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New Quilt Books

by Beth on August 10th, 2013
New Quilt Books Cover Image

One of the most frustrating things for me about quilting is trying to envision a quilt pattern in colors other than the ones pictured in the pattern.   “Alternative colorways” are sometimes provided in magazines, but usually there’s just one alternative.

In Triple-Play Scrap Quilting, Nancy Allen includes instructions for three different versions of each of her nine scrap quilts.   The “planned” version uses multiple fabrics in 3 or 4 colors;  the “coordinated” version uses coordinated fabrics from a single fabric line; and a “make-do” style that is truly scrappy and uses only fabrics she already has in her stash.  Simple, easy to follow instructions with well drawn diagrams makes this a good choice for scrappy or not-so-scrappy quilt ideas.


‘Tis the Autumn Season – Fall Quilts and Decorating Projects, the new book by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks combines traditional quilting with chunky applique to create 12 fun fall projecets projects.  Traditional patterns are combined with a variety of applique methods to make lap quilts, table toppers, wall hangings  or pillows.  Applique templates and advice are included, and if you look carefully you’ll find recipes for three fall treats as well.


Seamingly Scrappy, by Rebecca Silbaugh is the best of both worlds: simple scrappy quilts made from precut fabrics.  By using precut packs, Silbuagh has taken all the stress out of fabric selection that usually comes with making a scrappy quilt.   Precut packs come in various sizes and are made up of fabrics from a single line, so they automatically go together.  The most common sizes are rolls of 2.5″ strips by the width of the fabric (which is about 42″) called Jelly Rolls;  5″ x 5″ Charm Squares or Charm Packs; 10″ x 10″ Layer Cakes; and 18″x22″ Fat Quarters.  Each project begins with a full page color photo of the project,  a materials list and easy to follow cutting instructions.  The patterns are basic, but that’s what makes this book so fun.  You can turn out a complicated looking scrappy quilt in no time!

In the early 1980′s a quilt pattern company was born on a small farm near Garner, Iowa.  The brainchild of quilters Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene, Country Threads, Inc., is now one of the most well known and loved pattern and book lines in the US, and Mary’s farm, home of their retail store and quilt retreat center, is one of the most popular quilting stops in Northern Iowa. With over 800 patterns and more than 20 books published to date, any new Country Threads book is eagerly awaited by quilters far and wide.

The Blue and the Gray – Quilt Patterns using Civil War Fabrics has just arrived at ICPL.  These 18 quilts were originally designed for Country Threads’ Civil War Quilt Club, and focus on traditional Civil War era styles, colors, and simple piecing methods.  Beautiful full page photographs and easy to follow cutting and piecing instructions are included for each project.

Crafting for ICPL

by Beth on July 23rd, 2013
Crafting for ICPL Cover Image

Last December ICPL had it’s first fundraising crafts bazaar, and to say it was a great success would be an understatement.  So many wonderful hand made arts and crafts were donated, and people had such great things to say about the bazaar and how much fun they had crafting for ICPL that we’re doing it again!

Details will be out soon, but until then, here are some great new craft books to light your creative fire.

Tie-Dye: dye it, wear it, share it by Shabd Simon-Alexander.  Tie-dying fabric or clothing can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.  One thing it’s guaranteed to be is FUN!

Tie-Dye leads you step by step through the entire process, from the tools you’ll need, to the types of dyes and additives you’ll want to experiment with.  A single dye can look completely different on different types of fabric, so quite a bit is devoted to choosing the right fabric and dye to get the results you want.  Twenty two different projects are included, as are a trouble shooting section, cheat sheets and an index.


In the 70′s girl scouts did it with jute and called macrame.  Today Paracord Crafts are all the rage.

You can make a lot more than just plant hangers using nylon parachute rope called “paracord.”  From key fobs and dog collars to jewelry and fashion accessories, if you can tie a knot you can create with paracord.

Parachute Cord Craft  and Paracord Fusion Ties are two new books at ICPL that can get you going.   Parachute Cord Craft is a beginners book, with great simple projects using basic simple knots.   Paracord Fusion Ties takes it to a whole other level, with advanced ties and projects.



Crochet a Zoo by Megan Kreiner.  Elephants and pandas, zebras and giraffes – you’ll find them all in Crochet a Zoo. Instructions for 14 zoo animals and a zookeper follow 12 pages of basic how-to-crochet instructions with well drawn illustrations that seem simple to follow.  Knowing a bit about yarn weights and how to read crochet patterns might make this even easier to follow, but none of the projects seem very complicated.   The instructions include finishing touches for each critter.


Bewitching Bead & Wire Jewelry.   Are you a habitual paperclip bender? Do you enjoy playing with wire?  If so you should check out this new book edited by Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott for Lark Jewelry & Beading.  She has put together a collection of forty wonderful projects by 27 different designers.  Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants and even a ring!  A seventeen page guide to the supplies and skills you’ll need to learn starts this well written book.  Full color photographs and illustrations are provided for each project.  The publishers deserve praise for the layout of this book.  A photo table of contents shows you in one glace all the projects and their location – a rarity in crafting books. An index to all the designers, with their websites and email is included.


101 Fabulous Small Quilts

by Beth on April 30th, 2013
101 Fabulous Small Quilts Cover Image

I love quilting.  From choosing the pattern and all the fabrics, to cutting the pieces and creating the quilt itself, I love each step.   Unfortunately, for me quilting is usually a cool-season activity.   I just can’t seem to get enthusiastic about dealing with 5 or 6 yards of fabric when the weather is hot.  But I’ve found a way around that! Small quilts!  From 48″ square to 12×18″ or any size in between.  They are just as much fun to make as a full size quilt, with only a fraction of the fabric to deal with.   Now I can give in and make that Red and White quilt I’ve always wanted to make, but have avoided because there would have been too much red in a full-sized quilt!

101 Fabulous Small Quilts from That Patchwork Place is a great collection of quilts.  There is a wide range of beautiful designs, with full color photos and easy to follow instructions.   But there are some important things missing in the book itself.

The introduction and back cover mention quilt designers by name, yet there is no name index.  There is a table of contents, but it contains only the names of the quilts, and not even in alphabetical order.  The arrangement of the book, if there is one, I just can’t grasp.  Logical groupings such as stars, strips or applique would have been very helpful, or at the very least a thumbnail next to the title in the table of contents.

As it is, the only way to find something in this book if you don’t know the name of the quilt is to flip page by page through it.  Which I’m sure is something most quilters will love doing, as this really is a book of eye candy for quilters.  As a Librarian who also quilts, I find it frustrating that a book with such potential fell so short.

That’s not to say I won’t be buying myself a copy.  It’s too beautiful a book not to.

Calling all artists and crafters

by Beth on October 20th, 2012
Calling all artists and crafters Cover Image

Do you enjoy making arts and crafts?

Do you knit, sew, work with paper, clay, wood or glass?

Would you be willing to donate some of your handmade creations to support the Iowa City Public Library?

Then we have an opportunity for you!

ICPL’s first annual Fundraising Arts & Crafts Bazaar will be held on December 8, and we’re looking for a variety of donated arts and crafts to sell.  Just about anything is welcome and can be donated for this sale.  More details can be found at the bottom of this post.

And to get you in the mood to craft, here are some of the new crafting books available at ICPL:

A Bounty of Bead & Wire Bracelets by Nathalie Mornu.  Nathalie Mornu has collected 50 wonderful bracelet designs  from 37 leading jewelry artists.  She begins with a well written and easy to follow 10 page section called “Basics” that explains bead sizes, wire gauges, findings, chains,  tools and various techniques used to create the pieces in the book.  Each of the projects is identified by name and artist.  Each has a full-color close up photograph, a materials and tools needed list, and easy to follow step by step instructions. Some projects include notes and suggestions from the designer as well.  The projects run from basic to advanced, from fast to time consuming.  Each piece is a beautiful work of art that you can make for yourself.

Mod Podge Rocks!: decoupage your world, by Amy Anderson. Amy Anderson, creator and moderator of the popular blog by the same name ( has collected 40 fun projects that run the gamut of decoupage craft – from wearable art to home decore and holiday gifts. Starting with a multi-page introduction to the various formulas of Mod Podge and their many uses, Anderson takes you step by step though each project. A simple supply list and lots of full color photos are provided.

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!  Making stylish shrink plastic jewelry, by Kathy Sheldon. If you’re a child of the 70’s you may have fond memories of the Shrinky-Dink ™ craze. Well it’s back with a new twist. Sheldon’s book starts with a great 10-page introduction to the fun of working with the different types of shrink plastics available and the types of artists media used with each. Step by step instructions for more than 30 projects follow, with great color photographs, and 14 pages of templates.

T Shirt Quilts Made Easy, by Martha Deleonardis.  T shirt quilts are a fun way to hold on to memories.  They mean a lot to the person who owned the shirts, but can be rather boring to others.  Deleonardis’ new book takes tshirt quilts up a notch or two.  Using bright colors and wild patterns, she adds pieced sashing and borders to create some amazing quilts that just happen to include tshirt squares.  beginning with ten pages of hints on working with tshirts is followed by eleven separate projects and a gallery of tshirt quilts made by others.  The bold color photgraphs, well written and easy to follow instructions make this a must have if you’re a tshirt collector.

Bazaar Details:

Arts and crafts items donated for the bazaar can be dropped off at the Library from Nov. 26 to Dec. 6.  The public is invited to attend the sale, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.  The sale will last until it’s all gone or 4 p.m., whichever comes first.  Proceeds will benefit the Library’s Friends Foundation. For more information on the Arts & Crafts Bazaar click here.

New Quilting books

by Beth on September 20th, 2012
New Quilting books Cover Image

Personally, giving quilts as gifts is a much fun as making them.  There is a lot to choose from if you’re looking for quilts for babies or young children, but finding ideas for quilts that would appeal to tweens or teens can be a challenge.  They love the bright colors, but don’t want “babyish” quilts.  Two new titles in our collection have some great ideas!

Let’s Pretend: Whimsical Quilts for Kids by Cynthia Tomaszewski, published by That Patchwork Place.  Combining applique with traditional piecing, Tomaszewski has created seven wonderfully bright and cheery quilts for older children or pre-tweens.  A ten page introduction to bot quilting and hand applique is followed by well written and easy-to-follow instructions for each project.  With bright illustrations, full size templates and full page color photographs of each project make each of these quilts look as much fun to make as to give.


Cherished Quilts for Babies and Kids – From Baby & Kid Projects to High School Graduation Gifts, from the editors at American Patchwork & Quilting.  This huge, spiral bound collection of 30 fun and colorful projects is sure to contain something for everyone!  It is divided into three sections: babies, kids, and teens. Easy to follow cutting guide and step by step piecing directions are enhanced with clear illustrations and photos.  There are a few non-quilt projects mixed in to each section as well.  Note though that this book assumes some experience with both machine and needle-turn applique, although at the back of the book there are simple instructions for how to do both, as well as how to bind your finished project.



by Beth on January 10th, 2012
Microcrafts Cover Image

What’s better than a new book full of craft projects?  How about a new book full of itty bitty craft projects!

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hats and Friends contains more than 25 miniature craft projects to die for.

This is the perfect craft book for anyone who saves the bits and pieces left over from other projects, or who collects found objects that might be useful some day.  Tiny pieces of felt, shells, bottle caps or scraps of fancy papers become tiny stuffed animals,  miniature books, or little bitty bumble bees to hide in a houseplant.

Step by step instructions, great illustrations, and color photographs will take you through each project, and patterns are included where needed.  Don’t skip the last three sections of the book: “Supplies and Techniques”, “Ideas for Modifying Microcrafts” and “About the Authors” – each will give you lots more inspirations.

The next time you get the urge to craft, but don’t want to take on a big project check out Microcrafts and have a little fun.


what’s new at 746.46 ?

by Beth on October 17th, 2011
what’s new at 746.46 ? Cover Image

If you’re a regular library user, you probably have a favorite area of the Library. A call number or area you go to on a regular basis, or scope out on the new book shelf to see if there’s anything new.  For me it’s the number 746.46 – Quilting books.  There are quite a few new quilting books on the shelves these days! Here are a few to whet your appetite.

Stash Happy Patchwork by Cynthia Shaffer
Want to sew, but not in the mood to take on a big quilt?  How about Cupcake Flags, a clothespin caddy, a cactus pincushion, a Bento box, or a candle cozy?  Stash Happy Patchwork has 25 fun, simple, patchy projects, for any time you’re in the mood to sew.

The Practical Guide to Patchwork: new basics for the modern quiltmaker by Elizabeth Hartman.  Do you like the idea of making a quilt, but aren’t really into the traditional quilt designs?  Have a thing for bright modern fabrics?  Then this book is for you!  Hartman will lead you step by step through constructing a quilt, and the 12 projects included give a fresh color and design pallet to your project.  No old school browns and tans here.

Simplify with Camille Roskelley
Pre-cut fabric packs can take much of the guess work out of selecting fabrics for a project.  Fabric is produced in lines of up to 40 different coordinated prints and colors versions, and a pre-cut pack will have a piece of each fabric in a line, cut to a specific size. Fat Quarters (18″x 22″), Layer Cakes (10” squares), Charm Packs (5” squares), Jelly Rolls (strips 2.5” wide by the width of the fabric) Honey Buns (strips 1.5” wide by WOF), and Turnovers ( two 6” half square triangles per design).  Roskelley has designed 14 projects using pre-cut fabric packs. Introductory chapters on the basics of making a quilt are well written and easy to follow and the appendix includes the few patterns needed to complete each of the projects.

Little Bits Quilting Bee: 20 quilts using Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Fat Quarters by Katheren Ricketson is another book full of projects for pre-cut fabrics.  Ricketson is also a fan of community quilting. The modern version of the traditional quilting bee, today they are just as likely to be and online community or a blog as they are to be a real life meeting of friends,  and  Ricketson devotes her first chapter to a discussion of this fun social aspect of quilting.   A chapter each devoted to tools, supplies and quilt basics and then you’ll find 20 bright and colorful projects to choose from.

Pennies from Heaven by Gretchen Gibbons
If working with wool is your thing, this one’s for you. Well written and easy to follow, this book is based on Gibbons’ 12 block wool applique quilt “Pennies from Heaven.”  Each of the blocks are beautiful, and could be used on their own as a penny rug or wall hanging. There are also 8 additional patterns for penny rugs, table mats and table runners.


Not your everyday craft books!

by Beth on August 5th, 2011
Not your everyday craft books! Cover Image

Summer time.  When the humidity hits 75% and the heat advisories start popping up, I start looking for things to do inside. And what better way to while away the hours by the fan or AC then by breaking out the craft supplies!  So I wandered through the library’s craft section (upstairs at 745)  and came up with a handful of odd-ball craft books with lots of neat thing to try.

Want to make yourself a duct tape kitchen apron, a wallet, or a cell phone case?   Brake out a few rolls of duct tape and take a look at  Ductigami : the art of the tape by Joe Wilson.

Are you a fan of monsters, or do you know someone who is?   Check out Me Make Monster! A mish mash of monster craft by Jenny Harada.  Make all sorts of monsters – little or big.  Each project has a list of supplies and tools needed followed by simple, well written instructions and lots of color photographs to help you make your very own monsters.



Now if crafting to you means Christmas or Holiday decorations, try Fa la la la Felt: 45  handmade Holiday Decorations by Amanda Carestio.  A very bright and colorful felt crafting book with 45 simple holiday projects.  Nice photos of the finished projects, but not of the steps, although most are so simple they don’t really need photographs.  Starting with an introduction that talks about different types of felt, making your own felt by recycling old wool sweaters, and a section on basic embroidery stitches, and templates  for all the projects this could get you in the holiday spirit months early!

Subversive Cross Stitch by Julie Jackson contains “33 designs for your surly side” and instructions on how to turn your own favorite snide comments or phrases in the cute little bits of non-work-friendly art for you or someone special. 



Just in the mood to craft, but have nothing in mind?  Go for AlternaCrafts by Jessica Vitkus.  This book has a lot of neat ideas.  Broken down into three  sections: Projects to Wear, Projects for your Home, and Projects to Give, this book contains a wide range of projects including stamping with raw vegetables, tying a macrame bracelet, up-cycling clothing, making sachets, or making bouquets of paper flowers.

Consider yourself an advanced crafter?  Making Stuff: an alternative craft book edited by Ziggy Hanaor might be more your speed.  Starting with an instructional section to learn how to knit, felt, applique, sew and crochet, then sections on crafting clothing, jewelery, plus three more sections of oddball crafts, this book is lots of fun, but more for the experienced crafter or knitter.  And just a note – this book was published in England, so sometimes some of the English is confusing.  (I think Fairy Lights are just white Christmas Lights)

Now of all the craft books I looked at, there was one I just have to buy for myself, and it’s huge.   The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano has over 150 craft projects – little to big / simple to complex.  Things that made me burst out laughing or stare at in disbelief.  Things I never would have thought of on my own, but that he breaks down so simply I can’t wait to try them. Beware of this book.  You’ll want to buy it too.

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