HANDCRAFTS New books offer ideas on various needlecrafts

Knitting, quilting and creative sewing covered in new manuals.
Knitters who want a complete instructional manual on every aspect of this popular craft, should choose "Knitting School" (Sterling Publishing, $24.95.)
Instructions begin with the selection of needles and yarns, then the basic knitting and purling stitches and their variations. Then lessons move on to other stitches and techniques, and even learn to correct mistakes.
The book explains how you can add interest to your projects with embellishments such as beads, sequins, braids and embroidery. Blocking and finishing are explained, too.
This is a very thorough course, and the book is well illustrated and organized. Ask for it at yarn shops, or order online at www.barnesandnoble.com.
Focus on fabrics
"Fantastic Fabric Textures" by Dana Bontrager (Purrfect Press, $18.95) would be a great library addition. This is a project book, focusing on dimensional manipulation of fabrics, guaranteed to make them more interesting.
The book describes various techniques, including pleating, scrunching and curved piecing. Surface embellishments are explored, too, such as discharge dyeing, ink blot doodling, stamping, leaf rubbing and more. Although the illustrations are in black-and-white, they are clearly done, and a full-color gallery showcases the garments.
Above all, the ideas are inspiring to those who want to try a little creative play in their sewing. If you can't find the book locally, order from the author at 800-691-4293, or visit www.purrfection.com . Please add $4 for shipping.
Crazy quilts
"The Magic of Crazy Quilting," by Marsha Michler (Krause Publications, $24.99) guides the constuction of a crazy quilt from start to finish, plus a lot more.
The book is subtitled "A Complete Resource for Embellished Quilting," but these techniques also apply to smaller projects, for which instructions are given.
Crazy quilting is the piecing of irregular-shaped patches, secured and enhanced with embroidery stitches.
The book describes many quilt types and embroidery variations, plus embellishments such as ribbon-work, applique, monogramming and fabric painting.
It's available at quilt shops, or from Krause at 800-258-0929 or www.krause.com.

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