June Events: New York, Rhinebeck, & DC!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already June! I have a handful of BiblioCraft events this month before I head to library conferences and then take a bit of vacation to ponder what my next steps might be, now that BiblioCraft is out in the world. I’m pretty excited about my June events, because each one’s totally different and each one will let me meet new creative people. I hope to meet you at one of them if you’re there!

  • First, this Thursday the 5th, 6-8pm, here at Knitty City in New York, I’ll  do a bit of a talk and a bit of a trunk show, and I’ll throw in some information literacy for good measure too! Come along to see some projects, get some tips on finding vintage knitting patterns (and maybe take away a vintage pattern or two as well). All and all, an evening of inspiration with some of the nicest fiber lovers in the city.
  • And this Sunday the 8th, I’m heading to Rhinebeck to speak at the Country Living Fair! At 11am I’ll talk all about libraries as inspiration sources and will bring along some BiblioCraft projects to share in person too (including the Cuts of Meat Table Runner, which Country Living featured in their May issue). I’m daytripping up there with some friends, and we look forward to exploring the rest of what’s happening that day at the Fair as soon as my “work” is done.

Next stop will be Washington, DC, where I’m honored to be hosted by two illustrious institutions: The Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery, and the DC Public Library. Here are the details:

See you here or there or perhaps in Vegas at month’s end, librarians!

Exploring Libraries & Making New Things.

One of my favorite things about having written BiblioCraft is the excuse it’s given me to travel around a bit for book events, seeing other libraries, meeting librarians and crafters, and reaching out really broadly to library users. And at each of my stops–in Denver, Minneapolis, Madison, San Francisco, and closer to home around New York too–I’ve collaborated with my host librarians to offer event attendees hands-on projects based on their local collections. It’s been awesome to see what librarians love to share about their collections, and it’s been even better, at each event, to watch attendees get excited themselves about the idea that their libraries are waiting with inspiring stuff for them to explore. I’ve taken away as much inspiration as anyone while exploring and making use of libraries in other cities. Here are a few things I’ve made in my travels:

A Sampler of Images Inspired by Honey & Wax Books

From an event close to home, a sampler of images inspired by Honey & Wax Books. Heather O’Donnell of Honey & Wax is a rare book dealer and all around unfussy and enthusiastic bibliophile. She invited me to explore some of her stock with an eye to creating embroidery designs for an event at Community Bookstore, and the above sampler contains some of what I came up with. Heather reports on the books that inspired these designs over on her blog.

SFPL Lettering

Ornamental stiched letters based on alphabet specimens at San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco Public Library has a jewel of a resource in its Etching and Engraving Picture File, served via the Art, Music, and Recreation Center at its Main Library. The Braid Alphabet above, copied from one on file there, is just the tip of the visual resource iceberg. It became the basis for some fancy lettering bookmarks we made there.

A Buffalo Inspired by History Colorado's Library Collections

A buffalo inspired by History Colorado’s Library Collections. History Colorado is a tremendous spot to explore in Denver–both their library collections as well as their extensive, all-ages-friendly, and truly inviting exhibitions. They were wonderful event hosts as well. My librarian friend showed me around and shared with me dozens of sources, but it was this buffalo that I fell for.

When not designing and making event samples like those above, the main thing I’ve been doing at home is making a quilt. I’m nearly finished piecing the top (English Paper Piecing of hexagons). It’s been a great learning project, and I’ll share more details on that soon!


BiblioCraft in San Francisco!


I’m heading to San Francisco next week! I’ll spend a bit of time with my sister and her family (which I’m especially excited about, since I’ve not seen them since last summer) and I’ll also be busy with a couple of BiblioCraft events as well. As always on my BiblioCraft travels, I look forward to meeting fellow librarians as well as crafty bookish types. So, if you’re in San Francisco next week, please join me at one of the following events, introduce yourself, and spend some time making something! Here are the details:

Thursday, April 24th, 6:00 – 7:30pm, at San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library 
The Art, Music and Recreation Center librarians have shared some super vintage letter designs from their collections that we’ll use as the inspiration to create vintage-style monogram bookmarks! You’ll find out how your public library can inspire you.

UPDATE: THE MUSEUM OF CRAFT AND DESIGN EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED. Saturday, April 26th, 2:00 – 3:30pm, at the Museum of Craft and Design

Now, to the important questions: What shall I do with my bits of free time to play and explore while there? What creative gems should I try to visit in San Francisco? Museums, galleries, shops, or even favorite restaurants/bakeries/cafes? I’d love your recommendations!

Colorado Bound!

And so it begins.

cat cards

Today is the official book launch date for BiblioCraft, and tomorrow is the launch party, where attendees will stitch kitty cards AND make make mini felt rose fascinators (hopefully not burning their fingers on the glue gun). The party’s being held at Brett Bara’s great studio, Brooklyn Craft Company, and all are welcome (rsvp here). Speaking of cats, Brett’s currently planning an evening of craft projects and fun that’s all cat, all the time. I recommend you get yourselves there, people.

And this very weekend, I head to Colorado where I will meet fellow librarians, library lovers, bookish folks, and curious crafty people at an event that’s a collaboration between a local history organization and a bookstore/winebar! To prepare, I’ll spend an afternoon among the collections of History Colorado, where the super librarian there will help me to select vintage visual gems we’ll use at and the collaborative craft workshop/book signing event at Denver’s BookBar, in  collaboration with the Colorado History Collection. Think bold designs based on cattle brands, vintage cowboy/cowgirl images, and more! You don’t need to bring any supplies; we’ll have what you need to get busy while getting a glimpse of what the Colorado History Collection has to offer. I hope to see you at BookBar at 2pm on Sunday, March 23rd!

One last thought–if you know Denver and have ideas for crafty shops, historic sites, or libraries I should check out while there, please leave a comment with any recommendations! Thanks!


Maisie’s Sort-of-Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our Frog Dog, our Sun Dog Millionaire, our Frito Lady!

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that Sean and I adopted Maisie, with the help of my colleague Ted and his fellow shelter volunteers who brought her north from Paris, Kentucky, so that we could take her home to Brooklyn. Maisie has eaten shoes and blankets, and she has shredded entire skeins of yarn as well. She’s been known to carry Sean’s e-reader around in her teeth, delicately and triumphantly. In short, she can be trouble. But she’s feisty and happy and is wonderful company. And when she’s asleep she smells like cornchips. So today is a day to celebrate M.

BiblioCraft Book Launch Party!

My new book will be out this very month! While I’m pretty excited about forthcoming trips (Denver! Madison! San Francisco! more!) to share BiblioCraft at libraries and organizations, I’m also planning some gatherings here on my home turf too. Today I wanted to share the details on the official book launch party in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If you’re localish, I hope you can come and join in any of the following activities:

  • eat homemade cookies rolled in pink sugar (made by me!), or Peter Pan doughnuts (provided by my Mom & Dad!)
  • make a toast to all the library-loving, nerdy+cool, bookishly crafty friends in your life
  • get crafty–make a BiblioCraft inspired project!
  • explore Brett Bara’s cool new class and event studio, Brooklyn Craft Company
  • buy BiblioCraft as well as my amazing contributors’ books too, thanks to my friends at WORD

WHEN: Wednesday, March 19th, 7:00-8:30pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Craft Company, 61 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (just 1.5 blocks west of the Greenpoint Avenue stop of the G train)
PLEASE RSVP: on Facebook or send me a message so I know how many cookies to bake!

A Test Batch!

A Test Batch!


Greenpoint Hand Skills Report.

IMG_20140301_125043This past weekend I was invited to help out at a Greenpoint Hand Skills program at my local Brooklyn Public Library branch, hosted by Julie Schneider and Kim Konen. We made stamped cards inspired by 19th c. wood type specimen books, and for design inspiration I brought along some printed-out page images from an 1892 Hamilton Wood Type specimen book that’s part of the Rare Book Division collection at NYPL, where I work. I love all type specimen books, really, because they let you glimpse specific worlds–places and times–of type design. But the Hamilton volume is a particular favorite because it was one of the books that inspired Julie to create two projects for BiblioCraftSo, just a few followup notes and links for you from this event:

  • I’ve shared all the Hamilton page images I took for the event on tumblr, if you want to check them out.
  • The documentary a few of us talked about, which is all about the legacy of Hamilton wood type reborn as a Museum of printing and design is called Typeface, and it’s worth checking out.
  • The banana-oat-white chocolate-walnut cookie bars I made were based on this recipe. I made just two little changes: I used white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate because that’s what I had on hand, and I pressed the dough into a 9×13″ pan lined with parchment. Otherwise, it’s all there just as Martha wrote it.
  •  The sweater I wore was Cecily Glowik’s Idlewood design, which I knitted up in Sweet Georgia’s Botanical green.
  • And, without further ado, a single Hamilton type specimen (in real life this page is about two feet tall!).



BiblioCraft, at ALA Midwinter and Beyond.

It’s a book! (You can read more about it, and see a list of amazing contributors, here!)

JP at Midwinter

(my thanks to Rebecca Federman–aka @cookedbooks–for this photograph!)

Even though BiblioCraft‘s not even really out yet–it officially launches on March 18th–my publisher got a couple of boxes of early finished copies just in time for me to do a talk, share a watermark whale bookmark project, and sign copies at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. As you might imagine, I was VERY nervous, and pretty excited as well, to share my new book with bunches and bunches of smart and tough (and I mean tough in the best way possible) librarians of all kinds. My thanks to everyone I met–the conversations we had reminded me why I wanted to write this book in the first place: because libraries and their librarians are like inspiration engines.

While I wait for the books to arrive in warehouses, I’ve gotten started with a skeleton schedule of events to help spread the word about how libraries+crafts=design inspiration. I’m excited about the mix of venues: libraries, museums (the Smithsonian!), bookshops, and organizations (the American Craft Council!). You can keep an eye on my calendar to see where I’ll be. And if you’d like me to be part of your library’s programming, let me know! I’d love to see what we might come up with.

XOXO Mini-Quilt.

DWRaboveMy friend Jenny has been encouraging me to start playing around with quilting and patchwork. She’s a talented quilter herself, and she successfully taught me how to make my first whole cloth quilt (I’ll share more soon about that particular quilt’s supporting role in my forthcoming book).  Jenny’s efforts have paid off: this year I joined a quilting guild, attended QuiltCon, and became a collector of fat quarters. Basically, I’ve gone from being a quilt lurker–reading about quilts, collecting books about quilts, and admiring exhibitions of quilts–to trying my hand at making my own.

And with her encouragement, I entered the Double Wedding Ring Challenge hosted by my guild. Because I was pretty confident I’d not enjoy the curved piecing (wow, was I right), and because I’m already fully immersed in what will be a rather large hand pieced hexagon quilt, I chose to make the small single ring option. I pieced it on my machine and then quilted it by hand, adding cross stitch arches to complete the “pickle dish” forms along two sides. Here’s one pickle dish that’s patchwork on both sides, in progress:


In making my little XOXO quilt (O for the circle shape and X for the cross stitches), I learned the following: I prefer hand piecing and hand quilting to using a machine; I really need my own design wall; and I enjoy color play more than I expected. Here are the fabrics from my stash of fat quarters  that came into play, early on:


I also learned that I prefer to make finished objects that have a functional purpose. This little round guy is nice, but I’m itching to turn it into a pillow cover or something purposeful. We’ll see what XOXO becomes!

This Fall at the Library.

robot dress

It’s hard for me to believe it sometimes, but Handmade Crafternoons at New York Public Library have been going strong since 2009. I first joined up with Maura Madden four years ago to launch a DIY salon for adults that would draw creative inspiration from the library’s collections while drawing in a community of artists and crafters. The fall 2013 series is about to get underway!

Continue reading “This Fall at the Library.”