Fleece Hat Friends has completely adorable ideas and my kids immediately chose their favorite for me to make for them. The awesome thing about the designs is they are all based on one “basic” hat to which elements are added to, in order to create the different animals and creatures. There are twenty five projects altogether and all of them use fleece, which they give instructions for if you bought it off of the bolt or use the 9×12″ sheets. Most of the hats have big, round eyes that are easily made from fleece and fiberfill.
Each has full instructions, templates and even a cute illustration of the final product. My daughter requested the floppy ear rabbit, so I’m working on that one and it is very simple to do, with its black beads for eyes and fluffy bunny tail on the back. In addition to the hats, there are several extra projects in Fleece Hat Friends, including a scarf, bag and sweatshirt. as well as darling tails which can be made to match each hat. Very fun book!
Crochet Boutique‘s author, Rachael Oglesby runs a popular blog and also an Etsy shop where she sells her handmade designs and vintage clothing and has almost 7K admirers! It’s not difficult to see why she is so admired, given her modern take on classic crocheted creations. I enjoyed seeing how she updated clothing items, as well as added new current ideas, like the Laptop Cover. The author states in the into that she wants to challenge the notion of crochet as being “unpolished” and instead replace it with items that are trendy, yet timeless.
The projects are ranked by Beginner, Easy and Intermediate, so as long as you have even basic knowledge of crochet, there should be something you would feel comfortable with. There are instructions for Hats, Scarves, Bags, Accessories, and Home Decor. The warmth of these soft and cozy items comes across clearly, whether it is a throw for your couch or mittens and legwarmers. My favorite idea in Crochet Boutique was the Sweetheart garland, with its little pink and red hearts strung on white yarn. It would be so cute hanging in a doorway for the holidays!
PUSH Print and PUSH Jewelry include over thirty designs each from contemporary artists who “push” the boundaries of their craft. The jewelers tell about how jewelry is often symbolic and can act as an effective means of self expression. The jewelry in PUSH Jewelry, is imaginative and created from many different mediums including metal, fabric, paper and even marble! It is full of fascinating and thought provoking pieces, like the magnetic wedding rings or the Hyphae jewelry based on the nervous system.
In PUSH Print it was interesting to see the point of view that the print artists expressed on many divergent concepts, including politics, animals, religion and war. When I look at the pieces pictured, the first thing I want to know is “Why?”. The Q&A for each artist gives insights into the “why”, as they divulge many of the reasons for becoming an artist and how they found their particular niche.