In mid-November, Minneapolis writers Rebecca Yaker and Trish Hoskins debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list with their first book, “One-Yard Wonders.” Very nice.
That puts them right up there with Sarah Palin and Stephen King. Well, not quite: The book is No. 1 on Amazon’s crafts and sewing categories. Still, in a field awash with new titles, making a grand entrance takes more than a little style.
Yaker is a designer whose claim to fame is a notorious sock monkey dress, and Hoskins is co-owner of Crafty Planet, a Minneapolis craft supply store that is the heart and rock ‘n’ roll soul of the Twin Cities craft scene. If crafting, to you, means cross-stitched geese with bows around their necks, then it’s time for an update. Contemporary crafting takes inspiration from the art and design world, a competitive and supportive online community, and a desire to replace mass-produced objects with handmade things. The No-Coast Craft-o-Rama, which takes place Dec. 4 and 5 at the Midtown Global Market, is one place to see what’s happening in today’s craft world. The American Craft Council is relocating its offices and magazine from New York to Minneapolis in 2010, a signal that our crafters are leading the movement.
Hoskins credits Martha Stewart, on a mass-market level, with banishing geese from the craft world.
“She made crafting this big thing to strive and aspire towards —achieving the perfect, custom look,” she says. “Then at the more grassroots level, you had these Generation X and Yers coming from the punk/indie DIY movement and translating that ‘do it yourself’ ethos into the crafting world, moving beyond music & zines and such. I don’t see [the popularity of crafting] cooling off at all. Rather, it seems to continue to grow as far as we see at Crafty Planet, anyway.”
The book came about when the authors noticed that most new craft books focused on knitting, but many new crafters were interested in sewing. They decided to create a project-based book, including patterns and instructions to make 101 items, and put out the call for submissions.
“The blogosphere proved to be our greatest medium. I would stay up late at night reading and researching sewing blogs, sometimes directly soliciting submissions. Overall, people were so excited about the concept they would blog about the book, which ultimately lead to more exposure and more submissions,” says Yaker. “We had an incredible response, and selected the final 101 projects from nearly 200 submissions which came from all over the world.”
Yaker and Hoskins camped out in Minneapolis library meeting rooms to essentially curate submissions and write the framework of the book.
“‘One-Yard Wonders’ was a huge undertaking. Trish and I worked great together; we split up the projects for editing, and then went back and edited each other’s edits. It was very involved, but also helped guarantee accuracy,” says Yaker, who says she owns a vast number of vintage and contemporary sewing, knitting and needlework books. “They are amazing resources and sources of inspiration, and I can’t stop buying them. I’m not alone, am I?”