Cast On, Bind Off offers a first-rate reference for two important steps in knitting. Author Leslie Ann Bestor rightly assumes that most knitters “have a favorite cast on or bind off, and it is probably the one they learned from the person who taught them.” Eventually, however, a wider world beckons as one looks for new options for starting and finishing a project. After all, the “edges set the stage for the piece as a whole.” And here it is, that wider world, handily divided into 54 step-by-step methods guaranteed to “take your knitting to a whole new level.” Each technique is graded by characteristics—stretchy or firm; subtle or chunky; invisible or rolled—and by what particular project it is designed for: lace, shawls, bags, types of ribbing. Photos illustrate every step as well as the top, bottom and side views of finished examples. Cast On, Bind Off encourages exploration and delivers clear instructions, assuring you “will never regret investing time in the beginnings and endings of your projects.”
A new sketchbook should be a safe place to exercise creativity, but too often, a blank page is more of a block than an inspiration. The Sketchbook Challenge empowers readers to try a variety of creative sketchbooking methods. Why? Because “keeping a sketchbook is one of the most valuable tools in your artistic tool box,” says author Sue Bleiweiss. She reminds us that they are “not an end in themselves,” but a place to brainstorm, experiment, dream and plan. To model different approaches, the author challenged a variety of artists working in diverse mediums to stick with themes: rhythm, circles, dwellings, everyday objects. The result is a showcase of the “creative process from start to finish,” whether in fiber arts, mixed media, digital printing or drawing, allowing readers to experience a range of projects from inspiration to final product. The Sketchbook Challenge also includes an illustrated introduction to sketchbook formats, materials and tools.
TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES
Transform “found objects” into unique pieces with Wild Jewelry by Sarah Drew. “Wild” material is everywhere: in nature, on the sidewalk, in the trash. To find it is half the fun; the other half is to repurpose it into amazing jewelry. Even beginners can turn pebbles, sticks, washers, plastic bags and papers into new wearables. A few projects involve soldering—a skill most of us haven’t had occasion to learn—but the rest can be accomplished with basic techniques and tools. For example, to turn a flat pebble into a pendant takes about six passes with a bit of silver wire, and to create paper beads simply requires scissors and glue. Drew includes a wide variety of methods: finger crocheting; setting objects into clay, resin or string; riveting; inlay. Each method can adapt to the material in hand, as well as to the maker’s skills and whim. Photos guide readers through each step and present a gallery of finished projects guaranteed to inspire.