I had never heard of Julia Rothman or her latest book Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life until my publisher sent me this copy. They are so sweet that way, “Kristin, we just know you’ll love this book, here you go!” And I do lvoe this book! Another reason I love them. Anyway, reading Julia’s book makes me think her and I should be bestest buds. Or at least grab a cup of coffee. Or maybe make some sauerkraut together.
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I like writing knitting and sewing patterns because it’s exacting. You have your drape, you have your stitches, you have your needles. One stitch, two stitch… nice in a row.
Even sewing is pretty math based. Crochet, kind of. It’s organic and shapely. You can put your hook just about anywhere. Sometimes there’s not a clear path and from a pattern writing perspective, it can be hard to get my point across.
I love crochet. Pretty much for all the reasons above. Read more →
I went through stages of delight and disappointment with Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Sock Book. When it comes down to it, would I recommend it? Maybe. Here, let me explain.
I’ve had this book in my library for a couple years and I loved it. Yesterday when I sat down with it, I thought I’d be writing how much I crush on this book and why. But when I took an actual read through it cover to cover, it was lacking in the basics.
I was so excited when the package containing Hand Printing from Nature showed up unexpectedly from Storey. The note simply read, “Kristin, I think you’ll love this book, enjoy!” I suppose that’s one of the many reasons I love working with Storey Publishing, they really get to know their authors. Anyway, I realize now I’ve waited WAY too long to crack it open.
I’m so looking forward to getting my studio cleaned up later today so I can try out some of these beautifully crafted ideas.
Giveaway details at the end of the post! Read more →
When I first sat down to review this week’s book, The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book: Celebrating Four Decades of American Sweater Style, I approached it like all my craft books. I read through the index, skimmed for the projects that grab my attention, read through the actual patterns to see how well they are written, and then finally and lastly read the intro.
Well, that’s when the my approach was completely detoured. The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book sucked me in and I spent the rest of the evening reading this combo of the two things I love – knitting and history.
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I’m so excited to officially announce the release of my first book Mend it Better! It’s in stores now and on the shelves officially – I’m a nerd, I went and checked! Go here to order it online from a number of great book sellers, or head over to your local book shop to request they carry it if they don’t already. Or head to the new Craft Leftovers Shop and order yourself a personalized signed copy!
This book is packed with great information – and not just technical “how to mend” kind of things, there’s a spattering of history on sewing, some stories from my own life, and a bunch of creative twists on mending projects by contributors. It’s amazing looking! I’m delighted with everything, from the photography to the layout to the smallest little touches like the stitchy font!
Q: How long did it take to write the book and make the projects?
A: Researching and planning took about 4 months, writing took about 5 months, making the projects and all the “step outs” for the photoshoot another 3 months, and edits and revisions took another 3 months. Storey is great about proofing their books. They do everything in their power to help authors put their best writing forward.
Q: What’s my favorite project?
A: I love the little mending clutch in chapter 2 and actually carry it with me everywhere. Clothing-wise I really love Leah Peterson’s reverse applique embroidery on page 64. And… okay, well I really love all the projects showcased in the book, so I’ll just stop there.
Q: Where did I learn how to mend?
A: My grandma, Deb Cory, my Mom, books, the Sewing Rebellion, the wonderful world of the internet, and my greatest teacher: Mrs. Trial-and-error.
If you’d like to ask me some more questions, I’d be happy to answer them on your blog! Just send me an email – kristin [at] craftleftovers [dot] com to set it up.
Kudos to Kristin Roach and her contributors for making mending cool. This book offers just the right mix of practical instruction and creative inspiration to motivate readers to repair their well-worn, favorite garments. Let’s stitch!
– Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity.com
I used to put my mending tasks off as long as possible, but this book has changed my ways. Kristin not only shows you how to repair all kinds of clothing, she shows you how to turn a repair into a beautiful creative detail that makes a garment like new again. The next time my favorite shirt or sweater has a mishap, I’ll be ready to work some magic!
Kristin Roach is a creative mastermind when it comes to celebrating crafty leftovers. In her
new book Mend It Better, she doesn’t only offer clever ideas for repairs, but they each come
with an impressive designer twist!
I’m so grateful to the whole team at Storey Publishing for giving me this oppertunity to write this book. Their dedication to the project really made it (and me!) shine. They are wonderful to work with and quite the creative bunch of folks themselves!
Ever since I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale came out, oh, 3 years ago, I’ve been drooling over it. It’s one of those books that every time I would go to the book shop, I would flip through it, contemplate buying, then put it back because “I already have so many craft books, I need to make projects from those”. Well, last year I was able to buy this book under the guise of “research” for the book (and the zine) because I found the design so endearing and the book structure was pretty appealing to me.
But I had yet to make anything from it until this past week! There was a lot of overwhelming “rah rah” for this book when it came out. And rightly so. It was one of the first groupings of books that really embodied the now prevalent japanese styled american craft books.
And looking at it now, three years later, I still find the projects as inspiring as I did 3 years ago. But this book is so much more than just cute projects, I think that would be missing the main point of this collection: Linens & Patchwork.
And true, it is for the beginner. And granted, I’m no master of linens OR patchwork/quilting, but I’m no slouch either, and found a lot of really useful tips included in this book that were then reiterated in the projects. And that’s my favorite type of instructional book. Show me how to do something, then show me how to use that skill in a larger project.
Maybe you’re like me and love the idea of English Paper Piecing, but don’t really feel up to making a whole quilt. Well, that’s the beauty of this book right there – each project is the chance to play and experience different types of patchwork processes and learn new techniques.
So what did I end up making? The simplest of the projects, but for me, the most immediately useful – a utensil basket for all my chop sticks. I love how easy this comes together, that it uses up some of my little “craft leftovers”, and adds a spark of inspiration in an unexpected place – my kitchen drawer.
It’s a traditional little design that I’m definitely going to use again and again – especially when I start re-doing my studio space! I’ll need lots of little baskets for my pencils, brushes, and the like.
Do you have this book? What did you think about it? Have you made any of the projects?
A little known fact is that I’ve had miserable luck as a gardener. And the thing is, that up until this year, I left a lot of it up to luck. I’d plant things whenever, wherever. Even though I knew such casual practice would lead to casual results. Well this year, I decided to take diligent notes. I wrote down when I planted all my seeds, when I set them outside, and how well they did. I even wrote down my garden map–where I planted what.
It’s already been so helpful. For one thing I actually remember where I planted seeds and what those seeds where. And I know for a fact I still have three open areas or 7 square feet total, that I can fill with seedlings I buy from the store or some annual flowers to help with ground cover and pest prevention (marigolds are so cute!).
The thing is, my journal was getting pretty disjointed, the info was scribbled on multiple pages and the info was easily referenced because I was just jotting down whatever, wherever. I knew that I wanted to transfer the pertinent info to a new journal. I was thinking all my “homestead” notes could go into this one book: the garden, chickens, notes on the weather, notes on preserving veggies come harvest time. I feel like a little farmer saying that “come harvest time.” Ha.
Anyway, as chance would have it, Jason and I opted to go to Market Day and the Farmer’s Market last Saturday. We loaded up on delicious fresh veggies of course, but we also got to take in our fill of amazing indie craft and art delights.
One of the vendors was the talented Paper Cake Creations, you can go check out the Paper Cake Creations shop on Etsy. She takes old books and rebinds them into sketchbooks. Now while I’ve seen this done quite a bit–it is a super great idea. What really stood out to me was the craftsmanship that she put into each book.
Because of the way that she cuts the spine out and redoes the inside of the book, it’s a nice clean finish. She must trim out the spine with great care to preserve enough of the fabric so she can wrap it over the edge. She then re-papers the inside flap and includes an old fashion library check out pocket with card! I love those.
The book that instantly caught my eye was a square book, about 11 x 11″ called “Wake up Farm!” I love that name! She had preserved the whole story from the kids book too. So not only is it the perfect sized Little Woods Homestead journal/sketchbook, it’s good for a giggle about the little birds waking the rooster who wakes the hens who wakes the cow who wakes the…you get the idea.
She’s agreed to refill my book when I run out of space. She said she could put in a larger comb and add pages, or swap out old pages for new ones if I want to “file” them. I would just have to pay for book shipping and the comb and little fee for labor. Seems reasonable. And I love this book so much and the idea that I won’t have to shelve it when it’s full is so appealing. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have bought it if I didn’t have the option.
It’s always fun getting to meet people in person. The owner of Paper Cake Creations is really nice, we got to chat a little bit. I’m hoping to interview her in the future for the Craft Leftovers Podcast, now wouldn’t that be fun!
This book has already inspired me to get my notes organized. Here, look:
Veg and herb bed map
Chicken care schedule
Chicken coop plan
And now I’m going to go play in the garden and check on my new chicks!
Quarry Books is giving away a copy of Water Paper Paint to one lucky reader! Leave a comment between now and Tuesday May 31st about how you have or hope to use watercolors in your creative process! Please make sure to sign in so your email address is available so I can contact you, the winner! Enjoy and thanks Quarry! And we have a winner! Sarah E White! Congratulations and thanks everyone for participating!
My BFA is in oil painting which is so completely different than watercolors. They don’t really translate well, except the color part. I have always loved working with watercolors, but I’ve never really read about how to “properly” use them. I’ve just always played. This book gave me such a great dose of inspiration this past week. Water Paper Paint is rightly subtitled “exploring creativity with watercolor and mixed media.” It’s filled with projects that help the reader explore working with this fun versatile medium.
Chapter 1 covers the basics–paper, paint, palette, and brush choices and what they are each good for. I forgot how important these details are since they’ve been part of my general pool of knowledge for so long. It was a fun refresher and I did learn and was reminded of a few fun details.
For instance, did you know that you can mix your own watercolors using powdered pigments? The author, Heather Smith Jones, shows you how.
Or did you know that all paints are labeled by the Color Index International that clues you in on if pigment or dyes are used, their color type, and their quality. It’s all described by a PBr7 (pigment+brown+quality of 7). Check out page 24 to read more about it. Neat, so that’s what that little sequence stands for.
Chapter 2 is the projects and takes up the bulk of the book. I think in many ways it could be more “Part 1, 2, 3″ vs. chapters as you may normally think of them. There are 30 projects and many of them incorporate using watercolors to make fun home decor items, like project 1, which are these great wet on wet pieces made into ornaments (or a paper garland if you string them all together).
These great projects are a fabulous way to grow your knowledge and skills in regard to watercolors. They’ll open the door to play, incorporating this very affordable medium into your projects, sketchbook, and general making practice.
My absolute favorite project is the cover project: #25 adding water color to a monoprint. I’ve just never seen it done that way and I can’t wait to give it a try.
After browsing this book and absorbing some of the lessons, I did this piece last week (wrote about that day here). I then turned around and submitted to the local Community Gallery show. I had intended on just submitting my crochet/ink piece (the one I framed last week), but submitted them both instead. They both got in! Hooray!
I hope you’ll look this great book up at your local library, book store, or Amazon, and give watercolors a try. It’s really fun and it’s a great entry level painting medium. Sure you can go all nuts, but really, you just need a cheap pan set to start with, a brush, and some paper to start having some fun.
Winter is always the season of weaving for me. With my overly large floor room, it’s the only time of year that I’m okay being tucked into my basement studio for hours shuttling back and forth. I turn on the space heater, bring down a pot of tea and put it on my candle warmer. [...]