters who enjoy designing their own projects, and this collection, which includes both motifs crocheted in the round and row-based stitches, has plenty of appeal.
Smith, Beth. The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose. Storey. Aug. 2014. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612120393. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781603428750. FIBER CRAFTS
Smith, a longtime spinning enthusiast and teacher, brings her love of handspinning to a wider audience in her first book. She presents a comprehensive guide to selecting, preparing, and spinning a variety of different types of wool yarns. Smith advocates for purchasing whole fleeces rather than commercially prepared fibers because they give spinners additional control over the finished product, as well as a more direct connection to the animal itself. As such, the author provides ample information about cleaning and preparing fleeces of a variety of types, and gives advice on what to watch for when purchasing a fleece direct from the producer. The wools are divided into four basic types—fine wools, long wools, downs, and multicoated breeds—with a fifth type (“other breeds”) for those sheep that are unusual and have characteristics from multiple groups. The chapter for each wool type includes specific tips for fiber preparation, profiles of the sheep breeds whose fleeces fit into the wool type, and spun and knit samples (often in a variety of plies and thicknesses) of finished yarns. VERDICT The information included is extensive, and readers interested in preparing their own wool for spinning will find this manual especially useful. Novice spinners looking for more of a how-to guide may prefer Judith MacKenzie McCuin’s The Intentional Spinner or W.J. Johnson’s Yarn Works, both of which focus more on the act of spinning yarn than on sheep breeds and fleece preparation.
Watanabe, Sato. Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials for the Modern Wardrobe. Tuttle. 2014. 64p. tr. from Japanese. illus. ISBN 9784805313084. pap. $16.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Black clothing is a staple of many women’s wardrobes because of its versatility and easy sophistication. Inspired by this classic color, Japanese designer Watanabe (Stylish Skirts) designed a collection of 26 garments ranging in style from a casual button-down shirt to a simple sleeveless linen maxi dress featuring cleverly placed tucks to a flared flannel short coat with an asymmetrical collar. Clean lines with intriguing details such as pin tucks, unusual necklines, and feminine trim bring added visual interest to the garments. Sewists used to the directions in Japanese sewing books will feel at home with the cutting and sewing diagrams used in place of detailed written instructions; a guide to the symbols used is provided, as are ready-to-trace pattern sheets in sizes XS to L. VERDICT English translations of Japanese sewing books are popular, and this collection will appeal to experienced sewists who appreciate sophisticated, minimalist styles.