Crafts & DIY Reviews, February 1, 2012


Adnum, Heidi. The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos: The Best Techniques for Showcasing Your Handmade Creations. Interweave. 2011. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781596686267. pap. $24.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Aimed at craftspeople with minimal photography experience or equipment, this guide offers simple advice on arranging, composing, lighting, snapping, selecting, and organizing outstanding digital images of all kinds of handmade objects. Adnum briefly covers photography basics and then goes on to address photographic issues specific to various craft disciplines, such as jewelry and fabrics. Many step-by-step photo sequences and examples of successful shots walk the reader through the process. With the ongoing popularity of sites like Etsy (on which Adnum authored a series on photography), this book is sure to be sought after by anyone who wants to sell his or her goods online.

Ley, Susan with Marsha Hobert. Pet Photography for Fun: Let’s Have Fun Photographing Dogs, Cats, Horses, Alpacas, Llamas and Everything Else! Water Dogs Pub., dist. by Quality Bks. 2011. 138p. illus. index. ISBN 9780975287613. pap. $19.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Pets are a common subject for amateur photographers, but getting a decent shot of your wiggly Weimaraner, crotchety cat, or fast-moving mutt can be tricky. In this guide, Ley, a professional photographer with decades of experience specializing in animal photography, offers her best tips and advice for photographing pets. Beginning photographers may find the humorous, breezy writing style encouraging, while more experienced photographers will appreciate the simplicity of the animal-specific technical pointers.


Bone, Elizabeth. Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers: A Handbook of Techniques and Surface Treatments. Interweave. 2012. 192p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781596684997. pap. $30. CRAFTS

London-based jewelry designer and teacher Bone introduces jewelry makers to the art and science of silversmithing in this collection of step-by-step tutorials on a variety of intermediate to advanced metalworking techniques. The coverage is extensive, including sections on texturing, etching, stone setting, and filigree. A brief explanation of silversmithing tools and materials is provided. Even if the idea of silversmithing is outside your jewelry-making comfort zone, the inspiration in this book is priceless.

Thorne, Troy. Getting Started in Pinewood Derby: Step-by-Step Workbook to Building Your First Car. Fox Chapel. 2011. 192p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781565236172. pap. $12.95. CRAFTS

Pinewood Derby‚ the Boy Scout project where children build and race wooden model cars‚ is a popular activity in a variety of youth groups. Model enthusiast and Boy Scout leader Thorne ( Pinewood Derby Designs & Patterns ) shares his extensive knowledge in this accessible guide. Thorne covers all aspects of Pinewood Derby racing, from designing and decorating the car to what to expect on race day. The comic book‚ style illustrations add appeal for children, and the step-by-step instructions eliminate the intimidation factor for parents who aren’t woodworkers but want to share in their children’s excitement about Pinewood Derby racing.


starred review star Moser, Thomas. How To Build Shaker Furniture: The Completely Updated and Improved Classic. Popular Woodworking: F+W. 2011. 176p. illus. ISBN 9781440313042. pap. $24.99. DIY

Shaker-style furniture is simple, elegant, and timeless. Moser here updates his 1977 title to encompass new materials and tools and add more projects, for a total of 45 designs, many more than found in similar publications. After introductions to style, materials, tools, and techniques, the project designs, which progress from simple to complex, are displayed in exploded views with detailed measurements and construction tips. No step-by-step instructions accompany the projects. Illustrations are clear and attractive. This beautiful book is essential for any woodworking collection and will well serve intermediate and advanced craftspeople. Highly recommended.


Abousteit, Nora with Alison Kelly. The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook. Potter Craft: Crown Pub. Group. 2011. 208p. illus. index. ISBN 9780307586742. $29.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Online sewing community is a go-to website for DIY fashionistas, and this collection, inspired by the creative spirit of the BurdaStyle community, features a variety of fully customizable patterns for garments both simple and complex. Abousteit and Kelly (BurdaStyle cofounder and creative director, respectively) cover every step of the process for garment design and creation, from inspiration to pattern making to sewing, and present profiles of BurdaStyle members to round out the collection. Five included master patterns provide sewers with a jumping-off point for their own unique creations.

Horozewski, Melissa. Austentatious Crochet: 36 Contemporary Designs from the World of Jane Austen. Running Pr. 2011. 208p. illus. index. ISBN 9780762441464. pap. $16. FIBER CRAFTS

Austenmania shows no signs of slowing down, and veteran crochet designer Horozewski, who specializes in literature-inspired designs, presents a collection of Regency-inspired crochet patterns. Each of the seven chapters focuses on a specific inspiration (e.g., love) and begins with a vignette featuring Austen’s heroines; trivia quizzes are sprinkled throughout. The designs, which are romantic enough for the most ardent of Austenites but modern enough for everyday wear or use, are suitable for crocheters of a variety of skill levels, and written directions are provided for all designs, with charts for the more complex items.

Turner, Sharon. Knitting Stitches Visual Encyclopedia: 350 Stitch Patterns, Edgings, and More. Wiley. 2011. 240p. illus. ISBN 9781118018958. $24.99. FIBER CRAFTS

A good knitting stitch encyclopedia is an indispensible tool for knitters, especially those who enjoy creating their own designs. Turner’s ( Teach Yourself Visually Knitting ) take on the genre includes full-color photos and written directions for each stitch pattern, as well as charted directions for more complex patterns (e.g., lace, cables, color work). While this collection is not as comprehensive as Barbara G. Walker’s classic four-volume stitch dictionary, the variety of stitch patterns as well as the full-color photographs make it a fine collection for knitters’ reference shelves.

Wyszynski, Linda. The Complete Photo Guide to Needlework. Creative Pub: Quayside. 2012. 264p. illus. index. ISBN 9781589236417. pap. $24.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Wyszynski, a veteran needlework designer, takes a basics-and-beyond approach to needlework. With coverage of embroidery (including sections on thread, beaded, and silk-ribbon), crewel, cross-stitch, and needlepoint; full-color photographs and illustrations; and easy-to-intermediate projects, this comprehensive guide will appeal to crafters of all skill levels. While the stitch guides are top-notch, another high point of this collection is the practical and clever needlework tips. A handy stitch index, allowing for quick look-up of each stitch by name, is also included.


Ashcraft, Eve. The Right Color. Artisan: Workman. 2011. 224p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781579654085. $29.95. INTERIOR DESIGN

With over 20 years of experience as a color consultant, Ashcraft demonstrates, in terms amateurs will understand, the process of selecting colors. Using over 160 color photographs, she explains how light, texture, and juxtaposition affect the appearance of color and provides 45 color schemes shown throughout the home. Ashcraft also presents nine examples from her commissions and her own home to discuss her approach to color in historic and modern applications. In addition, each of the 28 colors in her recently developed house-paint line is shown individually with recommended color schemes. She concludes with advice on paint, other supplies, and painting a room. A practical, inspiring book.

Anna Katterjohn About Anna Katterjohn

Anna Katterjohn ( is Managing Editor for the LJ Book Review and assigns books on performing arts, cooking, home economics, and crafts.