So I've decided that all the Christmas presents I give this year will be handmade. As a result, I've bought and checked out a few books on quilting and sewing. From there, I discovered an amazing variety of crafty blogs, and have been amazed at the level to which the authors of the books I've read put their lives on the internet. (The only other personal blog I read is Dooce.com)Bend-The-Rules Sewing
is an awesome project book with great, simple instructions. Amy Karol blogs at Angry Chicken
and adds lots of healthy cooking tips and parenting observations to her craft updates and tutorials.Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter
is absolutely gorgeous -- Scandanavian design applied to simple sewing projects for the home. I made an apron, a purse, and an oven mitt from this book and she was absolutely honest about the skill level and time involved. Jansdotter has a textile line, and you can see a video tour of her design studio at Apartment Therapy
I have a few things on my "to get" list based on the quality of their internet-based tutorials. I read Soule Mama
almost daily, and she has a book coming out this spring called The Creative Family: How to Encourage Creativity and Nurture Family Connections
. The Purl Bee
is the blog associated with the Purl knitting & quilting supply shop in New York. The owner, Joelle Hoverson, just put out a book called Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
. She has offered a few projects from the book for Martha Stewart readers and viewers and the framed fabric
project has been showing up all over.
These authors share a set of sewing skills that used to be highly valued but have fallen out of fashion. When I was growing up, we always had handmade quilts on our beds. The thing that I find interesting about these quilters is that their design aesthetic is nothing like the country-kitschy quilt shops that I remember my mom dragging me to throughout my childhood. If you're interested in starting to do handmade projects, any one of these books would be a great starting point.