The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an
Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard That
Nutures Bees and Supports Biodiversity.
By Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn.
Feb. 2016. 224p. illus. Ten Speed, paper, $19.99
The widespread ecological crisis known
as bee colony collapse disorder, in which
pollinating insects are dying off in droves,
can be partially addressed by large agribusi-nesses cultivating flowering crops. According
to garden designer Frey and biologist and
pollinator expert LeBuhn, individual and
small-acreage growers can also help reverse
the alarming trend simply by trading in
less-biodiverse plants for more bee-friendly
ones. In this very readable, well-illustrated
handbook, the authors provide all the basic information for designing and tending
gardens and small farms that attract pollinators and other environment-boosting insects
without resorting to harmful pesticides. Frey
and LeBuhn catalog all the bee-friendly
plants such as perennials, shrubs, and trees
and identify those to avoid. They also provide tips on matching soils to the local
climate and creating nesting cavities for bees
and explain how readers can become bee activists. This is an important book. Frey and
LeBuhn’s accessible and inspiring advice, if
correctly followed by growers around the
world, could profoundly help restore diminishing bee populations to thriving good
health, which is essential to our crops and
our well-being. —Carl Hays
The Field Guide to Peppers: 400
Varieties, Where They Come from, How
Hot They Are.
By Dave De Witt and Janie Lamson.
Jan. 2016. 304p. illus. Timber, $24.95 (9781604695885). 583.
This pictorial encyclopedia showcases 400
different varieties of chile peppers. The book
opens with narrative information on growing
peppers, and moves right into the identification guide. Peppers are sorted into five species,
with a two-page spread detailing each type.
The largest species, Capsicum annuum, is further broken down into 20 familiar varieties
including ancho, bell, ornamental, serrano,
and wax. The entries include a full-color photograph of the mature pepper plant, along
with details such as cultivar name, origin,
plant height, days to harvest, and heat level.
There is also a sentence or two of trivia about
Crafts & Hobbies
A–Z of Ribbon Embroidery: A
Comprehensive Manual with over 40
Gorgeous Designs to Stitch.
Jan. 2016. 132p. illus. Search, paper, $19.95
It’s a how-to by the numbers: 15-plus contributors (all given credit). Thirty-nine stitches,
all well described and illustrated with step-by-step color photographs and captions. And
48 patterns, with equally specific information about stitches, materials, order of work,
embroidery key, and directions. What avid
needleworkers should know: this is not your
mother’s or grandmother’s embroidery book.
Instead, it features very different stitches, such
as folded ribbon rose and loop stitch, and very
different techniques. Search Press, as always in
this British series, excels, giving its readers good
instructions and traditional designs, including
Victorian bouquet, roses, violets, baby bears,
and other animals and flowers. Occasional
tips (e.g., test ribbons first for color fastness by
washing) ensure that beginners are on the same
page as experienced embroiderers. A fresh, instructive approach to a wonderful tradition.
Masters of Craft: 224 Artists in Fiber,
Clay, Glass, Metal, and Wood.
By Paul J. Smith.
2015. 248p. illus. Schiffer, $50 (9780764349294). 740.
Smith, director emeritus of the Museum of
Arts and Design, has been on the crafts scene
for decades, tracking the work of individuals
integral to the thriving studio craft movement.
Since the mid-1980s, he has been taking
beautifully composed candid and formal photographs of top craftspeople, many in their
studios. He has now assembled 240 black-and-white photographs into a classy and exciting
portrait gallery and illuminating visual history
of those who have elevated contemporary crafts
to the highest echelons of mastery, aesthetics,
and creativity. Smith’s images are organized
by media, including glass, which features the
renowned Dale Chihuly and more than 30
others. Wendell Castle and Wendy Maruyama
are among those working with wood; John
Prip and Ramona Solberg are members of the
metal brigade. In the fiber section, readers will
encounter Nick Cave, Sheila Hicks, and Lenore Tawney. The world of clay is represented
by Ruth Duckworth, Maria Martinez, Toshiko
Takaezu, Peter Voulkos, and many others.
This thoughtfully and elegantly designed and
Mini Knitted Toys: Over 30 Cute & Easy
produced volume matches faces to names and
exceptional craft works to record a sterling era.
By Sachiyo Ishii.
2015. 112p. illus. Search, $17.95 (9781782211457);
e-book (9781781264195). 792.432.
This collection of tiny toys, known as
amigurumi (Japanese for crocheted or knitted doll),
offers an almost endless supply of adorableness.
A large part of the appeal of amigurumi is the
opportunity for the knitter to add their own
flair, particularly with colors and faces, giving the toys a bit of personality. Ishii presents
32 themes (including aliens, birds, cupcakes,
fairy-tale characters, trains, and more) that can
be adapted into hundreds of different figures.
Her Snow White and the Seven Dwarves set
is particularly darling. The book opens with
easy-to-follow basic instructions on knitting,
embroidery, and materials and tools. Project
instructions are fairly bare-bones, but the full-color photographs show details. The bulk of
the projects are rated at the beginner level, and
none require expert knitting skills. This slim
volume would be a good addition to collections where knitted and crocheted figures are
popular. —Rebecca Vnuk
Once upon a Time . . . in Crochet: 30
Amigurumi Characters from Your
By Lynne Rowe.
2015. 96p. Search, paper, $17.95 (9781782210924).
British author Rowe, following her passion,
creates 30 charming fairy-tale denizens on the
scale of Japanese amigurumi. Almost every
favorite childhood story is represented, from
the ugly duckling to Rapunzel. Each features
not only the characters but also their accouterments: for instance, “The Princess and the
Pea” includes a bed, and “Goldilocks and the
Three Bears” features a basket and picnic rug.
Instructions are thorough, and the color photographs are exceptionally crisp. Up front, the
author includes brief notes on materials and
devotes space to techniques, such as the magic
loop (how to start a project) and the mattress
stitch. Briticisms occasionally creep in; the list
of Rapunzel’s tower, for example, mandates
a “crisp tube,” which needs a translation for
American readers (a cookie container, in other
words). The results will delight kids of all ages.
Crafts & Gardening Roundup Ingeborg Bernhard