Books to keep you in stitches

Posted June 07, 2010, at 7:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:54 p.m.

Although there is much debate about the demise of the printed word in the form of books, many continue to arrive at my desk. I still find books a wonderful source of ideas, inspiration and visual pleasure.

Books about crafts and needlework make great beach reading on days when it’s too hot to knit and too clammy to sew.

Oh, I know there are those of you out there who would haul your sewing machines to the beach with you if it weren’t for the sand. I understand that only too well — but that’s where books come in — they help us dream up new projects to do after the sweet days of summer have turned to the harvest moon nights of fall.

For example:

“Magenta Style Paper Enchantments” by Nathalie Metivier and Leslie Carola, published by St. Martin’s Griffin. The card making, scrapbooking and other projects in this book use products from Magenta, a company in Quebec. Projects also include a picture frame, a necklace and little boxes. The designs feature flowers, birds and butterflies. Stores that carry Magenta products include Craft-Mania in Auburn, Catmacdesigns in Cape Elizabeth, Maine-Ly Stamps in Kittery, Sharon’s Stampin Shop in Madawaska, the Yard Goods Center in Waterville and Your Maine Stamper in Winthrop.

“Build Your Own Paper Roberts” by Julius Perdana and Josh Buczynski, published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Like to craft with your children, but they would rather interact with the computer? Do both! This book comes with a CD containing ready-to-print robot templates that can be used to cut and assemble your very own customized robots, including Chompbot, Dogbot, Spiderbot and Microbot.

The book features a list of materials needed to make the robots, detailed, illustrated instructions on how to assemble the robots and instructions about how to use the information on the CD.

Sounds like a rainy summer day project to me.

“Inspired to Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery” by Melanie Testa, published by Interweave, isn’t about quilting in the traditional sense, even though the traditional quilt formula of top, filler, backing is used. It’s about the art techniques one can use to enhance and embellish fabric to give the quilter a broader range of design tools from which to choose. The book contains the chapters Technique Application, Creating Quilts Inspired by Your Journals, Sandwiching and Quilting, Embellishment and Finishing. The book isn’t about projects, but four projects are included — a purse, a sewing holster, merit badges and artist trading cards.

This is a lovely book for browsing, but the author also encourages experimenting with the techniques she discusses.

“Nicky Epstein: Crocheted Flowers,” published by Sixth and Spring Books, and “Nicky Epstein: Knitted Flowers,” published by Nicky Epstein Books, are twin books that should not be separated because you could knit a few, crochet a few, felt a few, and mix and match the whole caboodle as embellishments for sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, bags or purchased clothing. Crochet roses, lilies and leaves. Knit daisies, buttercups and dahlias.

Each book offers ideas on how to use the flowery creations on shoes and as necklaces, and instructions for fun-to-do projects such as a hat and poncho.

Visit your local bookstore or library to ask about these books.

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