“Make” your way through lockdown with eBooks for crafters

If you’re staying at home during the Alert Level 4 lockdown and you’re a maker, crafter, or artist, you’ll probably be eyeing up your crafting stash and all those UFOs (unfinished objects, to the uninitiated). I’m certainly hoping that once the weirdness of settling into yet another “new normal” sorts itself out, I’ll have a bit of time to work on things that have sat around for - yeah, I’m going to admit it - years.

So I’ve been taking a look at what the library has in the way of crafting ebooks. At the time of writing, Overdrive (just one of our eBook platforms, supported by the Libby app) has 373 books listed under crafts, on a great variety of subjects including yarn crafts, DIY, sewing, mending, woodwork, and even some interesting outliers like creating cat habitats from cardboard boxes and making automata (so cool)!

Having browsed through a few, I would note a couple of things before you dive in. The first is that non-fiction eBooks are much better viewed on a tablet or desktop than on your phone - the number of images can make page formatting a bit hairy on a small device. Secondly, for the sake of your own crafty happiness, I’d suggest sticking to books on crafts that you know you have the materials for at home. With our non-essential shops being closed, diving into a new skillset could just leave you in an “Arrrgh! I wanna try X but I don’t have Y!” situation, and nobody needs that right now. Here's a dozen that caught my eye:

Lockdown crafting - a non-fiction reading guide

List created by alciata

Find the crafting inspiration you need to “make” your way through lockdown. Staying home during the Alert Level 4 lockdown? If you’re a maker, crafter, or artist, you’ll probably be eyeing up your crafting stash and all those UFOs (unfinished objects, to the uninitiated). Here’s a taste of the tempting ebooks to inspire you from Christchurch City Libraries’ Overdrive ebook collection.

As the cover image suggests, Mending Matters great inspiration for mending your jeans. Rodabaugh explores not just practical patching, darning and weaving techniques for extending the life of your clothes, but also talks about mending as a metaphor for appreciating our own naturally flawed selves, and how it teaches us new skills, self-reliance, and confidence.

Embroider your Life is a brilliant book for those starting out or looking to extend their knowledge base. Thread types, tools and stitch styles are all clearly explained, and appealing, modern motifs and projects give you a huge range of ideas for applying your skills. I’m going to make use of this ebook to design an embroidered cover-up on an ink-stained blouse. It did load slightly oddly on my iPad, but the content was still perfectly readable.

Scrap Happy Sewing will appeal to the thrifty stitcher who never throws anything away - which also makes it useful for using up your stash and scraps in the lockdown. Cute and trendy designs pair with easy-to-follow visual instructions and templates that you can download in PDF form and print. It’s a great ebook if you’re just starting out.

Modern Upcycling covers a variety of recycled and new materials, so you can pick and choose according to what you have to hand. It’s a collection of ideas, with simple how-tos, inspiring that “Ooh, I could make X with Y!” kind of mindset. Tending towards shabby-chic (with a healthy dollop of boho colour) it’s not for the perfectionist - but it is perfect if you just want to get stuck in and make, upcycle, or redecorate, whatever your skill level.

This is probably the point where I should admit while I was a goth in younger days, I’m not a knitter (in fact, I am severely lacking in yarn foo generally). Who could resist this cover though? A refreshing change from the deluge of cutesy craft books out there, Pretty in Punk captures the connection that has always existed between creative crafting and alternative styles. It’s engaging and entertaining, and I’d love some feedback from knitters about its usability.

Do you suck at crafting? This one’s for you. DIY, Dammit! is a great idea-generator if you prefer your making to be colourfully imperfect (and a tad on the irreverent side). The writing’s funny and down-to earth, and offers much-needed solace and coping techniques to those of us who spend much of our crafting time swearing. Martha Stewart need not apply.

I bet the cat’s loving you being home all the time, but is he or she driving you crazy with demands for attention yet? Try some distraction: Cat Castles has an inventive range of cat habitats, made from those boxes you keep forgetting to put out in the recycling. Okay, so I reckon more than a few of these will probably appeal to the humans more than the cats (I’m loving the submarine, and I don’t even have a cat!), but hey, you never know.

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