Crafts & DIY Reviews: December 2012

Star Quilts: 27 Stunning Designs for Every Décor, Season & Skill Level. Leisure Arts. (Best of Fons & Porter). 2012. 176p. ed. by Marianne Fons & Liz Porter. illus. photogs. ISBN 9781609003784. pap. $26.95. fiber crafts

Stars are an enduringly popular quilting motif, and this collection, curated by quilting grandes dames Fons and Porter, includes 27 different projects that prominently feature stars. The patterns range from beginner to advanced, techniques include basic patchwork and foundation paper piecing, and several of the patterns require plastic templates or specialized cutting tools. A variation of each design is given in a different color palette, reminding quilters that there’s more than one way to look at a quilt pattern. ­VERDICT Like other books in the “Best of Fons & Porter” series, this is a good value that includes projects suitable for a variety of skill levels, as well as straightforward directions and expert advice.

Tomashek, Steve. Tiny Whittling: More than 20 Projects To Make. Chicago Review. 2012. 112p. illus. index. ISBN 9781613744963. pap. $16.95. crafts 

Tomashek teaches novices the basics of carving wood by hand with this accessible introduction to whittling. The three simplest projects, a duck, a bear, and a rabbit, are carved from soap or vegetables with household paring knives, allowing beginners to get a feel for carving without investing money in wood or other supplies. The rest of the projects are presented in order of difficulty and range from beginner-friendly songbirds to more complex animals such as a cow and a hen. Step-by-step directions and full-color photographs of the finished animals are included. VERDICT There aren’t many beginner whittling books around, and the fun projects and straightforward instructions make this a good purchase for woodworking collections.

Czepuryk, Kristyne. S Is for Stitch: 52 Embroidered Alphabet Designs & Charming Projects for Little Ones.Stash: C&T. Jan. 2013. 144p. illus. photogs. ISBN 9781607056515. pap. $24.95. fiber crafts

Embroidery is becoming increasingly popular as a hobby, and Czepuryk adds to the growing number of modern embroidery books with this collection of small motifs that can be made individually or combined into a child’s alphabet quilt. Two variations are provided, one targeted toward girls (containing a ballerina, a tiara, and a purse) and one targeted toward boys (containing a baseball, a dinosaur, and a robot). A guide to embroidery basics and a stitch guide are included. VERDICT The motifs are sweet, and Czepuryk provides plenty of ideas for projects beyond the quilt, such as embellishing clothing or soft fabric blocks. Embroiderers who enjoy designs for children will appreciate Czepuryk’s cute motifs.

The following titles are reviewed in the November 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Massey, Carole. Portraits. Search. (Drawing Masterclass). 2012. 96p. illus. index. ISBN 9781844487479. pap. $19.95. Art Instruction

Weissmann, Gilles. Techniques of Traditional Icon Painting. Search. 2012. 128p. illus. ISBN 9781844487943. pap. $35. Art Instruction


Doh, Jenny. Journal It!: Perspectives in Creative Journaling. Lark Crafts. 2012. 160p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781454703556. pap. $21.95. crafts

Bogert, Kerry. Rustic Wrappings: Exploring Patina in Wire, Metal, and Glass Jewelry. Interweave. 2012. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781596685499. pap. $22.95. crafts

How To Do Absolutely Everything: Homegrown Projects from Do-It-Yourself Experts. Skyhorse. Jan. 2013. 432p. ed. by Sarah James. illus. ISBN 9781620870662. pap. $16.95. DIY


Marshall, Kelly with Amy Egenberger. Custom Woven Interiors: Bringing Color and Design Home with Rep Weave. Custom Woven Interiors. 2012. 136p. illus. photogs. ISBN 9780985207106. $45. Fiber crafts

Nishida, Midori. The Beaded Edge 2: More Inspired Designs for Crocheted Edgings and Trims. Interweave. 2012. 88p. illus. photogs. ISBN 9781596685598. pap. $17.95. fiber crafts

Yuhas, Daniel. Knitting from the Center Out: An Introduction to Revolutionary Knitting with 28 Modern Projects. STC Craft. 2012. 160p. illus. photogs. ISBN 9781584799986. $27.50. fiber crafts

Berkus, Nate. The Things That Matter. Spiegel & Grau. 2012. 318p. photogs. ISBN 9780679644316. $35.Interior design