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  • Here are a few highlights from the Spring Craft-a-thon!

  • Crocheters of the world, take heed! You don't need Funny Hat Day as an excuse to look for new ideas. Browse no further than this handy list of literary hats and their corresponding online crochet patterns. The best part? You don't need to be kid-sized to wear the finished products in the case of nearly every listing here. (Since one of my goals for 2013 is to improve my beginner-level crochet skills, I don't have any patterns of my own to share, but I've got no problem highlighting the work of other brilliant yarnworkers).

    Sherlock Holmes' Deerstalker Hat
    For those of you feeling a bit more mysterious, or even ingenious, you can download a free pattern designed by Colleen Sullivan (pictured above) and impress your friends with your elementarily excellent needle-ship. If you're really really into the idea of solving mysteries, you could try out this advanced-rated pattern with no photo of what the finished product should look like. Are you game enough to find out?
    The Cat in the Hat's Hat
    This is, perhaps, one of the most iconic literary hats in history--it's right in the title! Dr Seuss' famous Cat in the Hat character wears one of the goofiest hats around, and you're just a few quick stitches away from joining him. Rebecca Goldsmith has an excellent pattern for sale at the Desert Diamond Etsy shop that comes with instructions on making the hat in four differnet sizes.

  • Throughout the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, we often saw the family and staff of Downton crafting. While Cora and Lavinia were seen creating elegant pieces in the sitting room, embroidery hoops and knitting needles were present in the staff quarters as well.

  • Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by using recycled materials for your next craft project.

    Gather basic materials like a cereal box, string or ribbon, hole punch, and scissors to make the Star Garland from Craft-a-Day (Quirk Books, 2012). Download the pattern to get started and follow the basic directions below.

  • So you finally bought an e-reader or a tablet. Whatever your new gadget is, you’re going to cart it with you everywhere you go. To work, school, or the dentist, that sucker is portable and by golly you’re going to port it!

    But wait! It has no cover! It’s exposed to the elements, the pens in your briefcase, and the keys and pins at the bottom of your purse. Your precious new device is far too fragile (and expensive) to not travel safely and stylishly.


    April 1, 2013


    Quirk Books, the independent publisher known for its irreverent reference guides and innovative works of fiction, has gone and done the unexpected once again. Effective immediately, the company is launching a new imprint that will give readers exactly what they expect. Book-lovers of the world, meet Normal Books.

    "We think that becoming more conventional is truly the most 'strikingly unconventional' move we could make," says President and Publisher David Borgenicht. "Readers have come to expect the unexpected from us, and I'm pretty sure no one was expecting this."

    The Normal Books imprint will offer a completely retooled frontlist of regular, completely straightforward books, with titles including Breakfast for Breakfast, Miss Peregrine's Home for Regular Children, and Pride and Prejudice without Zombies.

    This groundbreaking, daringly creative move was engineered with readers in mind, says Associate Publisher and Creative Director Jason Rekulak. "We’re convinced there’s an audience out there that craves the same-old, same-old,” he says. “We're excited to stop pushing the envelope, and start nudging it back into the desk drawer next to the pens and rubber bands." The concept is expected to yield a more manageable workflow as well. “The sales reps have been clamoring for less buzzworthy titles,” notes Moneka Hewlett, Senior Sales Director.

    Besides its new catalog of traditional print titles, Normal Books intends to release all subsequent books in eBook format: as plain text with no pictures and in a single small, non-dynamic font. Says Vice President Brett Cohen: "In the digital age, Normal Books will be square in the middle of the pack when it comes to using new, innovative technology. There’s no need to show off."

    Below are the titles that Normal Books will be releasing in the coming months:


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