children’s projects (if they think of it at all).
UK felter and author Lapierre (Felt Christmas
Decorations, 2013) is hoping to change that,
as she infuses her latest title with a very dramatic, very Scandinavian design viewpoint.
Under her tutelage, the matted-wool fabric
becomes an owl or sleepy-fox pillow, a hen-egg cozy, or a bird hanging. As she points out,
not much expertise is required: just a rudimentary knowledge of sewing, the desire to
learn some basic embroidery stitches, and the
ability to follow directions. The 30 projects
are all accompanied by very good color photographs; instructions are streamlined—and
well-explained up front in the techniques section. There are 13 pages of templates. With
this publication now in the U.S., expect a run
on felt at fabric stores. —Barbara Jacobs
Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can
Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial
May 2016. 288p. illus. Timber, paper, $24.95
Think of this as a short course on why the
efforts to garden for butterflies are important
as well as their behaviors, life cycles, threats,
conservation, family groups, habitats, and the
plants to include or avoid in planning a garden for them. Basics for planning landscape
layouts for rain, xeriscape, multiuse, meadows, and roadside plantings, urban or rural,
are succinctly described. They are followed
by photographs and descriptions of 119 recommended flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees
useful to butterflies and attractive in a garden.
Information on native ranges, bloom times,
color, height, life cycle, soil moisture, nectar
value, and larval host properties will be useful to those planning a butterfly garden. After
covering picking plants for the garden, there
is advice on planting, pesticide-free weed and
pest control, and annual clean-up. Lovely and
instructive photographs are used throughout
to encourage readers to become involved in
studying butterflies and supporting conservation efforts as well as planting a garden.
This book will help even those without green
thumbs support the much-needed effort to
assist and protect pollinators. —Linda Scarth
Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern
Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles.
By Gretchen Hirsch.
2016. 236p. illus. STC Craft, $35 (9781617690754).
This truly comprehensive guide to sewing
vintage dresses has been lovingly created by a
passionate enthusiast. Every step of the process
of constructing a dress is detailed, and techniques and patterns are illustrated with ample
color photographs. The first half of the book includes information that will be useful to those
making dresses and will translate to making
other types of garments. A guide details how to
select and pretreat fabrics, a necessity for creating comfortable, durable garments that can
The zestiest crafts and gardening books reviewed between May 15, 2015, and May 1, 2016, celebrate the pleasures of creativity and of working with one’s hands to infuse everyday life with
beauty, nourishment, comfort, and inspiration, whether they offer
instructions for knitting socks, crocheting toys, or nurturing plants.
All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses—How the White
House Grounds Have Grown with America. By Marta McDowell. 2016. Timber, $29.95
This delightful and elucidating work features photographs, drawings, paintings, and a
lengthy chart of the plants in the gardens throughout time.
Arm Knitting. By Amanda Bassetti. 2015. Barron’s, $17.99 (9781438007304).
The 30 projects here are full of information, before and after the directions, to ensure
knitters will get the results they deserve.
Crochet Geometry: Geometric Patterns to Fit and Flatter. By Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby.
2016. Lark, $17.95 (9781454709190).
The inventive and playful designs in this appealing book are all built on rectangles,
circles, and triangles as foundation—simply having fun with geometry.
Designer Crochet: 32 Patterns to Elevate Your Style. By Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby. 2015.
Lark, $22.95 (9781454708728).
In this title, Mullett-Bowlsby is not only more than generous in including up to (and
usually beyond) 2X but her instructions also allow for a shaping and a more precise fit, no
matter what the actual number.
The Gardener’s Guide to Weather & Climate. By Michael Allaby. 2015. Timber, $29.95
By eschewing small-scale growing techniques in favor of discussing large-scale environmental issues, Allaby hopes gardeners will have a better understanding of how to
compensate for such weather-related disasters as cold spells, droughts, and floods.
Heirloom Plants: A Complete Compendium of Heritage Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, &
Flowers. By Thomas Etty and Lorraine Harrison. 2016. Ball, $29.99 (9781613735756).
Utterly charming in its overall design, this volume also boasts illustrations and sidebars
that are far more inclusive of plant varieties than most similar books.
How to Knit Socks That Fit: Techniques for Toe-Up and Cuff-Down Styles. By Donna
Druchunas. 2015. Storey, $8.95 (9781612125411).
This comprehensive how-to begins with an in-depth examination of yarns and needles, moving to sock anatomy and heel and toe variations. Plenty of professional advice
The Indestructible Houseplant: 200 Beautiful Plants That Everyone Can Grow. By Tovah
Martin. 2015. Timber, $22.95 (9781604695014).
As the subtitle promises, 200 lovely, easy-to-care-for plants are profiled in this A–Z
catalog. Full-color photos, boxed summaries, and substantial back matter complete an
appealing and inspiring guide.
Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting Sweaters Ever in
the Styles You Love to Wear. By Amy Herzog. 2015. STC Craft/Melanie Falick, $24.95
There are many charts and photos here, and kudos to the book’s creators for using models of various sizes so readers have a visual of how the garments will look when worn.
Once upon a Time . . . in Crochet: 30 Amigurumi Characters from Your Favorite Fairy-tales. By Lynne Rowe. 2015. Search, $17.95 (9781782210924).
Rowe 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.
TOP 10 CRAFTS & GARDENING