Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Wonderful World of Color Craft Books

Up until now, I think I've kept my addiction to craft books pretty well hidden.  It all ends today!  Yesterday you got a tour of the craft books of yesteryear.  Today, you get to revel in the goodness that is the modern craft book.  Or, in the case of Amy Sedaris, the post-modern craft book.

This small selection of my craft library has been acquired over the past few months.  I'm happy that craft books have taken a large turn for the better over the past 20 years in that they typically not only include color, but tons and tons of pictures.  Who wants a craft book without pictures?  I'm fairly certain that the sewing ladies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s did not appreciate having to imagine on their own what certain processes looked like.  The books below are packed full of lovely and helpful pictures.

Diane Gaudynski's Guide to Machine Quilting has been mentioned on a few of the quilting blogs that I follow as THE go-to source to teach yourself how to machine quilt.  I'm super impressed with the work that long arm quilters can do if you send your quilts out to be quilted, but I'd really like to be able to at least do basic free motion quilting well on my own.  This book is my key to success.

Gaudynski goes over a bunch of different methods and designs that you can use to quilt.  Aren't these awesome?  And they're completely free hand.

What I'm most excited for are the quilting exercises that she provides, like the one below.  I'm going to start giving myself quilting homework and practice on scraps.  I'll keep you updated on how I am progressing!

I can only hope that one day I can quilt as beautifully as this.  All of that texture is done with quilting!  Amazing!

I believe I've mentioned before about my problem with websites that give you free shipping if you order so many dollars worth of merchandise.  The problem comes into play because I always need to order at least that much so shipping is free.  I'm talking to you, Amazon and  This book was a major splurge to say the very least. 

That being said, it is an invaluable reference book.  Being new to sewing, I sometimes don't know what a certain type of fabric is, which is troublesome when trying to figure out what fabric to use for a certain pattern.  Now, thanks to Classic and Modern Fabric, I will never be left wondering!  It lists, describes, and shows an example of pretty much every type of fabric known to man.

Surprisingly, the styling of the book isn't downright beautiful.  Sure, they show pretty fabrics, but the layout is pretty mundane.  Don't you agree that it's kind of snooze-y?

Sometimes when I'm in need of a giggle or a good hard laugh, I crack open Simple Times to any random page, and I'm good to go.  Since finding I Like You in the Bargain Books section of Barnes & Noble a couple of years ago, I have been a big fan of Amy Sedaris, so much so, that I received not one, but two copies of Simple Times for Christmas.  My friends and family know me so well!  Simple Times is as equally hilarious and silly as I Like You.

Not a single inch of the pages in this book is wasted, including the back of the dust jacket and inside front cover.  If you don't find this hilarious, I suggest you keep on scrolling until you get to the safe land of City Quilts.

And then there's this little surprise etched into the front cover.  Man this is good styling!

I think I am beginning to be obsessed with the spaces that artists create in.  The Blue Gardenia runs a series called Sewing Spaces, which features different bloggers and their sewing spaces.  Whenever I see a new Sewing Spaces pop up in my Google Reader, I get super excited to take a peak into another sewists' creative world.  It was no surprise that I spent awhile staring at these pages when I first got the book.  I'm also starting to think that everyone has a card catalog in their house but me.  If you're looking to give one up, let me know!

No crafter should approach any project without doing the proper stretches first.  You don't want to get injured!  But if you do, don't worry; Ms. Sedaris provides information on healing your wounds.

For real though, there are actual crafts packed throughout this entire book. 

My favorite are these milk carton structures.  You could whip these up pretty quickly too!  I would be worried that we'd burn the house down though by placing paper over electric candles.  I'll have to think up a fire-safe alternative.

Quite on the opposite side of the craft book spectrum is Cherri House's new book, City Quilts.

I picked this up mainly because of the extensive color theory sections and because it deals with using only solids in quilts.  There are some gorgeous quilts in this book!  Here are a few of my favorites.

Below is City Green.  Isn't it amazing how illuminating the white blocks are?  They provide a nice balance to the darker greens, browns, and blues.

City Lights was inspired by bright office building windows against the dark of the morning.  I think she is spot on with this design.  It's so simple yet interesting.

City Lot was inspired by parking lots full of new cars that have just arrived on boats.  I totally get it!  I love the bright colors she chose. 

After viewing my three favorite quilts in the book, I'm sure you can now see how much I love organization.  What is better than rows upon perfect rows of blocks of colors?

I stumbled across Stitch magazine sometime last year and was disappointed that they didn't offer a subscription service.  When I got the email last month alerting me that they now offer an option to auto-send you each new issue as it becomes available, I was in!  Here are the Winter 2010 and Spring 2011 issues.

The bad thing about subscribing to Stitch is that there are now dozens more projects added to my project list.  How adorable is the mini mushroom quilt?  Do I have a perfect place to put one, say, on a dining room table where we regularly eat?  No, but that won't stop me from wanting to make one.

We do regularly use dish towels, so this set would be a logical addition to my project list.

I'm surprised that I was so taken with this cuff as I don't currently own any bracelets, cuffs, or watches.  I think this might not make it to the project list, but it might make a nice gift for someone some day. 

I haven't had the chance to give the Spring 2011 issue a thorough reading yet, but at first glance, a few projects caught my eye.

Like this adorable clutch.

And this quilted elephant placemat.

It looks like a project has caught someone else's eye!  I'm pretty sure he's saying, "Please make this for me, Mommy!  I'm such a good boy!"

We will see, little Flick.  We will see.


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