I never really got on the Martha Stewart bandwagon so I didn't suffer disappointment about the whole tax-evasion/time-in-prison thing. When I decided to take up sewing last year, however, a favorite blog led me to an announcement about Martha's new compendium on fabric arts, so I decided to give her a try. And wow, was I ever impressed.
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabrics Crafts is a gorgeous and easy to understand guide to sewing (machine and hand), embroidery, quilting, appliqué, and fabric printing. The book is everything that you would expect from Martha -- thorough, inspiring, and beautifully and elegantly produced -- but it is also accessible, encouraging, friendly, and noticeably devoid of projects that are crazy-complicated.
In a step-by-step way, the books takes you through each of the featured crafts, providing solid explanations of the basics coupled with directions for a few sample projects. The photographs are all gorgeous, with colors that pop off the page and ideas that make you want to pull out your sewing machine and give them all a try right there and then. The book comes complete with a CD-ROM of additional patterns and templates, as well as a handy guide to different fabric types. I plan to slowly work my way through all of the projects in the book and hope that -- by the time I'm finished -- Martha will have produced a similar compendium for knitting and fiber crafts.