Kirigami, DIY Engines, Swedish Weaving, Home Country Style, & More | Crafts & DIY Reviews

Art Instruction

HEATHER HALLIDAY, American Jewish Historical Soc., New York

Akikusa, Ai. Drawing Cute Animals in Colored Pencil. Quarry: Quarto. 2014. 112p. illus. ISBN 9781592539369. pap. $17.99. ART INSTRUCTION

This guide offers exercises and tips for rendering a wide variety of animals naturalistically in colored pencil. It is loaded with simple exercises that walk the reader through drawing all sorts of wild and domestic animals worldwide, pointing out the unique details of each along the way. The ideal audience for this book is older children and tweens, for whom its contents offer an educational aspect—each animal’s Latin species and family name is supplied as well as information about its size. ­VERDICT This guide is best for younger readers, but their parents may be charmed by it as well.

Hayakawa, Hiroshi. Paper Birds: 25+ Projects To Copy, Paper BirdsCut, and Fold. Lark: Sterling. Jun. 2014. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454708452. pap. $17.95. ART INSTRUCTION

Readers have probably heard of origami, but how about kirigami? This unusual guide combines the familiar technique of origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, with kirigami, the Japanese art of cutting paper. For each project, the reader can photocopy a template, then follow step-by-step instructions to cut and shape a flat sheet of paper into an elegant miniature bird sculpture. Projects are divided into categories of very easy, easy, intermediate, and advanced. Birds are listed by their common names, and the projects include many species-accurate details. VERDICT This novel guide will satisfy the crafting urges of adults and children alike.


Deborah Broocker, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Dunwoody

Power, Jean. Small Beads, Big Jewelry: 30 Unique Pieces To Make. Barron’s. 2014. 143p. illus. index. ISBN 9781438003511. pap. $21.99. CRAFTS

Power’s (The Big Book of Weekend Beading; coauthor, So Easy…Beading) newest book will appeal to differing levels of “off loom” bead weavers, from beginner through advanced. It includes 30 step-by-step projects by ten designers from around the world. The text covers the tools and materials needed, basic principles and standard techniques, plus hints and tips for easier work. Essential stitches—Peyote, ladder, brick, spiral, right-angle weave, and herringbone—are clearly outlined in chapters in which that technique is used to make several jewelry pieces in a range of skill levels. Power also emphasizes color schemes and combinations to produce pretty results. These projects, which range from simple to chic flamboyant, should appeal to many ages and fashion tastes. Several designs use combinations of diverse beads and stitches with stunning outcomes. Each piece is modeled in appealing color photographs. VERDICT This book will encourage bead crafters at all levels to develop further their skills and personal creativity. Readers can use this book to make several, if not most, of the projects without spending too much time or money.



redstarSmall Engines and Outdoor Power Equipment: A Care & Repair Guide For; Lawn Mowers, Snowblowers & Small Gas-Powered Implements. Cool Springs: Quarto. 2014. 144p. ed. by Peter Hunn. illus. index. ISBN 9781591865872. pap. $19.99. DIY

Small EnginesIs your yard equipment ready for action? If not, this manual might be the best place to start. Small engine repair and maintenance is well covered here, starting with an introduction to common engine types, with interior systems and components clearly illustrated. Tools needed and safety considerations are carefully detailed, followed by a lengthy troubleshooting chart. A section on annual maintenance is accompanied by large photos and step-by-step instructions; it’s followed by basic repairs, which focus on common issues. The book finishes with more difficult repairs that involve interior systems, such as rebuilding or replacing parts. Many of the engine repairs shown are for lawn mowers, though the fixes will easily translate to other yard equipment powered by small gas engines. The progress of the book is wonderful, allowing do-it-yourselfers to go only as far as they are comfortable. The larger instructional photos are a highlight of this title, and the organization is insightful. VERDICT Small-engine repair books are few and far between, so libraries will want this one. A highly recommended read for any home owner.

Fiber Crafts


Kennedy, Katherine. Learn Swedish Weaving & Huck Embroidery. Annie’s. 2014. 48p. illus. index. ISBN 9781596359062. pap. $12.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Swedish WeavingSwedish weaving (also known as huck embroidery), a form of surface embellishment on evenweave fabrics, peaked during the frugal 1930s and 1940s as women tried to bring a little color to everyday textiles such as kitchen towels and placemats. Kennedy, who was inspired by a vintage textile purchased at an estate sale, was taken with the bright colors and geometric designs typical of this long-lost technique and began designing her own patterns. This guide introduces the basic stitches and textiles used in Swedish weaving, along with 12 projects of various sizes that demonstrate the technique’s versatility. Since Swedish weaving uses many of the same supplies as cross-stitch or embroidery, many crafters will have enough stash to give some of the small projects, such as the bookmarks or the gift bag, a try. Full-color folded pattern sheets are included for the longer table runners as well as the monk’s cloth afghan. VERDICT This book is a valuable addition to needlework collections and will introduce an old-fashioned technique to a new generation of stitchers.

Patrick, Jane & Stephanie Flynn Sokolov. Woven Scarves: 26 Inspired Designs for the Rigid Heddle Loom. Interweave. 2014. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781620331194. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781620335123. FIBER CRAFTS

Patrick (Time To Weave) and Sokolov (columnist, “Yearning To Weave and Spin”), coworkers at Schacht Spindle Company, may be expert weavers, but they see great potential in rigid heddle looms, which are easier to warp than most floor looms. In their first collaborative book, the authors present a collection of scarves—perfect projects for the rigid heddle loom, which limits the project width. The scarves are evenly divided between everyday wearable pieces, such as traditional plaids or finely woven lace, and quirky creations involving novelty yarns, including a collar that bears an unfortunate resemblance to a mop head. Almost all of the scarves are made using readily available knitting yarn, and a clear, full-sized photograph of the project yarn wrapped around a one-inch piece of cardboard helps weavers make appropriate substitutions. Some of the most interesting information is related to finishing, including felting, fulling, resist felting, and discharge dyeing, which adds visual interest to the finished product. VERDICT Inexpensive rigid heddle looms are marketed to knitters and crocheters, and these beginner friendly projects will inspire weavers—and help them use up some of their yarn.

Storey, Martin. Floral Knits: 25 Contemporary Flower-Inspired Designs. Griffin: St. Martin’s. May 2014. 136p. illus. ISBN 9781250049834. pap. $24.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Floral KnitsFor his latest collection, Storey (Aran Knits) takes inspiration from the colors and forms of the English countryside outside his home in Devon, where he and his partner settled several years ago. The finished items range from the bold, Scandinavian-style Flora pillow, which features a repeating circular motif, to the monochromatic Herbaceous Throw, in which flowers and plants are rendered in cables and bobbles; to the romantic Trellis Slipover and Trellis Shrug, which show off colorful embroidered daisies within a background of diamond-shaped bobbles. Storey also employs a healthy dose of whimsy in some of the projects, especially those emphasizing oversized floral motifs, such as the flower-sprinkled Pollen Wrap. In keeping with his many years as a designer for Rowan, he uses that company’s colorful yarns in all of the projects. The patterns employ a variety of techniques, including Aran, Fair Isle, and intarsia; basic knowledge is assumed, so knitters new to these techniques may wish to have a reference guide handy. ­VERDICT Knitters who have enjoyed Storey’s other patterns, as well as those who enjoy designers with contemporary romantic flair such as Kim Hargreaves and Sasha Kagan, will love this collection.

Vaine, Janice. Embroidery & Patchwork Revisited: An Illustrated Guide to Hand Stitching. Landauer. 2014. 144p. illus. ISBN 9781935726517. pap. $27.95. FIBER CRAFTS

In 2012, Vaine purchased an exquisite hand-embroidered antique quilt. Inspired by its artistry, she decided to replicate it using contemporary fabrics and techniques. The result is a combination of a traditionally pieced medallion quilt with crazy quilt–style embroidered seams and embroidered embellishments. This guide documents Vaine’s quilting journey, presenting the pattern for the quilt (which she has named “A Quilt To Dream Under”) and a guide to the techniques used to make it. The first section of the book explains how to piece and embroider the patchwork blocks that surround the center medallion, followed by an embroidery stitch dictionary that demonstrates all the stitches used in the quilt. For quilters who are new to hand embroidering their patchwork and would like to practice before attempting a large-scale project, several small projects combining the two techniques are included. The author’s descriptions are thorough, and close-up photos of her work (as well as the original quilt) are featured throughout. VERDICT Art quilters, as well as quilters interested in hand embroidery, will appreciate Vaine’s attention to detail and respect for traditional techniques and vintage style.

Interior Design

GAYLE A. WILLIAMSON, Fashion Inst. of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles

Örnberg, Anna. Country Style: Home Décor and Rustic Crafts from Chandeliers to Coffee Tables, Bedcovers to Bulletin Boards. Skyhorse. 2014. 144p. tr. from Swedish by Ellen Hedström. photos. ISBN 9781628736434. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781629140018. INTERIOR DESIGN

Country StyleSwedish craft book author Örnberg pre­sents a variety of ideas to enhance country décor, which she describes as anything that “looks worn, rubbed, corroded, oxidized, rusty, or stamped by the hallmark of time.” In more than 150 color photographs, the author shows a number of homes with a style that exemplifies her own, which serve primarily as a backdrop to showcase her creations. Örnberg includes more than 50 projects that require skill levels from beginner (such as placing a potted plant in an inverted lampshade) to a bit more advanced (crocheting granny squares). VERDICT Although illustrated, step-by-step instructions are included for a few projects, a number of them would be best attempted by readers with some crafting skills. Those looking for additional country style craft ideas with a Scandinavian slant will find an abundance of ideas here.

This article was published in Library Journal's May 15, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.