Melissa Mercille of Mabel Handmade loves craft books and has put together a list of ten crafty books she recommends every serious crafter have in their library for today’s 10 Things. For 10 Things, I invite Indie Fixx readers and indie artists to share a fun list of ten things on a theme…any theme. If you have your own idea for a great 10 Things list and want to put one together, send me an email.
Top 10 Craft Book List – by Melissa Mercille
Crafter, maker, artist or whatever the preferred term is, I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember and collecting craft books as well. My preferred craft is sewing, but I dabble in crochet, knit, jewelry and paper arts. In fact, I am embarking on a new journey taking my crafting to the next level. I’m in the final stages of developing my product line now and expect to open an Etsy shop before the end of the summer (2009).
Over the years I’ve collected dozens of craft books and I’ve read even more, so I’ve compiled a list of my current favorite craft books to share with you. With the exception of the first on the list, these books are in random order.
1. Patchwork Style: 35 Simple Projects for a Cozy & Colorful Life by Suzuko Koseki. I love everything about this book; its cute compact size, its amazing photography and some of the coolest patchwork projects ever! Suzuko has a fabulous eye for design, color and a cool, modern aesthetic that is juxtaposed with the complexity of patchwork. There are detailed instructions and illustrations for each project and I literally want to make every item shown in this book.
2. Loop-d-Loop Crochet by Teva Durham. I prefer to crochet over knit, except when it comes to the patterns…until now. This book contains some of THE most beautiful crochet patterns and it should be in every crocheter’s library. The patterns are unique and simply amazing.
3. Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. Who doesn’t know Debbie Stoller and what she’s done to bring knitting back to popularity? Well, she’s helping to bring crochet to the forefront too. Her instructions are some of the best I’ve seen and include detailed illustrations that help to explain not only how to make a stitch, but how the stitches intertwine to create a pattern. And it’s a fun read too because she’s witty.
4. Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching by Heather Ross. I love the way this book is organized and appreciate that it starts with suggestions on how to set up and organize your sewing space. It includes fantastic, useful, current projects for all aspects of life and for gift-giving. And for myself, I’m planning to make the Kimono Dress & Obi Sash; a simple, yet chic, dress that looks super comfy and stylish.
5. Sew & Stow by Betty Oppenheimer. Fun! Cool! And detailed… I’m a detail person and Betty Oppenheimer leaves out none. Sew & Stow would be a great gift for someone who’s developing an interest in sewing. It provides great advice on tools, techniques and fabrics and is a well-rounded book offering many types of projects for keeping yourself and your stuff organized.
6. Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones: 20 Keepsake Sewing Projects for Baby and More by Amy Butler. I’m a self-confessed fan of Amy Butler. I have all of her books – signed – I own a few of her handbag patterns and have used her fabrics in many of my sewing projects. If you like to make gifts for new moms and babies, this book provides unique gift-giving opportunities. I’m waiting patiently for another baby to come along so that I can make the Modern Diaper Bag with Changing Pad for a beloved friend or family member. Really cute products for every skill level.
7. Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects by Denyse Schmidt. What’s there to say about Denyse Schmidt that hasn’t already been said? She’s a truly gifted quilter who has an amazing eye for color. I am always thrilled when I see patchwork combined with a modern aesthetic. Each project in Quilts provides detailed instructions for quilting and patchwork that will help the reader develop said skill set.
8. Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco. Lately this has been my bible. It’s helped guide me as I’ve been working to develop my new business venture, Mabel Handmade. In every chapter, Craft Inc showcases indie artists who have successfully launched their businesses, like Lotta Jansdotter and Katherine Shaughnessy (of Wool & Hoop). As the title suggests, it provides great advice on turning your hobby into a real business.
9. Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine & Cortney Heimerl. I like reading about other makers and artists and that’s what Handmade Nation is all about. It is the supplement to the indie documentary that I am patiently waiting to see. Each chapter features a region of the country (south, west, north, etc.) and showcases a handful of makers from each region. Essayists close out each chapter by giving their views of the indie craft community and how we’re creating change in America. Reading Handmade Nation really makes me proud of what I do and create every day.
10. Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing by Anna Marie Horner. This is yet another good book for instruction, thorough descriptions of sewing terms and advice on setting up a basic sewing kit. The projects are fun, quirky and beautiful. The author has a brilliant eye for combining fabric patterns which translates into some of the coolest products ever. This is another one where I could probably make every project, but I really want to make the Bo Beep Skirt for my three-year old, Isabel.