Intuitive Drawing, Icelandic Knits, Handmade Kids Clothing, Lots of Quilts | Crafts & DIY Reviews

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Clayton, Elaine. Making Marks: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing. Beyond Words: Atria. May 2014. 224p. illus. ISBN 9781582704227. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781476713090. ART INSTRUCTION

This title explores the connection between drawing and Making Marksintuition. Clayton invites readers to explore a nongoal-oriented, doodle-like stream-of-consciousness drawing technique. Here, finished sketches are un­important, while self-discovery is paramount. Many open-ended exercises, which are written in an engaging, descriptive narrative style, encourage readers to make marks on paper as a way of exploring memory, tapping into their own creative force and logic, and even connecting with others. VERDICT While this book may not suit every reader, it could have significant appeal across art instruction, self-help, and psychology subject areas.

Fiber Crafts


Birgirsdottir, Gunn. Quick Icelandic Knits: Sweaters, Hats, Socks, Mittens and More. Trafalgar Square. 2014. 80p. photos. ISBN . $22.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Quick Icelandic KnitsIcelandic knits are part of the great Scandinavian knitwear tradition—think yoked colorwork sweaters—but they use Icelandic wool, a distinctive fiber known for its warmth and durability. Birgirsdottir, a lifelong knitter, introduces the basics to the knitting style via a series of patterns that can be customized or embellished based on individual preference. The author begins with simple patterns for children and adults, followed by options that can be inserted into each pattern (hood, roll collar, ribbed edging), as well as seven colorwork charts. There are also designs for hats, mittens, bags, and ponchos, as well as directions for knitting with beads and felting Icelandic wool. The yarn used for most of the sweaters and accessories is a medium to heavy weight, so these are quick knits that are suitable for cold weather wear. VERDICT ­Birgirsdottir’s introduction to Icelandic knitting is ideal for knitters who enjoy taking a foundational pattern and making it their own (à la Ann Budd’s popular The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns). Those who prefer a more straightforward approach may appreciate Vedis Jonsdottir’s Knitting with Icelandic Wool.

Larsen, Cony. Simply Sweet Crochet: Boutique Designs for Little Girls. Fox Chapel. Jun. 2014. 64p. illus. ISBN 9781574213751. pap. $14.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Larsen (Crochet Undercover) specializes in whimsical crocheted accessories for children, which shows in this collection aimed at girls who enjoy flowers, frills, and pompoms. The majority of the 18 patterns are for headbands and hats, which are easily customizable based on personal taste, and most feature cute embellishments such as hearts, pompoms, or flowers—details to which young people are often drawn. Many of the designs are presented in a variety of sizes; a few, like the newborn hats, are age-specific. Each pattern includes a full-page photograph of the accessory modeled by a young girl, as well as close-up pictures of any unusual or complex steps. Larsen’s designs are feminine but not fussy, and the pretty enhancements add to the appeal. VERDICT These easy-to-make projects will charm children who love girly accessories, as well as tweens who are interested in crocheting their own additions.

redstarYaker, Rebecca & Patricia Hoskins. Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids. Storey. (One-Yard Wonders). Jun. 2014. 359p. illus. ISBN 9781612121246. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612124650. FIBER CRAFTS

Little One-Yard WondersYaker and Hoskins (Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders) saw a gap in sewing books—too many projects for babies and not enough for children, especially little boys—and filled it with this collection of child-centered sewing plans, all requiring one yard (or less) of fabric. The 101 projects are divided into 13 general categories, ranging from nursery decor to clothing of various types to imaginative, plush, and tactile toys. The functional nature of many of the projects will appeal to parents, while the whimsical fun of a monster-inspired bath towel or an octopus-shaped toy holder will make children smile. Though basic machine-sewing skills are assumed, there’s plenty of guidance in the instructions, which include illustrations for key steps. VERDICT This title is a treasure trove of handmade kid’s stuff, and sewists of all skill levels will find ideas and inspiration in this lighthearted collection. Like the other books in the series, it is an excellent addition to sewing collections.

Yoder, Corey. Playful Petals: Learn Simple, Fusible Appliqué; 18 Quilted Projects Made from Precuts. Stash: C&T. 2014. 112p. illus. ISBN 9781607057970. pap. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781607057987. FIBER CRAFTS

Fusible appliqué is a popular technique that combines the beauty of traditional needle-turn appliqué with the ease of pressing an adhesive-backed fabric piece onto a quilt background, then sewing over it to hold it down. Yoder, author of the popular quilting blog Little Miss Shabby, demonstrates the versatility of petal-shaped appliqués, most commonly seen in the traditional orange-peel quilt block. Many of Yoder’s blocks take a traditional block, such as an Ohio star or a snowball, and add fusible appliqué petals, which gives new dimension to old favorites. Each of the block designs includes a full-sized quilt pattern as well as a pillow pattern, providing quilters who want to experiment with fusible appliqué a small-scale project to attempt before tackling something larger. VERDICT Though the color schemes are thoroughly modern, the techniques and projects will appeal to quilters of all tastes, and the author’s cheery designs and clear, concise directions will give sewists the confidence they need to take on any of the projects in this book.

This article was published in Library Journal's May 1, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.