As the farm and garden wind down for the year, you may find yourself with a little extra time on your hands—”may” being the operative word there. (Sometimes it seems like farm life never slows down!) If you do manage to set aside a little time for yourself, we’ve rounded up five books perfect for fall and winter crafting that will hone your quilting skills, help you pass on your sewing knowledge to the next generation, and even take care of some of the people on your holiday shopping list this winter.
1. ABC Crochet
Spotlighting Japanese amigurumi characters—cute crocheted animals with big heads and little bodies—ABC Crochet takes you through the animal alphabet, teaching readers how to create 26 different amigurumi animals with step-by-step instructions for each. Get a dose of Japanese culture with projects for both experienced and novice knitters alike; come for the cute craft photos, but stay for the detailed, helpful instructions and usable crochet patterns.
ABC Crochet, Mitsuki Hoshi, Harper Design, 2014, $17.99
2. Bandana-rama—Wrap, Glue, Sew
Help kids bring the classic farm bandana into the 21st century with Bandana-rama, a 21-project collection of bandana-themed crafts. Featuring crafts ranging from headbands and hoodies to pillows and scarves, this book is perfect for novice seamstresses looking to broaden their crafting horizons; plus, because the crafts all revolve around bandanas, they’re relatively inexpensive and endlessly customizable in color. Most projects can either be hand-sewn or machine-stitched.
Bandana-rama—Wrap, Glue, Sew, Judith Cressy, FunStitch Studio, 2014, $21.95
3. Color Play, Second Edition
If you’re interested in color theory and how to best harness color in your quilts, look no further than Color Play. Now in its second edition, the book explores the 24 colors in the color wheel, giving you suggestions for pairing each with its monochromatic shades and tints, its complementary colors, and its analogous color blends in a variety of patterns and creations. The book is billed as “the essential guide to the art of color,” and it’s not lying—it’s a must for any quilter’s library.
Color Play, Second Edition, Joen Wolfrom, C&T Publishing, 2014, $29.95
4. How to Make a Quilt
If you’ve ever lamented the fact that your mother or grandmother never taught you to quilt, the latest entry in Storey Publishing’s Storey Basics series is for you. How to Make a Quilt is the perfect pocket guide to the art of quilting, comprehensively taking novice sewers through stitching the perfect seam, sewing and connecting patchwork blocks, and eventually binding and labeling your finished product. It might not be as good as learning from Mom, but it’s definitely the next best thing.
How to Make a Quilt Barbara Weiland Talbert, Storey Publishing, 2014, $9.95
5. Modern Prairie Sewing
Focusing on bags, clothing and home décor, Modern Prairie Sewing offers an assortment of projects for beginning sewers. Each craft is nicely broken down into step-by-step illustrations with elegant full-color photographs showing each finished piece on a model. If you have a niece who is interested in sewing, this book would make a great holiday gift—the bag section is especially worthwhile.
Modern Prairie Sewing, Abigail A. Long, Stash Books, 2014 $24.95
The Final Word:
If you’re looking for cooler-weather craft projects, there’s something for everyone in the five books above. Get sewing!