Two Projects for Easy Spring Maintenance

Spring may be the "time of plans and projects" but these slightly milder days demand more time in the sun when we can find it! Today’s crop of craft titles yields a pair of easy ways to keep two things in good working order: your wooden spoons and your relationships. Who can do without those?

Max Bainbridge graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design before setting up Forest + Found with his partner, quilter Abigail Booth. Based out of a workshop in his East London garden, Max works with sustainably sourced and reclaimed wood to hand carve and turn bespoke kitchen and homeware.

Max’s book, Heirloom Wood, is a beautifully photographed and clearly written guide to sourcing your own wood, setting up a basic toolbox, and then creating your own hand-carved bowls, cutting boards, spoons, spatulas, and more. He uses his own recipe for beeswax salve on every piece, to bring out the “natural color and patina of the grain.”

We recommend it even if you haven’t carved a thing—woodenware treated this way is not only protected against moisture, it stays usable, washable, and completely food-safe.

Learn to carve this birch eating spoon in Heirloom Wood.

Learn to carve this birch eating spoon in Heirloom Wood.

Beeswax Salve

Excerpted from Heirloom Wood

This recipe will give you a large mason jar of salve, which should last you a good amount of time.

Tools and materials:

1 quart (1 liter) pure mineral oil

18 ounces (500g) pure beeswax pellets

large saucepan

heat source

mason jar

kitchen towel

1. Sterilize the mason jar using boiling water, or put it through a dishwasher cycle. Start by measuring out 18 ounces (500g) of beeswax pellets and 1 quart (1 liter) of mineral oil. The basic ratio is two parts mineral oil to one part beeswax. 

2. Pour the oil into a large saucepan and set the heat to its lowest setting. Add the beeswax and heat gently until the pellets start to dissolve. Stir very gently to ensure the two ingredients have combined thoroughly. As soon as the mixture is clear, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Let the beeswax and oil cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then pour the mixture into the mason jar. Be careful in case the liquid is still hot.

4. Set aside and leave the lid open. Place a kitchen towel over the jar to ensure nothing drops in. Allow the salve to cure overnight and, once it is completely cool, it will set and turn cloudy. It is then ready to use.

5. Use a lid with a rubber gasket to seal the jar, and store in a cool, dark place.

Salve from Heirloom Wood

A long way away across the equator, Australian-Lithuanian photographer and designer Ebony Bizys had worked at Vogue magazines for 11 years before realizing, in 2010, that she felt most alive on her vacations to Japan, and making the move permanent.

Ebony Bizys

Since moving to Tokyo, Ebony has art directed books, hosted solo exhibitions, designed a Japanese fashion website, been commissioned by Vogue Japan to make artworks for their publication, collaborated with Japanese masking tape brand mt, and on a fashion line with Romance was Born, styled for various magazines, trend reported for various companies and written for magazines including Vogue, British Airways, Inside Out, Real Living and Frankie. She chronicles her daily life in Tokyo at her blog Hello Sandwich.

Ebony describes the book Hello Tokyo as “a hard copy of the blog, with stories about living in Tokyo, projects to create a cute Tokyo-inspired lifestyle, and pages on collaborations and past projects.” We love her tips on picnics and party decorations, but most importantly, the entire chapter on correspondence!

Ebony recommends making your own envelopes as “a fun and simple way to set the mood for when the recipient opens their mailbox to find this handmade surprise. Plus, you’ll never have to spend money on envelopes again!”

 

Envelopes from Hello Tokyo

 

7 Ideas for Handmade Envelopes

Excerpted from Hello Tokyo

Fabric-covered envelopes

Idea 1: Fabric-covered envelopes 

Cover paper with pretty fabric before folding to make an unexpected envelope. Use spray adhesive to stick fabric to the envelope base, then use craft bond glue to hold the flaps in place. Line the envelope with tracing paper or patterned waxed paper.

Mini envelopes

Idea 2: Mini envelopes 

These come in handy when you need to give someone something teeny, such as money or tickets. It’s also a great way to use up small pieces of cute paper. Adding a mock stamp is a fun way to play with scale, don’t you think?

Window envelopes

Idea 3: Window envelopes 

Here’s an envelope that lets you sneak a peek: Cut out a window shape with scissors or a craft knife. I also like to use a Martha Stewart Crafts All Over The Page Punch. Apply transparent paper to the back of the window using glue tape around the edges.

IMG_4746_RET.jpg

Idea 4: Envelope templates 

I like to keep a stash of envelope templates on hand; however, if you don’t have an envelope template, you can easily make one from an existing envelope. Gently open up the glued edges, being careful not to damage the paper. Et voilà, your very own envelope template! Trace this opened-out envelope onto card stock to create a template built to last the crafter’s mile!

Hand-painted envelopes

Idea 5: Hand-painted envelopes 

Have you ever finished painting and been left with excess paint on your palette? If I find myself in this situation I like to paint pieces of paper in simple patterns, such as stripes, dots, or freestyle designs, to create decorative paper that can be used later for various craft purposes, such as original handmade envelopes.

Eyelet circle-closure envelopes

Idea 6: Eyelet circle-closure envelopes 

Use an eyelet punch and a circle of cardboard to create a unique closure for your envelope.

Transparent envelopes

Idea 7: Transparent envelopes 

Experiment with various transparent papers such as kitchen waxed paper, tracing paper, tissue paper, and translucent contact paper (with the sticky sides sealed together). If the paper is slightly creased, I like to scrunch it and smooth it out two or three times to enhance the textured effect. Use POSCA pens or other markers to add color. Some waxed papers can be pesky with glue, so craft bond glue might be your best bet. Colorful washi tape along the joins can add security and a nice design effect.

Both Hello Tokyo and Heirloom Wood are on shelves today! Take a peek at the books below.

We're Headed to Sheep & Wool!

Join ABRAMS in Rhinebeck, NY for the annual New York State Sheep & Wool Festival.

We'll be joined by 3 of our talented authors this weekend:

Amy Herzog

In-booth signing: (Building B) Saturday 1 - 2 PM and Sunday 11 - 12 PM


Wendy Bernard

In-booth signing: (Building B) all day Saturday and Sunday.


Norah Gaughan

In-booth signing: (Building B) Saturday 10 - 12:30 PM and 1:30 - 4:30 PM; Sunday 10 to 12:30 PM and 1:30 - 4:30 PM

We hope to see you there!

Get Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook Signed at The Sheep & Wool Festival

Named one of “Vogue Knitting’s” Master Knitters of the 1990s, Norah Gaughan shares over 150 new and innovative cable stitch patterns in her newest book, Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. This guide for the modern knitter will help knitters design their own cable knits, and mix and match cables into unique patterns. 

Norah Gaughan has served as design director for Berroco Yarns and JCA Yarns, designed for Adrienne Vittadini, and published patterns in all the leading knitting and textile magazines. She is the author of Knitting NatureComfort Knitting & Crochet: Afghans, and Comfort Knitting & Crochet: Babies & Toddlers.

This weekend, get your copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook signed at The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival.

  • Saturday, Oct 15: Building B: 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, Oct 16: Building B: 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Celebrate Fiber Arts this Fall

With summer coming to a close, we’re ready to break out our favorite yarns with our newest fall titles:

You Can Knit That

Making your own sweaters doesn’t have to be intimidating. When knitting superstar Amy Herzog gets complimented on her hand-knit sweaters, the compliments are often followed by “but I could never knit that.” Now, you can!

Amy Herzog’s signature patterns are back in her newest book, You Can Knit That. Her newest book provides clear instructions for beginners and experts looking to expand their skills in sweater making. 

This essential guide starts with basic sweater know-how and moves into instructions for knitting six must-have sweater styles—vests, all-in-one construction, drop shoulders, raglans, yokes, and set-in sleeves.

You can catch more of Amy’s easy-to-follow instructions in her first two books, Knit to Flatter and Knit Wear Love or learn from her in person at her fall events: 

September 22-25: Fall Sweater Retreat in Mid-Coast Maine

November 11-14, 2016: November Strung Along Retreat in Port Ludlow, OR.

 

Try your hand at one of the projects from the book! Get a free pattern for the Easygoing Sweatshirt Mini (above) here

Crochet Therapy

Betsan Corkhill is a pioneer in therapeutic knitting and crochet. Her new book, Crochet Therapy will inspire you to unwind with over 20 simple and soothing patterns. Mindfulness exercises accompany the patterns and complement the therapeutic effect of crocheting for achieving calm, stress relief, and becoming “effortlessly present” in your craft.

Crochet is a perfect portable means of stress management, easy to do on your commute or lunch break. Clinically trained in physiotherapy, Corkhill’s book is the perfect guide to relaxation with fiber arts.

We've included a fun (and free!) pattern from the book on the ABRAMS Books blog. Even better, you can team up with your crochet friends to create it. Get together to make the individual flowers then knot them together as a symbol of your friendship. It would make a unique gift from all of you to someone special. Get the pattern here

You can learn more about more information about crocheting for health and wellness, at her nonprofit support-network, Stitchlinks.

 

Enjoy!

-Abrams Craft Team

Wendy Bernard is Back with The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary

Expert fiber artist Wendy Bernard (Knit & Tonic) has been hard at work refining patterns since the release of her groundbreaking reference title Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary in 2014. Available this week, The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary presents 150 new patterns for knitting top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round.

Picking up where the first volume left off, Bernard adds hundreds of new stitch patterns organized similarly by type—knit and purl, textured stitches, ribs, lace, and cables—plus a chapter on mosaic knitting. Each chapter of The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary includes a customizable pattern so that knitters can easily swap out stitch patterns to make their own unique knitted items.

When I get a chance to talk to people about writing these books, they almost always mention how tough it must be to “crack” each of the stitch patterns. Yup. It is hard. The thing is, I do like knitting in the round and top-down, so while designing new knitting patterns it occurred to me that books like these would be helpful to other knitters who, even though many have the skills to convert them on their own, would like a handy reference at their fingertips that does all the work for them.
— Wendy Bernard, from www.knitandtonic.com

Kicking off tomorrow, please join us and our fabulous collaborators for a blog tour, complete with a chance to win a copy of the book, plus hanks from our friends over at Blue Sky Alpacas:

Can't wait to get started? Get a bonus sneak peek project from the book (the Top-Down Double Triangle Shawl) on the Abrams blog here.

We're Celebrating National Puppy Day with Our Newest Release, DIY For Your Dog

Today is National Puppy Day!

While your dog may technically not be a puppy anymore, as all dog lovers know, our furry friends will always be puppies to us. To help us celebrate this special day, we are turning to the pages of our latest book, DIY for Your Dog, which features 30 lovingly handcrafted projects that will show you how to make, bake, and sew delightful treats for your dog.  

Suitable for all breeds, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, these sweet and easy projects are presented in four sections—“Eat,” “Nest,” “Play,” and “Wear”—and include everything from a cozy traveling dog bed, a knitted blanket, and a throw-and-catch bone to an adorable neckerchief, a colorful crocheted leash cover, and a made-to-measure coat for gray days. There are even recipes for wholesome and easy-to-make treats like Doggie Pops, Bite-Size Biscuits, and the ultimate Doggie Birthday Cake. Fun, practical, and irresistibly cute, DIY for Your Dog will inspire you to channel your love for your puppy into a handmade gift from the heart.

For a peek at the projects in the book click through the images below or check out the book on our site.

Whether you’re hand-making a gift, purchasing a treat, or giving your dog a warm hug, make sure your puppies know that today is their day.

Gretchen Hirsch dazzles us again with Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book

Lately, we've been dreaming of shedding our winter coats in favor of breezy spring dresses and flowy cottons. While we wait for March's lamb-like side to show up, we're eyeing the stunning dress patterns featured in Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch's latest book. Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book: A Modern Guide to Sewing Fabulous Vintage Styles is officially on sale today, featuring essential techniques for dressmaking, plus instructions and patterns for 23 dresses for a variety of occasions.

Elements from each pattern can be mixed and matched, allowing readers to customize the bodice, skirt, sleeves, pockets, and details of each dress for a truly unique, flattering, vintage-inspired creation.

The follow-up to the popular Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, the latest from Gretchen Hirsch's collection is packed with all the information and patterns you could ever need to create a wardrobe filled with stunning vintage frocks.

That's not all: we're kicking off a blog tour today, and each stop will feature a chance to win a copy of the book and a bundle of Gertie-designed fabric from her exclusive line for JoAnn from Fabric Traditions.

Follow along, comment, and show us your own Gertie-inspired creations!

March 8 Brewer Sewing
March 9 Madalynne.com
March 14 By Gum By Golly
March 16 A Dress A Day
March 18 Lish Dorset

You can also head over to Gretchen's blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, for a special publication day post and chance to win.

In case you missed it: we are also excited about this amazing Pinterest contest going on right now. The grand prize winner will receive $586 worth of patterns, fabric, a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores gift card, and a signed book! Click the image below for more information.

 

Happy Sewing!

Knitlandia is here! Read a sample chapter today.

Today's the day! We're excited to present the latest memoir from the esteemed Clara ParkesKnitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, available now! For a sneak peek from the book, read sample chapter "From Baseball to Broadway: Swatching in the Big Apple" here

In addition to her physical book tour that we posted about last week (first stop: launch party in Somerville, Mass tonight, next stop-- NYC tomorrow!), Clara also has a blog tour lined up later this month. Hope you will join us on our blog tour, below: 

Feb 22           Knit and Tonic 

Feb 24           My Sister’s Knitter 

Feb 26           Mary Jane Muckelstone 

Feb 29           Knit Circus

March 2          Yarniacs 

March 4          Leethal 

March 7          Tin Can Knits

March 17         Marly Bird

Clara Parkes is knitting her way to a city near you on the Knitlandia tour!

Beloved knitter and author Clara Parkes has been charming readers across the globe with her heartwarming, hilarious, and humble tales of a life in knitting. In her latest memoir, Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, Parkes weaves her personal blend of wisdom and humor into this eloquently down-to-earth guide that is part personal travel narrative and part cultural history, touching the heart of what it means to live creatively.

Building on the success of The Yarn Whisperer, Parkes’s rich personal essays invite readers and devoted crafters on excursions to be savored, from a guide who quickly comes to feel like a trusted confidante. Join Clara as she takes you along on 17 of her most memorable journeys across the globe over the last 15 years, with stories spanning from the fjords of Iceland to a cozy yarn shop in Paris’s 13th arrondissement.

...And now you can join her in real time as she celebrates the release of Knitlandia on 2/16—coming to a city near you starting next week!

As an added bonus, if you purchase a book at any of the tour stops, you'll get a free (and very cute, in our humble opinion) gift with purchase! Plus, you'll be supporting local indie booksellers—a win for everyone!

Can't make it to the tour? You can still follow along online with Clara's blog tour! We'll post an updated tour schedule later this month, with "tour stops" beginning 2/22. Check back for more info!

 

Spring is Here Over at Abrams!

Well... not quite, but even with some snow in the forecast, we're looking forward to sharing our exciting list of spring books with you!

We've been working hard to bring you a fresh crop of the beautiful and inspiring books that have long been a part of our fiber as an imprint of Abrams.

Below is a sneak peak of the books debuting in the coming season. Click through each cover to read more on our website, and stay tuned for exciting updates here— catch our authors as they visit a city near you, follow along on blog tours, and stay tuned for sneak peeks, contests, giveaways, guest posts, and more!

Wishing you a happy and productive season.

—your friends at STC Craft / Abrams

Entertain from your bookshelf with these simple, elegant projects

If you're like us, you're in the midst of hosting --or frantically preparing to host-- friends and family this time of year. If you're also like us, you can't help but add a few little flourishes along the way. Here are some quick and simple projects from our bookshelf to help you add a little something extra to your home or holiday table. These also double as great host gifts!

Wrapping paper placemats from p. 77 of Victoria Hudgins's Materially Crafted

Wrapping paper placemats from p. 77 of Victoria Hudgins's Materially Crafted

Garden to Table Place Settings from p. 138 of Jacinda Boneau and Jaime Morrison Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

Garden to Table Place Settings from p. 138 of Jacinda Boneau and Jaime Morrison Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

Winter Garland from p. 155 of Livia Cetti's The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers

Winter Garland from p. 155 of Livia Cetti's The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers

Vintage Ribbon Coasters from p. 62 of Rebecca Ringquist's Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

Vintage Ribbon Coasters from p. 62 of Rebecca Ringquist's Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt from p. 214 of Boneau & Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt from p. 214 of Boneau & Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

From our bookshelf:

Are you planning to add a little handcrafted flair to your holiday table? Show off your work online and tag @stc_craft on twitter and instagram.