A micro-review, in bullet points:
1. Almost 150 quilts you won’t find on Pinterest.
2. The essays are good.
3. When seeking visual pleasure and inspiration, a curated and finite set (like a book) can be more useful than an infinite set (like the internet).
Slightly more detail, if you’re still on the fence:
This book is not about formal, precision-pieced quilts but rather represents the growing interest in the improvisational and often surprising “everyday” quilts. Those depicted here are of the vintage (rather than antique) era. Most are by unknown makers. Collector Roderick Kiracofe has commissioned ten essays to offer context for the anonymous textiles.
Quilt historian Janneken Smucker smacks down the “myth of the scrap bag quilt.” Natalie Chanin (of Alabama Chanin) describes the class messaging of whole cloth vs. patchwork quilts when she grew up in the South. Texas quiltmaker Sherry Ann Bryrd explains the distinction between “precision”, “M-provisational” and “throw together” as quilting “languages” with different functions. Textile curator Amelia Peck writes about the challenge of curating anonymous work for an institutional collection. All worth reading. But mostly it’s about the pictures.
A couple of days after I received a review copy of Hello Kitty Crochet I read an article in the LA Times about the 40th anniversary of Sanrio’s iconic character. The most surprising fact I learned is that Hello Kitty is not a kitty. She is a British girl named Kitty White who “lives in London with her mama (Mary White), papa (George White), and her twin sister Mimmy.” Also, she has a pet cat named Charmmy Kitty, which is kind of like Goofy having Pluto for a pet, I guess. Many Hello Kitty fans were outraged by the revelation, but I loved it. Hello Kitty is more charming and mysterious than I thought!
Hello Kitty Crochet, by Malaysia-based blogger Mei Li Lee (her name is so adorable that Sanrio should create a character called Mei Li Lee), has complete instructions for making 18 Sanrio characters, from Kitty White herself to the devilishly mischievous tomboy Kuromi (who reminds me of DC comics’ Harley Quinn). Mei Li Lee does a great job of retaining the cuteness of the characters in their transubstantiation into yarn, which is an impressive feat. I just might have to learn to crochet and try my hand at making these.
Hello Kitty Crochet ($9)
by Mei Li Lee
2014, 96 pages, 7.3 x 7.3 x 0.5 inches, Hardcover
Spoonful's Haunted Mansion Cupcake recipe comes with a set of printable tombstone templates that you can print to cardstock and use to garnish your carb-delivery-vehicles. But they'd also be great for other projects: graveyard dioramae, lapel badges, etc and so forth.
Yesterday I posted a photo from Barbara G. Walker's fabulous 1972 instructional book, Knitting From The Top. It turns out Barbara is not only a terrific knitter, she is also a designer and illustrator of tarot cards. I like these images nearly as much as Frieda Harris' paintings for Crowley's Thoth deck.
My 10-year-old has been preparing for the day her copy of Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat came in the mail. That day is today.
Projects include finger puppets, book covers, portraits, tote bags, coin purses, knickknack boxes, pincushions, badges, mittens & gloves, and hats & scarves.
"These crafts are not recommended for people with cat allergies."
Walking Dead artist Tony Moore says: "Knowing how long it took me to draw this damn thing in pen and ink, I'm particularly honored and impressed by this painstaking Walking Dead cross-stitch!"
Bitblox are wooden alphabet blocks inspired by our pixelated nostalgia. While pixels continue shrinking out of sight on our digital screens, they live on in full chromatic and tactile splendor in these one-of-a-kind alphabet blocks.$45 a set, available at glyfyx.com. Each limited-edition set includes 28 blocks, "featuring a total of 168 letters, numbers, symbols and quirky pictograms." They're "hand-manufactured in the United States from renewable, American grown, kiln-dried basswood," printed with non-toxic, child-safe inks, free of lead.
Avi Solomon writes,
With the Jewish Diwali aka Hanukkah well nigh upon us, I was looking to provide my 7 year old son Uriel with a maker angle on the central artifact of the holiday, the Menorah. The Maccabees had hastily hacked together their Menorah by using hollow iron spearheads and I also wanted to capture this improvisational aspect of making the Menorah.
Inspired by Joe Grand's Pipe Menorah we set off to the nearest hardware store to make one of our own.The guys at the store were kind enough to let us putter around gathering the parts we needed and try them out together.
Read Avi's HOWTO: "Making your own Menorah is no longer a Pipe Dream!" (avisolo.blogspot.com)