Every artisan puts something of herself into her work, and several new books emphasize that connection. Some titles combine making and memoir, while others depict a community of crafters.
The Crochet Crowd
Michael Sellick and Daniel Zondervan. Nimbus, Sept.
Amid the 15 patterns for afghans, cowls, and blankets, business and romantic partners Sellick and Zondervan, whose 1 million–subscriber YouTube channel lent its name to the book, detail their life together in Nova Scotia, and how, for Sellick, crochet served as a personal lifeline when he was a bullied and closeted teenager, and as a foundation for connection and community once he was out.
Easy Crafts for the Insane
Kelly Williams Brown. Putnam, out now
Brown, author of 2013’s Adulting (“fun, chatty, and surprisingly informative,” per PW), recounts the series of personal calamities that eventually landed her in an inpatient facility, and the craft projects that have helped her cope. “These are not Martha Stewart–level or even Amy Sedaris–level crafts,” she writes. “This book contains an odd, idiosyncratic collection of the things I’ve been able to teach myself over the years.”
Sutton Foster. Grand Central, Oct.
The two-time Tony Award winner and TV actor discusses her complicated family history, including her mother’s agoraphobia and her first marriage’s very public end, as well as the craft projects she worked on during pivotal moments of her life. See “Hooked on a Feeling," for our q&a with Foster.
Saws, Planes, and Scorps
David Heim. Princeton Architectural Press, Sept.
Heim, a veteran magazine and book editor (Fine Woodworking, Consumer Reports), highlights the tools of the trade and the craftspeople who make them, through interviews, photos, sketches, and vintage ephemera. This book is for anyone who, for instance, ever contemplated how a workbench in Great Britain or the U.S. differs from one in Japan.
Stitching Stolen Lives
Sara Trail and Teresa Duryea Wong. C&T, Oct.
Highlighting the work of the Social Justice Sewing Academy Remembrance Project, which helps teens confront their experiences with systemic racism through craft, Trail, the academy’s founder and executive director, and Wong, a researcher and author of four quilting history books, showcase art banners and quilts that act as memorials to lives lost and share the personal stories of the young stitchers who created them.
Alison Hawthorne Deming. Counterpoint, Aug.
“Champions of a home-crafted way of life will find much to savor,” PW’s review said, in this “lyrical memoir” by poet and essayist Deming. Using Yves St. Laurent’s “sardine” dress as a jumping-off point, she delves into various corners of her family’s history, including the experiences of her dressmaker grandmother and great-grandmother, and the summers her family spent in a small fishing community in New Brunswick.