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Reviewed by: Christine Oka, Research & Instruction, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA
Interweave, one the largest arts and craft publishers in the United States, has a new magazine, craft.girl, described as “a beginner friendly collection of all kinds of crafts.” The premiere issue, Fall/Winter 2015, is packed with over 25 “easy weekend projects,” ranging from sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving, embroidery, counted cross stitch, jewelry making and working with mixed media. Projects are created by well-known crafting designers, including Vickie Howell (weaving), Megan Lenhausen (beading), Jessica Giardino (sewing) and Allyson Dykhuizen (knitting). The projects to be found here are unexpectedly refreshing. No scarves for the beginning knitter, but a “1940s-inspired” turban-style headband and a fun “Immortal Cactus Knitted Plant” to fulfill the need of those people who love plants, but are unable to keep them alive. Weaving projects include using weaving sticks to create a vertical wall hanging or a pin loom to make a horizontal Tibetan prayer flag-type bunting. Newer, less traditional crafting includes upcycling, or re-using materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill, to create new objects. One example is mixed media decoupage using postage stamps from letters and packages to decorate a picture frame. The best upcycling example is a sparkly jewelry box covered with a mosaic of cut-up CDs, a novel and very pretty reuse of old technology.
The magazine also contains detailed illustrated tutorials, such as knitting 101 and crocheting 101, to provide technical support for new crafters — along with links to related community websites with more information: crochetme.com/glossary and knittingdaily.com/glossary. Both community websites are connected to Interweave, as a division of F + W Media, Inc., “a content and ecommerce company.” An unexpected, but welcome, tutorial (everything old is new again) is pin curls 101 with detailed instructions and illustrations on how to create volume with curls. Readers are encouraged to try out this “midcentury” styling to wear with the knitted headband.
All of the designs are accessible, not overwhelming, and are do-able over a weekend. There is a lot of cross-crafting variety as well — knitters interested in venturing into jewelry-making can try their hand at knitted wire necklaces, while painters can upcycle leftover scraps of canvas to make mixed media pendants, and those who embroider or cross stitch can create a picture or sign for their wall—a favorite is the silhouette of a coffee cup with the encouraging words: “You can do it!” With this new magazine, Interweave is cannily providing a gateway to new crafting enthusiasts, who will probably “graduate” to its more specialized publications on knitting, crocheting, jewelry-making, drawing, watercolor, quilting, sewing and mixed media.
The magazine is available issue-by-issue as a download or in print format, and truly is unique in introducing a wide range of crafts to newbies. The projects are interesting and will appeal to potential, as well as more experienced, crafters.