Crafts & DIY Reviews | October 1, 2012

McCarthy, Jim. How To Draw Monsters in Simple Steps. Search Press. 2012. c.32p. illus. ISBN 9781844487950. pap. $9.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Just in time for Halloween, this fun and simple guide leads the reader start to finish through drawing dozens of different creatures, ghoulish characters, and comic villains. Like other titles in the “Simple Steps” series, the guide provides its drawing instruction entirely visually. The reader can follow a sequential progression of tonal ink drawings that go from initial sketch to completed illustration. VERDICT Will be a hit with children, young adults, and young-at-heart comic book fans.

Pomfret, Richard. The Wrinklies’ Guide to Drawing: New Pursuits for Old Hands. Prion, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Nov. 2012. c.192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781853758393. $17.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Aimed at older adults who either have never been artistic or have not drawn in decades, this guide affirms that anyone can draw. Its exercises and instructions are simple and clear, with fewer illustrations than most books of this kind, but many readers will appreciate the straightforward approach. Pomfret writes encouragingly and sometimes humorously, senior citizen to senior citizen, throughout the book. A chapter on drawing from memory is particularly apt for older readers. VERDICT A must for libraries with heavy senior and retired populations.

Clayton, Marie. Ultimate Papercraft Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-by-Step Techniques. Collins & Brown, dist. by Sterling. 2012. c.304p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781843406723. $29.95. CRAFTS

Papercrafting encompasses a variety of techniques, and this reference provides basic information and simple projects explaining a number of popular crafts. Topics covered include cardmaking, scrapbooking, papercutting, and origami; brief descriptions of a few other papercrafts, including quilling, découpage, and papermaking, also are included. The step-by-step approach is appropriate for novice papercrafters. Most steps are illustrated with line drawings, and photographs of finished projects are provided. VERDICT Crafters interested in basic information about a variety of papercrafts will find enough to whet their appetites, but the depth of coverage is definitely secondary to the breadth.

Zlatkis, Geninne D. Making an Impression: Designing & Creating Artful Stamps. Lark Crafts: Lark Books. Oct. 2012. c.136p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781454701255. pap. $21.95. CRAFTS

Stamping is a craft with a wide variety of applications, from paper craft to fabric arts. In this nature-inspired guide to art stamps, Zlatkis takes crafters through the steps of designing and carving their own stamps from inspiration to creation. The supplies Zlatkis uses are inexpensive and accessible, and the end results add flair and embellishment to a variety of projects, from stamped flowerpots to journals to throw pillows. VERDICT Zlatkis’s bold, folk art–inspired stamps are lovely to look at, and her enthusiasm for her craft is apparent. Crafters working with both paper and fabric will enjoy this collection.

English, John. Turning Wood with Carbide Tools: Techniques and Projects for Every Skill Level. Linden. 2012. c.128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781610350549. pap. $21.95. DIY

New tools can lead to improved technique and shorter project time, as demonstrated here by English (The Woodworker’s Guide to Sharpening ). Tungsten carbide tools allow for greater flexibility in wood turning, and keep their edge longer than high-speed steel. After close examination of carbide tools, eight turning projects illustrate their use. Lathe instruction is not the focus here, and safety, wood selection, and dust control are tucked in the back of the book. The projects lack helpful organization, but the illustrations take center stage. Detailed photos walk the user through each project, with close attention to technique. VERDICT This is a great introduction to new carbide wood turning tools, highlighting all the advantages. Put this book on the shelf with any woodworking collection. Recommended.

Budd, Ann. The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges. Interweave. 2012. c.264p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781596684836. pap. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Budd, whose Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is a go-to resource for knitters who dabble in designing their own sweaters, takes on the challenge of top-down sweater knitting in her latest collection. Focusing on four styles of top-down sweaters—seamless yoke, raglan, set-in sleeve, and saddle shoulder—Budd presents construction basics, followed by a pattern framework that can be easily customized based on the wearer’s measurements and the knitter’s gauge. As a bonus, patterns by well-known guest designers like Anne Hanson and Jared Flood are included in each chapter. ­ VERDICT Knitters who want to design their own sweaters but don’t want to figure out all the math will appreciate Budd’s straightforward approach to sweater design, while knitters who are just looking for patterns will enjoy the variety of ready-to-knit patterns in this collection.

Lawrence, Angela. Needleturn Appliqué : The Basics and Beyond. Landauer. 2012. c.96p. illus. photogs. ISBN 9781935726173. pap. $27.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Needleturn appliqué—a handwork technique for sewing fabric shapes to a background fabric using small, hidden stitches—is a classic of quilting. Experienced instructor Lawrence introduces novices to hand appliqué, covering the steps from selecting the appropriate supplies to transferring the design to basic and intermediate stitching. Close-up color photographs illustrate each step, and patterns and templates for nine projects, including wall hangings, table runners, and small quilts, are included. VERDICT Learning needleturn appliqué from a book may seem like a daunting prospect, but quilters familiar with basic handwork will find this book useful.

Smith, Alison. Dressmaking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making your Own Clothes. DK. 2012. c.320p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9780756698201. $30. FIBER CRAFTS

The trademark characteristics of DK’s books—extensive color photographs and straightforward presentation—are present yet again in British dressmaking instructor Smith’s first book. All of the basics of garment sewing are included, from sewing techniques to supplies, but the highlight of the book is the information about adjusting patterns and sewing specific garment features, such as in-seam pockets or invisible zippers. Patterns for several garments are included, but they need to be printed, drafted by hand onto pattern paper, or enlarged on a copier. VERDICT While there’s enough basic information here for novices, Dressmaking works better as an encyclopedic reference for experienced garment sewists.

Suess, Barbara B. Temari Techniques: A Visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls. Breckling Pr., dist. by Independent Publishers Group. 2012. c.209p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781933308326. pap. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Embroidery and geometry collide in temari, a traditional Japanese fiber craft of spheres embellished with colorful thread. In this comprehensive guide to temari, Suess (Japanese Kimekomi: Fast, Fun, and Fabulous Fabric Handballs ) introduces the basics of the craft, beginning with creating the core of the temari ball and progressing to selecting a design for the outside and hand stitching techniques for temari. The patterns range from simple wrapped designs to detailed combinations of wrapping and hand stitching. Diagrams for the designs are provided. VERDICT Embroiderers of all skill levels, as well as fans of Japanese culture and handcraft, will find themselves inspired by Suess’s creations.

interior design

Hoppen, Stephanie. Perfect Curtains: Smart & Simple Solutions Using Fabulous Fabrics. Jacqui Small: Aurum dist. by Trafalgar Square. December 2012. 192p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781906417109. $45. Interior Design

Hoppen (Perfect Palettes ) discusses innovative fabrics in window covering and the trend for more simplified curtains that avoid lining and interlining, creating a clean, fresh, modern look. In more than 300 color photographs she shows professionally crafted window treatments in homes throughout the United States, UK, Europe, and South Africa, with styles ranging from sophisticated to homey. Throughout, Hoppen describes the design process in individual rooms and gives details about the curtains and the suitability of various fabrics. Resources in the United States, UK, Europe, South Africa, and Asia are provided. VERDICT Originally published in the UK in 2009, the book’s timeless styles and innovative uses of fabrics will give amateur and professional designers alike plenty of ideas.