Arts and Crafts
Simple times by written by Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello — Fans of Sedaris' I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence will not be disappointed by her latest guide. Now is the time to be thrifty and to embellish your life with your crafty skills while you scrimp and save. No one crafts like Amy Sedaris, but you can try to imitate her by following her instructions. BONUS: the images in this book are simultaneously gorgeous and hilarious, and there are even illustrations by renaissance guy Justin Theroux.
Illustrated guide to sewing home furnishings : expert techniques for creating custom shades, drapes, slipcovers and more — Have you ever seen a gorgeous fabric in the store but thought you didn't have the skills to make it into curtains, a pillow, or a slipcover? Look no further, this book has clear instructions that will allow you to teach yourself as you go. It includes a variety of techniques as well as instructions for calculating yardage and other seemingly tricky parts of the process.
Stitch 'n bitch superstar knitting : go beyond the basics by Debbie Stoller ; with photography by Gabrielle Revere ; [illustrations by Adrienne Yan.] — Debbie Stoller is a bit of a knitting rock star, and when you see "Stitch 'n Bitch" in the title, you know there are going to be some hip, fun projects inside. This book has a ton of techniques that those who know the basics will be eager to learn. You can also use this book as a trouble-shooting guide: have difficulty getting your intarsia to lay flat? Problem solved. Puzzled by how to read lace charts? All set. And the projects are awesome! I'm not a sock-knitter, but the Skull Isle Socks might just make me a convert.
Sock yarn one-skein wonders by edited by Judith Durant — So often I find myself with just one skein of a gorgeous yarn. It can be hard to know what to do with it, and running short just shy of completing a project is not a place I want to be. I also love sock yarn, but I'm not a sock-knitter, so I love these projects that allow me to use that gorgeous fiber in other ways. I have added many of these items to my queue!
Handmade beginnings : 24 sewing projects to welcome baby by Anna Maria Horner — This lovely book has a variety of projects for the mother- and father-to-be, the baby, and the baby's nursery. The creations are photographed in a simple, elegant style, and the instructions and patterns are all very clear and easy to parse even for a beginning sewer.
Design it, knit it : babies by Debbie Bliss — It can seem daunting to knit clothing, especially when that clothing is for a baby who may outgrow the item quickly. This book offers a wide variety of ideas for projects that will fit babies of all sizes. There is also information about choosing yarns that are soft enough for babies but also durable enough to handle repeated washing.
Felt me a smile-- for you by Toyoko Sugiwaka — There have been a lot of books about how to make cute stuff lately, and this one rises to the top for its unique approach. The first section includes photographs of the creations - vignettes of each object in its own little world or scene. Later in the workshop section, there are detailed instructions (with step by step photographs) so that you can create your own. Just flipping through this book will make you smile.
The yarn garden : 30+ knits using plant-based fibers by J. Marsha Michler — Many of us like to keep our lives filled with natural things as much as possible, and this book offers some perhaps not-as-well-known options for knitting with natural fibers. You'll find that just because it's natural, it's not limited to frumpy styles or subdued tones. You can also check out a few free patterns that didn't make it into the book.
Amy Butler's style stitches : 12 easy ways to 26 wonderful bags! by photographs by David Butler — Amy Butler is back with another great book of stylish items you can make yourself. This time it's handbags, and the variety of styles here means you're sure to find something that suits your needs. Because you can completely change the look of a bag by choosing a unique fabric, you could go with the bold prints Butler is known for, or select something different that makes the statement you're looking for.
Little knitted creatures : 26 amigurumi designs by Amy Gaines — Of all the books I've seen on knitting cute little creations, this one is the most friendly to beginning knitters and would be ideal for tweens and kids who want to make their own critters. The instructions are clear, the techniques are not complicated, and the results are adorable.
Northern knits : designs inspired by the knitting traditions of Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Shetland Isles by Lucinda Guy — Is the cold weather starting to get to you? Look no further than this book, which offers a variety of cozy knitted items to warm you up. Sweaters, socks, mittens, and hats are just some of the things you can make, all with a Nordic style.
Knitwit : 20 fun projects for beginners and seasoned knitters by Katie Boyette — Looking for something cute but with a little edge? The sarcastic and slightly ostentatious creatures in this book might be up your alley. They've got some attitude but they won't take a lot of training to create. You can also read up on Boyette's other creations and get some free patterns (right sidebar) at her blog, Caffaknitted, or check out her Etsy shop for pre-made goodies.
The Ohio Knitting Mills knitting book by Steven Tatar with Denise Grollmus ; fashion photography by Anna Wolf — Have you heard of the Ohio Knitting Mills? Even if you haven't, you've probably seen or even worn their products (Mr. Rogers often wore one!). This book takes inspiration from original OKM designs of the forties through the seventies and offers patterns for sweaters, dresses, and bags that are retro-inspired but appropriate for everyday wear now.
Warm knits, cool gifts : celebrate the love of knitting & family with more than 35 charming designs by Sally Melville & Caddy Melville Ledbetter — It's December, which means that many of us are busy making gifts for holiday giving. This book has many options, including several that are quick projects like a glasses case, a bookmark, or an ornament. You'd even have time to make a few of each, if you have a long gift list.
Vintage knits : 30 knitting designs from Rowan for women and men by Kaffe Fassett ... [et al.] — Rowan is known for its fine yarn and carefully crafted knitting patterns, and this book includes thirty patterns inspired by classic designs, but adapted for contemporary sizing. As usual for Rowan, the excellent styling makes the photographs into windows to other worlds and times, sure to provide you with some inspiration.
Vampire knits : projects to keep you knitting from twilight to dawn by Genevieve Miller — Fans of the Twilight saga will feel right at home with the projects featured here, from Pulse Protectors (wrist and neck warmers) to the Countess Bathory Scarf. Bella and Edward are well represented in these knitted objects and there's even a chapter of wolf-inspired goods, so members of Team Jacob are included, too. Check out the Vampire Knits Blog for even more.