Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Heart 70s Craft Books

(From my stash of little articles written about 10 yrs ago... I've not changed my mind. In fact the 70s styles are even more popular today. Woot.)

Let's not forget those awesome days of yore...when crafting and needlework were having a real heyday.  No, not the Renaissance, nor the Victorian era, classic though they may be. I am referring to the colorful and creative 1970s.  I am a child of that period, and as such took part in nearly every creative whim of my parents...latch hook, crochet, needlepoint, crewel. And do I recall some of those cellophane dipped flowers and some sort of toxic resin plaques? Yes, those were the days. Funk was the norm and looking through my mom's craft book collection was so much rainy day fun. 

 "Granny Square Vest Family" painted from a 70s crochet pattern booklet

I have now amassed my own impressive collection of craft books, also of the 70s variety.  Most of these (surprise) relate to working with fibers in some way.  I just can't rave enough about how much I love those books. They are full of techniques, histories, creativity and inspiration. The crochet books are without a doubt the most interesting I've found...I have books on crochet and needlework as sculpture and fine art, wearable art, clothing design and the usual pattern magazines and booklets.  Some may whine about the outdated styles available in these oldies, but really the styles are very interesting and back in fashion. Usually these can be updated simply by altering the color scheme (even too much for me at times).  Not only that, but where else can you find a pattern for 4 types of crochet sandals? 

Here's an example to illustrate my point. A while ago I decided it was time to own a good overall book about quilting. I wanted a good source book with info about each of the common techniques.  So, I moseyed to my favorite used bookstore, which has exceptional art and craft sections.  I had noticed on previous visits the volume of quilting books, and so settled down on the milk crate to do some searching for the end-all-be-all of quilting books.

Well, let me tell you...I looked through all the modern type books and was sorely saddened by the lack of basic instruction and creativity in these books.  They were generally ten projects for your cutesy home and I thought they really lacked room for experimentation. When I did find the book I desired it was a 70s surprise. This one has it all: numerous methods of quilting including trapunto, piecework basics, borders, cutwork, appliqué and cultural styles like Hawaiian and Amish.  Of course, there are projects included for each process and style. There's even a whole chapter devoted to designing your own quilt, step by step. Now THAT'S what I call a craft book. And it was much less expensive than the modern ones.

So, there you have it. I love the 70s books. They are well written, colorful, creative, stylish, cheap and available everywhere. Now, I'm off to read about granny squares...

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