As the sunny days start creeping back, luring us all outside, blogger, baker, crafter, maker Pip Lincolne delivers her third helping of crafty goodness, Make Hey! While the Sun Shines.
Continuing in a similar theme to her previous books, Meet Me At Mike’s and Sew La Tea Do, Make Hey! offers simple but ever-so-cute crafty projects. Make Hey! is summer themed and full of projects like ‘Very Fun Party Bunting’ and ‘Huckleberry Bottle Totes’ designed to put the reader in ‘a dipping-your-toes-in-the-river-shady-picnic-popsicle kind of mood’. Tucked in the pocket at the front of the book are a handful of recipes for picnic food like ginger beer and a ‘Soba So Good Salad’, and there’s even a sunshine-themed playlist to load on your iPod and get on your way. It’s an all-round companion for the summer months ahead.
The book aims to get everyone involved in some hands-on making. Lincolne implores us to remember that craft is not just for those in ‘brown sandals and prairie dresses’ but for everyone, ‘even a super-stylish person such as yourself’. Drawing heavily from a mix of contemporary design and retro kitsch, the projects are chosen to be accessible to a young, urban audience.
With this in mind, the projects in Make Hey! cover a range of skill levels from absolute beginner to serious crafty, with plenty of room for the more advanced craftster to ‘unleash their crafty ninja’ and individualise projects, while still offering the basics to engage and inspire the beginner. Instructions are clear, thorough and delivered in a conversational style that is cheerily helpful, rather than patronising. Being a beginner sewer (I’m more of a knitter, myself), I had no trouble following the instructions for the ‘Sweet Ride Bike Seat Cover’, and there are handy tutorials in the back if you get stuck.
However, some projects, such as the ‘Paper Wall Quilt’, are disappointingly simple. ‘What is a Paper Wall Quilt?’ I hear you ask. It’s a series of diamonds cut from brightly coloured paper and Blu-Tacked to the wall, and instructions seem a touch unnecessary. Simple projects like this could have been included in a condensed form as ideas or inspiration rather than given a full two pages of instructions, which seemed to be padding between the more involved and engaging projects.
It’s a very visual book. The projects themselves are very well illustrated, so I could see just where it was I went wrong with the bike seat cover (too much hem, not enough frill), and the book itself is beautiful. Each spread is a wealth of fun design, colour, retro treasures and inspiring crafty items. In fact, the bright pictures of nifty craft-bags and bright crocheted rugs, cute egg-cups and coloured wooden dolls left me longing for the patterns to make those items. I would have liked a few more projects at a more advanced level. But the beauty of the text is that once you’ve worked your way through the projects that are included, you’ll have some of the skills necessary to try your hand at the craftworks pictured, without instructions.
And that’s the real strength of this book. With options for variations offered with every pattern, and vintage eye-candy on every other page, there is so much to be inspired by, to spark the reader’s imagination and lead them on their own craft adventure. While many of the projects are simple enough to suit the casual crafter or someone just dipping their toes in the water, those more serious and skilled will find plenty within the pages to inspire more involved projects.
Meg Smith is a knitter and textile craftster who writes about sustainable
craft and homemaking on her blog, http://acraftywench.blogspot.com.