Add a few craft books to your vacation plans

With the leisure time of summer almost at hand, it’s always a good idea to think about what books you might want to get to idle away the time on the porch swing or to carry along to the camp on the lake. Here are a few titles that offer projects to factor into one’s knitting, crocheting and sewing roster when the cool days of fall roll around again:
— “500 Fun Little Toys” by Nguyen Le is packed with projects and project variations to knit, crochet, sew and felt. This is a book of a handy size — approximately 6 inches square, which makes it portable enough to take along on a vacation.
The book includes a section that features suggestions for materials to use for the projects and instructions for the various techniques used. It also includes tips and tricks to ensure the projects will turn out correctly.
The book sections are: First Toys, Animals and Creatures, Play Food, Dolls, Costumes, Everyday Objects and Games and Fitness.
Look for a sewn fabric birds mobile, a needle felted ball, a fabric rabbit and dinosaur, a needle felt bear, a grasshopper sewn of felt, a sewn banana and bacon and eggs, a knit mermaid, a superhero cape, a knit and felt tic-tac-toe game, and a fabric pin the tail on the donkey game.
— “500 Crochet: Fun Designs for Blocks, Triangles, Circles and Hearts” by Hannah Elgie and Kath Webber is also a small 6-inch-square book packed much to offer crocheters of all levels of skill. This is not is project book, per se. It gives information on crochet techniques, equipment, yarn, stitches and pattern reading. It also includes tips and hints. Instructions for each motif is given in print and as a chart.
Learn to crochet five-pointed stars, leaves or tiny hearts and string them together to form a garland. Craft small round doilies to serve as coasters, or crochet small flowers to stitch to a favorite winter scarf or hat.
Learn to crochet in the round or back and forth. Make variations of the good old granny square in cotton yarn and stitch them together to make a placemat, or craft them in wool or other animal fiber and sew them together to make a baby afghan.
Both of the “500” books are products of Sellers Publishing Inc. located in South Portland, and part of the company’s 500 Series of books that also cover cooking.
— “Crochet Cool: Fun Designs for Kids Ages 1 to 6” by Tanya Bernard is another offering from Sellers Publishing. The designs in this book call for Cascade yarn — cotton, wool, alpaca or cotton-silk blend — and are crocheted using a size G, H or I hook.
The Spring Tunic Dress in cotton-silk features a granny square bodice and a ripple stitch skirt. The Daisy Brimmed Hat in pale blue cotton is embellished with a big white flower. The Ruffle Cardigan in off-white alpaca yarn features trumpet sleeves. And the Skater’s Sweater designed for a lively boy is done in alpaca yarn sports sleeves of wide stripes in two shades of brown.
Each pattern specifies whether it is for beginner, intermediate or advanced level crocheters.
Each project has up-close, color photographs illustrating a particular technique, and how-to.
For information about these books, inquire at your local bookstore or public library, or go to
The inaugural meeting of the new Cranky Pants Machine and Sewing Club will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, at The Cotton Cupboard Quilt Shop on Broadway. The club will meet the third Friday of each month.
The club is for those who want to learn or share techniques of using vintage foot- and hand-powered sewing machines.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email Don’t forget to visit her blog at