My Handmade Wedding: A Crafter’s
Guide to Making Your Big Day Perfect.
By Marrianne Mercer.
May 2016. 128p. Search, $19.95 (9781782211587).
Creating a unique wedding with a personal touch has moved beyond a trend to
be the norm for many couples. This book
provides a guide to every step of planning
a wedding and includes the personal details
and photographs of the author’s own handmade celebration. This system relies on lists
and advance preparation to account for all
the details and is designed to result in a
stress-free event. Every aspect is outlined,
from choosing a theme to making accessories for the wedding party to baking your
own wedding cake. All the customs and elements presented will feel quite traditional
to a Western heterosexual audience. The final chapter even covers thank-you notes and
what to do with all the stuff you’ve created
after the event is over. Though some terms
are specific to the UK, most of the traditions
will be familiar to U.S. readers, as will the
look of the crafts and creations. Throughout,
Mercer reminds readers that they can choose
to DIY all, some, or none of any individual
piece of the preparation. —Anne Heidemann
Rock That Quilt Block: Hourglass.
By Linda J. Hahn.
2016. 80p. illus. American Quilter’s Society, paper, $24.95
The second in a series from Hahn (Rock
That Quilt Block: Weathervane, 2015) is
geared to experienced quilters. Hahn believes
in giving pretty explicit brand recommendations as well as accepted shortcuts to cutting
and piecing a whole bunch of triangles for
the final product, which is exactly the definition of an hourglass in stitching terms: two
facing point-to-point triangles. From the
beginning, she makes her preferences clear:
use starch, buy and use a Panasonic cordless
iron, and in all cases, use her formula for calculating the number of triangles that can be
eked out of a roll of fabric. Armed with that
knowledge (and a great sewing machine), any
quilter worth his or her stitches can follow
the very explicit directions for 11 patterns,
including material requirements, a precutting
chart, assembly instructions, and, occasionally, templates to use. Brilliantly colored and
structured, these patterned sandwiches range
from contemporary adaptations of classics
(e.g., Trip around the World) to ultramodern
interpretations (e.g., Rain Delay). Sew many
projects, so little time. —Barbara Jacobs
Tapestry Crochet and More: A Handbook
of Crochet Techniques and Patterns.
By Maria Gullberg.
May 2016. 84p. illus. IPG/Trafalgar Square, $17.95
Tapestry crochet is a variation on tradi-
tional crochet that allows for color changes
mid-row and results in a look that is akin
to loom weaving. This concealed ring-bound
book focuses on tapestry crochet but also
offers several other types of projects, includ-
ing granny squares and three-dimensional
flowers. The look of tapestry crochet is very
distinctive and is rarely represented in craft
books published in the U.S. The instruc-
tional portion of this book outlines the eight
types of stitches needed to complete the
projects as well as tips for changing colors,
finishing, turning chain, and reading charts
and a section informing left-handed crafters
how they can adapt the patterns to fit their
needs. Most of the tapestry crochet patterns
are for bags and accessories, and the more
traditional crochet patterns are focused on
granny squares and decorative items such
as flowers and chains. An additional tips
section at the end of the book offers help re-
lated to technical aspects, including weaving
in ends, counting stitches, stringing beads,
selecting yarn and other material, and more.
The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They
Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop.
By Sharon Bowers and David Bowers.
June 2016. 416p. illus. Workman, paper, $19.95
This book—billed as an encyclopedia of
DIY—is for readers who ever wished they
knew how to hem pants properly, clean a
coffeemaker, or do a simple plumbing repair.
The information is organized into sections,
including “Cooking,” “Domestic Arts,”
“Woodworking & Metalworking,” and “
Mechanical.” All kinds of tasks are covered,
from projects, such as hanging a light fixture
and rotating tires, to life skills, such as packing a suitcase and polishing shoes. The layout
is attractive and features simple illustrations.
Most public libraries will want this for circulating collections as well as ready reference.
Wee Garter Stitch: Must-Have Knits for
Modern Babies & Toddlers.
By Vickie Howell.
May 2016. 96p. illus. Sixth & Spring, paper, $17.95
Certain names in needle craft are instant
draws for those handy with yarns, and Howell
is one such designer. Her 25 patterns here are
simple and, despite the fact that they use only
the garter stitch, attractive enough to start
stashing fibers. The clean ridges and texture of
the stitch, in Howell’s hands, end up in some
great baby decor and duds: a two-color round
peg blanket; a giggle-worthy, breezy baby beach
pullover; paperchain garlands; and a coyote kid
sweater that apes the Ralph Lauren look. Each
design features more than ample instructions
and color photographs; occasional tips help
in decision making (e.g., make decorative ties
functional by knitting them). Though the patterns are, by far, the stars of the volume, her
back-of-the-book techniques section is not to
be skipped—especially the enlarged, step-by-step photographs illustrating such methods as
casting on and binding off. —Barbara Jacobs