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June 29, 2007 Edition

The Surface Designer’s Handbook, by Holly Brackman

Here’s a book for fabric nuts who know what they want to see, but can’t find it in stores. This book will teach you how to use dyes, prints, paints, and resists to create unique fabrics. The first few chapters cover safety, fabrics, dyes, and fibers before moving on to specific techniques, each covered in meticulous depth. Illustrated with lots of luscious photos, each with a brief caption explaining how the effect was achieved, making it easy to identify projects to try.

Knit Fix, by Lisa Kartus

This is an indispensable guide for knitters who want to correct mistakes with the least amount of fuss. You’ll learn how to identify and correct problems such as twisted, skipped, added, and dropped stitches. Maybe you crossed a cable the wrong way - Kartus shows you how to fix that, too. Did you finish a project only to find that you cast on too tightly? Don’t despair! Though it falls under “Extreme Fixes,” this, too, can be remedied. Kartus believes in heading off problems before they start, and therefore give instructions for casting on and binding off, knitting a gauge swatch, working in the round, reading patterns, and more. She also discusses ways of customizing patterns for an individual fit.

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters, by Sharon Brant

Another useful book for knitters, this will help your knitwear look as perfect as possible. Starting with the basics of casting on and binding off, shaping, and joining yarns, it then adds blocking, buttonholes, zippers, adding edgings, sewing pieces together, and more. A short chapter gives patterns for the modeled garments.

Miniature Scrapbooks, by Taylor Hagerty

Scrapbookers, rejoice! Here’s a delightful book of projects designed to be completed in a day. Whether you are contemplating gifts or thinking about showcasing vacation photos and memories, this book offers up plenty of ideas. The basics of folding, binding, creating templates, and supplies are covered in “Getting Started,” and from there, a number of award-winning artists show examples of their own books and give step-by-step instructions for recreating them.

Metal Crafting Workshop, by Marie Browning.

This creative book has appeal for crafters of many persuasions. Browning uses a variety of metal foils, sheets, and wires to embellish picture frames, create lanterns, cover journals, and more. You’ll learn to safely cut and fold metal, wrap wire, and emboss, pierce, color, and stamp your way to personalized gifts and home décor.

Metal Embossing Workshop, by Magdalena S. Muldoon

This is a heavier-duty metal workbook than the first and the projects shown here have a much higher metal-to-other-materials ratio. Learn how to create a lacework serving tray, cover a mirror frame in embossed silver, and create a treasure chest ornamented with jewels. Complete instructions and patterns are included with each project, and all patterns feature gorgeous photo illustrations.

Mosaic Patterns, by Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin.

Interested in updating an old coffee table? Want a cool tiled mirror that matches your room? Look here for step-by-step instructions and patterns for creating mosaic-tiled pieces for your home, including vases, backsplashes, and even a 3-dimensional sculpture in addition to a variety of tables and mirrors. One of the best things about this book is that the authors explain why certain techniques work in particular instances, so that you will be able to create your own designs with confidence if you aren’t interested in the enclosed templates.

The Stained Glass Home, by George W. Shannon and Pat Torlen

Despite its name, this is really about making mosaics with glass: while there are several translucent projects, nothing here fits the mold of traditional stained glass. That said, there are some really lovely ideas here, ranging from beginning projects like the ABC wall plaques for a baby’s room, to a more advanced Wright-style headboard. My favorite is the birch-patterned cabinet door panel, or maybe the garden divider covered in dragonflies, or maybe…

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