Free Stuff

In the Age of the Web, where electrons rule and cellulose is passe, it is a strange paradox that publishers print books full of web links. Well I don't know about you, but I've never lost my affection for the comfortable heft of a paperback, with its portability and low-tech accessibility. Something that doesn't take 4-1/2 minutes to boot up!

C&T Publishing's series of "Free Stuff on the Internet" books, written by Judy Heim and Gloria Hansen, are an extension of their very successful "Free Stuff for Quilters on the Internet," the ultimate guide to the best websites for quilters, published in 1998. This year's offering includes a 2nd edition of the quilter's guide, plus similar handbooks for Sewing Fanatics (guess they decided against "Sewers"), Stitchers, and Crafty Kids.

There are those who contend that with the many available search engines, buying a hard copy listing of web resources is a waste of money. Obviously these folks underestimate the value of a creative intelligence, an editorial presence that can sort and organize on some other principle than keywords and boolean expressions. Judy and Gloria are just the kind of folks we want for our web guides of textile sites -- informed, funny, and able to sort the straw from the fleece. If you value your time online, you'll find these guides to web sites not only useful but fun, and will keep them beside your keyboard whenever you go surfing.

Free Stuff for Quilters on the Internet, 2nd edition, is a complete rewrite of the first book, with 150 new sites listed and complete updates throughout. Here you'll find not only the biggest, most popular sites, but the many smaller specialized sites that may have just the information you're looking for. Mystery quilts, foundation piecing, tips and techniques, maillists and forums, quilt design software, fabrics, dying and a great deal more are categorized and annotated in the idiosyncratic and sometimes mischievous style of the authors.

Even more helpful, especially for those new to the web, are the tutorials interspersed throughout on such subjects as downloading files, maillist etiquette, setting up you e-mail client, reading newsgroups, and common error messages you will encounter as you explore the WWW. These same tutorials, in one form or another, are included in all four books of this series.

If you have sewing interests broader than just quilting, Free Stuff for Sewing Fanatics on the Internet offers a broader array of sewing alternatives, including outerwear, hats, and lingerie. You know the web really does have everything when you can find a site with instructions for making your own dressmaker's dummy out of duct tape! Among other topics in this book are doll and teddy bear making, smocking, bridal, and costuming.

More inclined toward knitting or hardanger? Free Stuff for Stitchers on the Internet may be your choice. Embroidery, tapestry, beading, rug-making and weaving are all included in this survey of the best the web has to offer. Lynn's favorite site in this book, which she probably would not have ever otherwise discovered, is Pig Dog Farm (, where kinky patterns and unusual offerings reign.

Perhaps the most creative of all the series, though, is Free Stuff for Crafty Kids on the Internet. There is a wealth of material on the net for children, from the youngest toddler to the sophisticated teen, and there aren't many projects you can't find there. Whether your medium is crayola or styrofoam, paper or rubber stamps, you'll find something to pique you imagination. My favorite link in this collection is the "Yucky Stuff Page," which includes "projects so gross even kids who hate crafts will love them. Examples: 'Squished bugs' and 'bagged heads.'" To help it appeal to kids as well as adults, this book is adorned with funky drawings and fonts, and should provide hours of absorption for the lucky kid with a browser at his or her disposal.

While most general web guides have room for only one or two textile links, Judy and Gloria have provided us a wealth of resources in this series of books. Whether you're new to the internet, or think you've seen it all, these books will surprise and delight you.

You can buy these books individually in our store through the links from their titles, or the whole set for the special price of $49.99, more than 25% off retail!


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