Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Craft Books by the Box Full

Nick and I ventured over to Princeton on Sunday morning for the final day of the Bryn Mawr Wellesley annual book sale.  Every year, we go on the last day for the bag sale, where you pay $5 per paper bag or $10 per box full of books.  We have built most of our library this way as their fiction and classic literature sections are pretty well stocked.

In recent years, we've been hitting up the "old books" table, which is comprised of older edition books, and the craft and travel books tables.  This year I got some pretty good gems. 

First up are a couple of sewing reference books.  This Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book is from 1961. 

It includes standard sewing reference material, such as reading patterns and working with different fabrics.  Like many of the books that I picked up, this one has fabulous illustrations.  Check out this page that lists the different types of fabric that you can get from different animals, especially the little guy in the bottom left-hand corner.  At first glance, I thought this was a giraffe but the longer hair on the chest had me puzzled.  Upon looking up vicuna, I discovered that this guy is a South America camelid who is related to the llama.  You learn new things every day in the most unexpected places!

There is also an extensive guide to properly pressing your garments that I think will prove helpful in the future.  And by extensive, I mean there are 3 whole pages dedicated to it, when in modern sewing books it is rarely mentioned.

I was hoping to find an old copy of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, but a 1975 copy of The Vogue Sewing Book is a pretty good second place.  Apparently it was meant to be for me to find this copy, because the prior owner was the exact same height as me (5'4 1/2" if you must know)!  I know this because she wrote it in the margin of the figure analysis section. 

There is so much information packed into this 450-pager.  They get pretty specific as far as what styles are most flattering on which body types.  So much so that they include a few pages of charts to make sure that you don't mistakenly think a cut of a skirt or a neckline is flattering on you.  I hope that most owners of this book used these charts as guidelines and not rules.  I'd hate for someone of my stature to refuse to wear shorts because this book says that they are "Not Appropriate."

Fortunately, the guys don't get to escape from realizing their true body shapes either.  I had a nice laugh at this illustration about issues you might run into when fitting men's garments.  I like how a beer gut used to be referred to as a "bay window."  HA!  Adding the cigar for this silhouette is perfection.

One of the sections at the end of the book details setting up your sewing space.  Don't you wish your sewing space looked like this?

These three set-ups contain pieces of my actual sewing space.  If only I had more natural light to work with!

I also found a few quilting books.  I like traditional quilting with contemporary fabrics.  Much like the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book that Susan Beal just released.  I get major anxiety when I see blocks in a quilt that don't match up.  When I saw this Amish Patchwork book I immediately snatched it up.  Once I got home and actually looked at it, I was very excited at what I found.

One of my favorite things about modern sewing and quilting books is all of the great photographs.  This book is quite the opposite in that it doesn't contain any photographs besides the one on the front cover.  In fact, there is no color at all.  Almost the entire book consists of line drawings of patchwork patterns.

Despite it lacking color photos and formatting (the entire text of the short chapters at the beginning and end are in CAPS if you can believe it), I love this book.  The simple line drawings of the patchwork makes it much easier for me to see the designs (obviously) and decide whether or not I like the design without pretty fabric distracting me.  Genius! 

I also picked up Better Homes & Gardens American Patchwork & Quilting from 1985.  There are some 80s gems in here, my friends!

The book contains spotlights of some quilters and a bunch of different styles of quilts.  Like Amish Patchwork, most of the designs stick to traditional quilting patterns.  Here are a few of my favs.

I love the 80s styling in this picture.

I like to think that this quilt belonged to Laura Ingalls.

Check out this amazing quilting space!  In 1985 it belonged to a Ms. Donna Barnett, a Pennsylvania College of Art graduate.  Ms. Barnett, I am highly jealous of your wood floors, tons of sunlight, and what looks like a card catalog on your wall.

The rest of the books that I got are general craft books.  Honestly, I picked these up because of their covers and the awesome illustrations inside.

These books contain information on just about every craft imaginable.  Here we learn how to make puppets for a puppet theatre.  Mr. Squirrel and Mrs. Pig and their Properties!  Love!

The Woodstock Craftsman's Manual doesn't disappoint on illustrations either.

My favorite is this diagram of a tape deck in the section about home recording.  I am very tempted to recreate this as some sort of print for our house.  Stay tuned.

This McCalls magazine from 1964 was pretty fun to look through, even if I doubt I will ever make anything from it.  Most of the projects are knitting and are way above my skill level.  Isn't the front cover hilarious?  Look how happy those two are to be winding that yarn together!  There are details in the magazine to make all of the decorations in their living room too.  How convenient!

I loved looking at all of the old advertisements.  I'm not big into Mad Men, but I did enjoy looking at the clothes in the few episodes I've seen.  These ads are definitely a lot more classy than ads these days.

And yet some of the projects are downright horrifying.  On this page, you see a bunch of paper crafts.  What were they thinking??  I'm so thankful that artists have progressed from this over the past 50 years.

I did like this apple, even if I didn't like the bag that it is appliqued onto.  Perhaps it will make its way into a future project of mine.

We threw this last book in the box just because we liked the cover.  I'm thinking about making something out of it, but I'm not sure what yet.  Any suggestions?

I'm excited for all of the great reference books that I found.  In addition to those, we also picked up about 15 other books, all for $10!

As a bonus, I also found America From the Road, which is getting me pumped for our Great Western Adventure this August.

Here's hoping I run into some prairie dogs along the way!

Check back tomorrow to see some of the new craft books I've acquired over the past couple of months!


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