Holiday Crafting: 1 Month to Go!

The lingering smell of firewood in the air and the ever-earlier holiday decor in storefronts can mean only one thing: the holidays are quickly approaching, and we're sticking with last year's vows to not wait until the last minute this time! To provide some inspiration from our own crafting wishlists, here are four really beautiful projects from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis that a bunch of us in the office have our hearts set on making:

Leather Journal fromCloth by Cassandra Ellis

Natural Leather Purses fromCloth by Cassandra Ellis

Wool Overnight Bag from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Linen Slippers from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Still looking for more inspiration? Check our post from last week: 5 weeks out, and our tips for decorating your Thanksgiving table. Looking for even more? How about our ideas from last year: 8 Quick and Easy Personalized Gifts to Make (and Finish!) This Weekend.

Guest Post from Wendy Bernard + Creativebug Giveaway + Holiday Crafting - 5 Weeks Out!

With T minus 5 weeks until the holidays, we're back with more gifting ideas that you can get started on now. As a special bonus, we also have author and knitter extraordinaire Wendy Bernard here with words of wisdom on knitting inspiration, info on adding new stitches to your needlearts repertoire in time to create a holiday gift, plus a giveaway from Creativebug. From Wendy: 

I think it was just about 11 years ago when top-down knitting caught my eye.

I had started knitting again after a more than 30-year hiatus when I was expecting my daughter—grandma taught me when I was young and I never really knit after that. Of course, I knit my newborn one of those hats that resembles a strawberry. It sort of seemed like the right thing to do.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been so happily knitting and writing books that feature patterns that are knit down from the top: Sweaters, hats, you name it. For some reason, the idea that you start at the top and work your way down to the hem seamlessly made sense to me. And ever since I figured out how to do it and how to make patterns this way, I have wanted to share my ideas with other knitters.

Books will always be here with us, they are so wonderful: we can hold them in our hands and mark them up with post-its. They sit on our shelves and make us happy. The Internet has added another dimension for me, though. With streaming online videos growing in popularity, it is possible for you to take online classes that aren’t live, which means you can pop in whenever you like and follow along at your own pace. Creativebug is that sort of place and I’m so excited to tell you that I have a four-week course on Creativebug where I share with you how to knit two types of sweaters, from the top down, seamlessly!

What makes me even more excited is that my latest book, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary shows you how to knit more than 150 stitch patterns not only flat, but in the round, and top-down as well. This means, as you watch my courses on Creativebug, you will be able to swap out the plain ribbing in these sweaters and insert other ribbings that strike your fancy. Same thing for the other parts of the sweaters: if you want to spruce up the otherwise plain stockinette stitch, do a little shopping in the book and insert another stitch pattern that you like even more.

Working with was so much fun. The crew even came out to my home studio and hung out with my family for a day so we could share with you a little of my background and my love for knitting and crafting. You can watch the trailers and videos for a bit of background. And speaking of crafting: Creativebug isn’t only about knitting. The classes they feature range from jewelry-making to quilting to ceramics, and even working with leather. This new online genre is a great one and I hope that you’ll check it out!

And without further ado, here are more holiday crafting ideas at five weeks out from Wendy and some of our other 2014 books:  

Slouch Cap from Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard


Pleated Mittens from Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

Breve Cowl from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Heima Slippers from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Cotton Scrap Rag Rug from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Metallic Leather Sling from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis


If the ideas above have your creative gears turning, but you're stuck on a step or technique (or maybe you want to learn something entirely new), why don't you go ahead and try out Creativebug on your own? Enter here for a chance to win a copy of Wendy's book, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch-Dictionary, 2 project patterns, and yarn courtesy of Blue Sky Aplacas. The best part? The prize package also includes a free six-month subscription to Creativebug, so you can take all of Wendy's classes, plus any other crafting courses that strike your fancy! But hurrythe contest ends in 4 days!

This Thanksgiving, perfect your table alongside your menu

When we're planning the holidays, the meal often gets the spotlight and everything else is on the backburner (literally!)

With only a few weeks until Thanksgiving, we have some crafting ideas from our 2014 releases that won't take too much of your attention away from the turkey, but will have your home looking as effortlessly festive as your main course. Take a look for some weekend inspiration:

Moveable Feast Table Runner & Napkins from Novel Living by Lisa Occhipinti

Vibrant Party Centerpiece from The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers by Livia Cetti

Wreath from The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers by Livia Cetti


Japanese Heraldry Coasters from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

Paper Towns from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

 Cuts of Meat Table Runner from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza


Novel Living is coming to a bookshelf near you

As a book publisher, naturally we are always thinking about the physicality of books: how they look, feel, and smell; how they fit into our lives (both literally and figuratively); how they can transcend physical form to shape our very reality.

In our latest release, Novel Living, Lisa Occhipinti celebrates physical books and the many ways they enrich our lives, especially in this digital era. She shares her unique ideas for collecting and displaying them, for conserving and preserving them, and for crafting with them. 

Feeling intrigued? Check out the cover. That DIY wallpaper in the photo features library pockets. Cool, right?

Here's a standard wooden ladder transformed into modern bookshelving.

 This is a Book Sling Lisa uses in her guest room and chooses the books to hang on it according to her guest's interests.

And these beautiful Page Poufs are an artistic statement composed of book pages.

Want to see more? Check out our Novel Living image gallery, the gallery for Lisa's first book The Repurposed Library, plus these "Five Genius Decor Ideas" from Novel Living that were featured in the Huffington Post last week.

'Tis the Season for Handcrafted Christmas!

If author Susan Waggoner had her way, every Christmas would be a handcrafted one...

... and now, yours can be too! If you've been spending these last few chilly evenings hearing those sleigh bells ringing and dreaming of a blanket of white snow, then prepare to sate your holiday yearnings with Handcrafted Christmas: Ornaments, Decorations, and Cookie Recipes to Make at Home! This collection of more than thirty-five warm, inviting projects and recipes inspired by the treasures and flavors of the 1920s through the 1960s are certain to make you nostalgic for Christmases past.

Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year by taking a look at the image gallery here. And start planning your own vintage-style celebrations with everything from pinecone wreaths and punched-tin votive holders to beloved cookie swap recipes like Chocolate Sour Cream Drops and Pecan Tassies. Handcrafted Christmas is in stores now.

Get Playful this season... we're sure you'll be charmed!

Up next this fall is Playful: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids, an enchanting new book from Merrilee Liddiard.

Throughout you'll find easy instructions for 26 captivating projects that are as fun to make as they are to play with—everything from masks and dollhouses to magic wands and table tents!


Check out our image gallery, enter for a chance to win a signed copy on Merrilee's blog, and don't miss this magical book trailer:

And if you're in the Provo, Utah, area, join Merrilee and her team for a book launch party next Tuesday, 9/23:


Now if you'll excuse us, we're one step away from building a tent under our desks.

Gifts for the Crafty Grad

It's that time of year again—the time when scores of hopeful grads set off for new adventures! Whether yours is gearing up for college life or setting off for that first job, here are some of our favorite books to set them up in style.

For the architecture or decorative arts major who loves interior design:


For the bookish types who wish they'd never left:


For DIY mavens looking for the next big thing:


And for any new grad who may need a little help navigating their newly found independence: 


For more great gift ideas, check out our full catalog here.


Spring Has Sprung: Handmade for the Garden Has Arrived!

Despite what the weather report says, Spring has sprung here at STC Craft with the arrival of Handmade for the Garden by Susan Guagliumi! Get your green thumbs ready to tackle over 75 projects sure to get you (and your garden!) in a spring state of mind, ranging from planters and embellished pots to trellises, mosaic walls, and more.

For those of you who have been hungrily browsing seed catalogs all winter (or those of us who are starting small with a windowbox of herbs), one quick peek at this gallery will be sure to get you ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty!


Handmade for the Garden is available today everywhere books are sold.

Jumpstart Creativity This Spring with Natalie Golderg's Living Color— Available Today!

With the days getting longer and temperatures warming up ever so slightly, we're so excited to welcome our first book of the spring season: Natalie Goldberg's Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing.

Warm, saturated hues adorn the pages of Goldberg's memoir, interspersed with essays on creativity, writing, and living with passion and purpose. Also included are 22 exercises focusing on expanding your creativity, with the hope "to jostle your mind out of the ordinary, out of logic, and maybe after a moment of shock, snap you into feeling and creating from a non-rational place, where things are interconnected on a whole different level."

Read a Chapter Excerpt. Click on the image below to enlarge the spread. 

View More. Shake off the doldrums with this inspiring guide—updated and expanded with a new chapter, new creativity exercises, and additional paintings. View more images from Living Color in our gallery

Catch Natalie on Tour! Beginning later this month, Natalie will sign books and speak at book tour stops across the country. More info on her site.

Win a Copy. Check out the book on Goodreads and enter for a chance to win a copy! 

Get Your Crafting in Gear in the New Year with a Creativebug Class Giveaway!

The new year is right around the corner and here at STC Craft we are already looking forward to the excitement that 2014 will bring. Along with personal resolutions, the thrill of opening up crisp new calendars and planners, and the promise of a fresh start, we'd like to extend an exciting offer to you and a friend.

If learning something new is on your to-do list for the new year, we'd love to help! From now until the end of the month, we're offering one lucky reader a chance to win two free 3-month subscriptions to Creativebug classes—one for you, and one for a friend.

Launched last year, Creativebug is an innovative online learning site offering creative classes on subjects ranging from embroidery to bookbinding to wire jewelry-making, with options for well-seasoned and beginner crafters alike. Their all-star roster of instructors includes STC Craft favorites Natalie Chanin, Liesl Gibson, Heather Ross, and Kelly Wilkinson as well as our own Melanie Falick.

Enter by joining our newsletter in the form below by December 31st at 11:59 p.m. EST. One winner will be chosen at random. Current newsletter subscribers are invited to enter as well (and please feel free to follow us on twitter and facebook, too!).

Enter below for your chance to win. Click here for official rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd prefer to get a jump-start on a new crafting course while you have a little down time over the holidays, Creativebug is also offering special subscription rates—up to 50% off!—available now through December 31st:

3-month subscription for $30
6-month subscription for $60
12-month subscription for $99

To find out more about this offer, and to learn more about Creativebug, visit their site and blog.

5 Handmade Gift-Packaging Ideas

Wrap bits of leftover yarn over kraft paper for a beautiful rainbow effect, from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson


It's a gloomy, stormy day in New York, the perfect kind of day to put on a pot of tea and start on that mountain of presents that still need wrapping. If you're a fan of a good handmade gift right down to the packaging, here are five unique and crafty ways to take your gift-wrapping to the next level.


Create your own wrapping paper designs in Photoshop, with instructions from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross


Knit a delicate ruffled ribbon from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick


Make your own paper boxes from Modern Paper Crafts by Margaret Van Sicklen


Whip up a few of these fabric pom poms, from Last-Minute Fabric Gifts by Cynthia Treen

6 Quick & Easy Gifts to Complete in an Evening

Kim's Hats from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

For me, the holiday season seems to follow the same trajectory every year: At first, I vow to create special handmade gifts for all of my loved ones. Then days go by, lost in the whirlwind of get-togethers and winter cheer, and suddenly I find myself a few days out and nary a project is started. If this sounds familiar to you, you're not out of luck yet. Put aside an evening, gather some craft supplies, and get ready to make one of these unique, yet quick and easy, gifts!

Big Lace Scarf from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson


Sewing Box from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti


Pieced Pillows from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson


Rice Paper Lanterns from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross


Assorted terrariums from Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow

Holiday Gift Guide: 12 Books for Crafters

From Weekend Handmade by Kelly Wilkinson

We all know one—that person who makes the perfect gifts every year without fail. This year, why don't you return the favor! Whether you want to please a Jill-of-all-trades or the hardcore artist, these books are guaranteed to delight any DIY maven on your list.

For the dabbler:

Lena Corwin's Made By Hand; The BUST DIY Guide to Life; The Gentle Art of Domesticity

For the weekend crafter:

Tiny World Terrariums; Weekend Handmade; Modern Paper Crafts

For the décor-obsessed:

Past & Present; The Repurposed Library; Crafting a Meaningful Home

For the art-inclined:

Art Doodle Love; Printing by Hand; Heather Ross Prints

8 Quick and Easy Personalized Gifts To Make (And Finish!) This Weekend

There's no better way to make someone feel special than with a unique and personalized gift. But creating a one-of-a-kind handmade offering doesn't always have to be time-consuming! This weekend, pull out your craft supplies and channel your loved ones with one of our favorite quick and easily customizable projects:

Silhouettes on Canvas from Crafting a Meaningful Home by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Stationery Suite from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

Empire-Inspired Plates by Julia Rothman for Past & Present by Amy Azzarito

Happy Birthday Pillow from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Biographical Bracelet from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti

Customized Mugs from The BUST DIY Guide to Life by Laurie Henzel & Debbie Stoller

Printed Notebooks from Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin


Made-By Patch from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

STC Craft at NY Sheep and Wool Festival

Beautiful Yarn Rainbow from Harrisville Designs. Photo courtesy of Laura Poulette.

Last Saturday, the STC Craft team spent a beautiful fall wekend in Rhinebeck at the 33rd annual New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (10/19 – 10/20). We were in good company among 40k+ attendees ranging from knitters, crocheters, and handspinners to lots of fiber-producing livestock!

We proudly hung our STC Craft banner above a wide selection of our craft and design titles on sale via the Hudson Valley-based Merritt Bookstore. The stars of the day were our fabulous authors, doing demos and signings from the morning opening to the afternoon close.

Highlights included: 

  • Steady crowds flocking to see The Yarn Whisperer, Clara Parkes, requesting autographs and providing some yarn tales of their own. 
  • A Knitted Slipper tree for displaying sample projects, made by hand just for the event by the twin sister of The Knitted Slipper Book author, Katie Startzman.

The Knitted Slipper Tree.

  • Multiple festival attendees greeting Amy Herzog and gushing about how her book has changed their whole knitting experience—we even sold out of Knit to Flatter!
  • Fans of Gretchen Hirsch (in the Shirtwaist Dress from her book!) coming to get their new copies of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing signed (and to hear about Gretchen's second book, coming soon).

Project samples from STC Craft titles on display.

With other autumnal-themed treats like fresh cider and homemade jams, live llamas and alpacas, and tons of vendors of yarn and knitting gear, the festival is a great destination for everyone, young and old, who wants to spend a happy day in the country. Plus, the fall foliage makes the trip even more worthwhile! A big thank you to our STC Craft fans old and new who stopped by the booth to meet our authors and check out our books—hopefully everyone got some great ideas for new projects!

The source.

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand Premieres Today!

We're thrilled to announce that Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is officially on sale today! From knitting, embroidery, and weaving to screen printing, tie dye, and jewelry-making, this book is a treasure trove of beautiful, inspiring projects for both the beginner and the creatively adventurous.


And, of course, Lena's lovely book trailer is not to be missed. For a big dose of creative inspiration, watch the whole thing above or take a peek at the images in our photo gallery (seriously, does it get more beautiful than that cover?). But be forewarned—once you do, you won't be able to fight the urge to go out and make something!

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is available now, wherever books are sold.

Cozy Up and Craft with a Creativebug Giveaway!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Tina R.!

We here at STC Craft are often struck by the impulse to start a new project in the wee hours of the morning, but that thrill quickly tempers with the realization that surprisingly few instructors offer classes at midnight. Enter Creativebug, an innovative online learning site launched just a few months ago. If you, like us, are the type of people who want to learn embroidery techniques right this moment but don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your cozy knitted slippers, then Creativebug’s all-star roster of instructors—STC Craft favorites Natalie Chanin, Liesl Gibson, Heather Ross, and Kelly Wilkinson among them—are at the ready with project ideas, guidance, and creative inspiration via their video workshops. Whether you’re in the market to enhance your sewing know-how by learning to make your own patterns, or have a hankering to dip your toes into something new like bookbinding or screenprinting, Creativebug offers options for well-seasoned and beginner crafters alike.

Only have a quick half hour to spend on creative pursuits? Many instructors post projects that can be completed in an afternoon or weekend, and each workshop is broken down into manageable segments, making it easy to stop part-way through. When you’re ready to sneak away for another round of creating, your workshop picks up right where you left off. Once you become a member, you have unlimited access to as many video workshops as you can consume, a steal at $25 a month (even less if you sign up for 3 or 6 months at a time). Creativebug also believes in giving back: a percentage of each monthly subscription goes to non-profit art programs across the country to provide affordable space, supplies, and education for future legions of would-be crafters.

If you’re thinking Sign me up! then good news—we have a three-month Creativebug subscription to give away to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment letting us know what new skill YOU would be excited to learn (or hone) from Creativebug’s offerings by August 20th at 1 PM EST. One winner will be chosen at random.

To find out more about Creativebug, visit their site and blog.

Click here for official rules.

Mother's Day Books & Giveaway!

 Photo by Ericka McConnell from Weekend Knitting

If you ask most moms what they want for Mother's Day, they will most likely request a day of ultimate relaxation. But if you ask moms who are crafters what they want for Mother's Day, chances are they will want something that involves both relaxation and crafting--a concept that we fully endorse!

Most of us at STC Craft come from a crafty lineage, and I'd say a healthy percentage of our authors first learned their amazing skills from their mothers. So when we started thinking about gifts to give our moms for Mother's Day, we got to wondering--if we had to pick one STC Craft book to give to our moms, which one would it be? We posed this question to several of our STC Craft authors and staff, and we loved hearing the stories about why each person thinks their mom would enjoy a particular book. But we don't want to stop there--we want to hear from you, too! Leave a comment telling us which STC Craft book you would pick for your mom and why, and if your name is picked, we'll send your mom a copy of the book you've chosen. To enter the giveaway, leave your comment before Friday, May 11 at noon EST.

Click here for full official rules.

Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow, authors of Tiny World Terrariums, say:

The BUST DIY Guide to Life! As regular sellers at the BUST Craftacular gift fairs in NYC, we're very familiar with their magazine and mission. We fully approve! And Katy's mom, being a very crafty lady with a love of DIY, would totally enjoy a book full of inspiring ideas for a day of handmade, homespun fun.


Gretchen Hirsch, author of the forthcoming Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, says:

I would definitely give my mom Denyse Schmidt's new book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. My mother is an avid (and award-winning!) quilter, and I know she would love the gorgeous inspirational photographs and designs.


Liesl Gibson, author of Oliver + S, says:

My mom is a fantastic seamstress (both machine and hand stitching), and she’s sewn for me and my four sisters all our lives. Now that she’s retired and has a little more time to sew for herself (and for fun), I think she’ll enjoy Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and all of Natalie’s wonderful projects and techniques. I hope she’ll make something for herself and will find lots of inspiration from the book. Plus, my mom and Natalie share a similar quiet, thoughtful approach to life. I think they would get along really well if they met!


Melanie Falick says:

My first thought was to choose Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin for my mom because she's already made several pieces of clothing from Natalie's other books and I think this one would inspire her to try more techniques. But this is a selfish choice since she makes these clothes for me (making me feel incredibly lucky). So, on second thought, I'm going to choose Stitch Magic by Alison Reid. Maybe Mom will be inspired to use some of the beautiful fabric manipulation techniques in that book to sew pillows or curtains or a new bedspread for her house. I think she might like the cushion covers in the Pleating chapter for her living room or the bed throw in the Folded Shapes for her bedroom. When we're both making projects, we always have something interesting to talk about. 


STC Craft marketing manager Ellie Levine and STC Craft senior editor Liana Allday both picked Weekend Handmade.

Ellie says: The first weekend that feels like spring, you'll find my mom out in the garden, weeding, planting, and plotting new ways to make the backyard beautiful. When I visit my parents, the first thing I do is take a tour of her latest updates to the landscape, and I can always count on a beautiful flower arrangement on her kitchen table. My mom would adore Kelly Wilkinson's Weekend Handmade: the chapter called "Grow" presents projects inspired by gardens, fields and farmers' markets—three of my mom's favorite things. The Pressed Flower Luminaria, Botanical Note Cards, and irresistible Handmade Labels would all be perfect DIYs for us to create together on a sunny afternoon.

Liana says: My mom is a lifelong crafter, and she is constantly wandering between decoupage, embroidery, gardening, watercolor, and anything else that catches her fancy. For those reasons, I pick Weekend Handmade. Not only is Kelly Wilkinson's California aesthetic a perfect match for my mom's sunny Californian style, but just like my mom, the book wanders around from craft to craft in the most delightful way.

Gertie at STC Craft: It's Not Your Grandma's Crafting (Or Is it?)


Hi everyone, I'm back! I got a little bogged down in other work for awhile (including finishing my book!) but I'm back to posting here on a regular basis (I don't want to make any promises that I can't keep so I'll keep it a little vague). I thought I'd jump back in with a discussion of the generational aspects of crafting. I know there are strong opinions on this matter, so I hope we can have a spirited conversation here!

It’s not news that there’s been a resurgence of young women getting involved in crafting for the last decade or so. (I just turned 33 so I feel like I'm smack dab in the middle of the whole thing) Hip knitting books, tattoo-style embroidery kits, and sewing patterns by Project Runway stars all speak to a new generation of DIYer. My personal blog has resonated with lots of twenty-something women, and if I can get them to start sewing, then I’m happy. But one thing bothers me about the young crafting movement: namely, the “it’s not your grandma’s sewing/knitting/embroidering!” mentality and marketing strategy. Because, well, it is your grandmother’s sewing, knitting, or embroidering. (And because I work with vintage sewing patterns and books, this is quite literal to me.)

Whether you’re knitting tea cozies or a skull motif sweater, you’re using the skills that have been passed down among generations of women. Crafting may have gotten a hip makeover, but there’s nothing new when it comes to hand crafting technique—and we have our grandmothers to thank for sharing these skills. Also, we have a responsibility to pass them on to the next generation ourselves. (I’m sure our granddaughters will think skull sweaters are so 30 years ago!)

But perhaps this distancing of the older generation is what it takes to get the young folk interested in crafting. I’ll readily admit to sometimes being drawn to hipster embroidery transfers and other products marketed to the under-35 demographic. But there must be a way to draw in that demographic without alienating our grandmother’s generation.  My Grandmother’s Knitting by Larissa Brown is a great example of this concept at work: it’s a collection of stories about the tradition of knitting in families, paired with patterns that appeal to the modern knitter.

Since we’re coming up to Mother’s Day, now seems like an appropriate time for this discussion. What do you think of this issue? Do slogans like “it’s not your grandmother’s knitting!” bother you? Or do you think it’s a necessary step forward for the craft movement? Please share!