The Mercer community is full of creative, artistic people. We have artists and crafters hiding out in every corner of the county, and the art and craft resources are some of the most popular sections of our library. Listed below are some resources for artists and crafters of all types, from beginner to professional, and from traditional to modern. Stop by the library or visit our many online resources for some inspiration!

Resources for Beginning Crafters

Of course, it's often best to learn a new skill from someone who already practices it. But what if you don't know anyone you can ask for help? The library has many books and videos for those trying to learn a new art.

Sewing School book cover

Getting started crochet / Judith L. Swartz. Loveland, CO : Interweave Press, c2006. 746.43 SWA

"I can't believe I'm crocheting!" [videorecording(DVD)] Little Rock, AR : Leisure Arts, c2006. DVD 746.43 LEA

The complete photo guide to sewing : 1200 full-color how-to photos / editors of Creative Publishing international. Minneapolis, MN : Creative Pub. international, 2009. 646.2 SIN

Sewing school / by Andria Lisle and Amie Petronis Plumley ; photography by Justin Fox Burks. North Adams, MA : Storey Pub., 2010. 646.2 LIS

"Learn how to tie dye" [videorecording (DVD)] : complete 3 volume set / [presented by] ; written by Tom Rolofson and Martine Purdy. [Manitou Springs, Colo.] :, c2005. DVD 746.6 LEA

"The complete beginner's guide to knitting" [videorecording(DVD)] / Nici McNally. New York : Loyal Films, 2004. DVD 746.432 COM - a fantastic website for knitters, featuring an extensive glossary of terms and abbreviations; a forum to chat with other knitters; and a fantastic collection of clear, easy-to-follow how-to videos for various knitting techniques. There are videos for various cast-on techniques, continental and English knitting, increases, decreases, advanced techniques, and binding off. - This website features user-submitted videos, so you'll find everything under the sun here (including some content not appropriate for children, so use with supervision). Try searching for any knitting or crochet technique you're trying to learn, lessons for any musical instrument, and many other art subjects. - Good for anyone who enjoys finding inspiration or instructions on the internet! Create your own pin boards by topic (mine include holidays, food ideas, knitting, crafts for the kids, ideas for the library, etc) and “pin” something from anywhere on the web. – The “largest DIY community” on the web. It features step-by-step instructions for all kinds of user-submitted projects, from cupcake ideas to “Transforming your riding mower into the ultimate snow mover.” Categories include Food, Outside, Living, Play, Technology, and Workshop. Projects can be viewed for free, and a free account allows you to submit your own projects, contribute to the forums, and keep track of your favorite Instructables. A “pro account” removes advertising, gives you access to eBooks, lets you download PDF instructions for projects, and more. 


Local sources for art classes:

Your Arts Program, Inc. - Manitowish, Wisconsin
Nicolet College - Rhinelander, but offering outreach programs at their Minocqua campus as well as other community locations, including Mercer.

Knitters' Group at the Mercer Public Library - The Knitters meet at the Mercer Library every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. Bring a project and enjoy the company of fellow knitters, ask questions, and share hints. New members are always welcome to join this friendly group, and it's a great place to ask for help.


"Geeky Crafts"

A big new trend is the combination of electronics, science, engineering, and crafting -- also known as crafts for geeks! The whole key is building interactivity and electronic features into your art. It's not nearly as scary as it sounds, and kids love it. You can get started with little or no experience using some of these resources.

Backyard Ballistics book cover

Make: electronics : learning by discovery / Charles Platt with photographs and illustrations by the author. Sebastopol, Calif. : O'Reilly, 2009, c2010. 621.38 PLA

Getting started with Arduino / Massimo Banzi. Beijing ; Cambridge : Make:Books / O'Reilly, c2009. 005.1 BAN

Backyard ballistics : build potato cannons, paper match rockets, Cincinnati fire kites, tennis ball mortars, and more dynamite devices / William Gurstelle. Chicago : Chicago Review Press, c2001. J 531 GUR

Making things move : DIY mechanisms for inventors, hobbyists, and artists / Dustyn Roberts. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2010. 621.8 ROB

Snip, burn, solder, shred : seriously geeky stuff to make with your kids / by David Erik Nelson. San Francisco : No Starch Press, c2011. 745.5 NEL

Make Magazine - - The ultimate resource for geeky crafters. The Make community has developed Maker Faires all over the country, prints a quarterly magazine, and features lots of project guides on their website.

Knit and Crochet the Unusual

Knitting and crochet has moved out of grandma's house and into the mainstream. The resources below are for those who'd like to move beyond knitted washcloths and work on projects that are stylish and unusual.






Custom knits : unleash your inner designer with top-down and improvisational techniques / Wendy Bernard ; photographs by Kimball Hall ; photostyling by Mark Auria. New York : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008. 746.43 BER

Modern top-down knitting : sweaters, dresses, skirts & accessories inspired by the techniques of Barbara G. Walker. / Kristina McGowan ; photography by Gudrun Georges. New York ; London : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010. 746.432 MCG

Amigurumi knits : patterns for 20 cute mini knits / Hansi Singh. Minneapolis : Creative Pub. International, 2009. 746.43 SIN

Creepy cute crochet : zombies, ninjas, robots, and more! / by Christen Haden. Philadelphia, PA : Quirk Books, c2008. 746.43 HAD

Knitted wild animals : 15 adorable, easy-to-knit toys / Sarah Keen. New York : Watson-Guptill, 2009. 746.432 KEE

Websites for Knitters:

Knitty - - A quarterly eMagazine featuring stylish, professional patterns.
Ravelry - - A community for fiber artists. Thousands of free, searchable patterns; a forum for asking questions and chatting with other artists; and extensive profiles that let you show off your work, post your own patterns, keep track of your stash, and organize your patterns and library. - Publisher of books and magazines on knitting, crochet, jewelry making, beading, painting and drawing, sewing, quilting, spinning and weaving. Their website contains a wealth of information, and daily newsletters on every topic. Register to join for free, and get access to daily newsletters, free patterns, how-to videos, and more.

Wendy Knits - - Blog and site by Wendy Johnson, author of Wendy Knits Lace, Toe up Socks for Every Body, and Socks from the Toe Up in the library’s collection. Our local knitting guru swears by Wendy’s patterns and techniques! Lots of free patterns, “mystery” patterns, sock patterns, and charts and instructions.

"Not Your Mom's Crafts"

Here are a few more ideas for hip crafters - we've gone beyond glue guns and glitter, and moved into the modern trends of repurposed and unique crafts for everyone.





Craft challenge : dozens of ways to repurpose a pillowcase / Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott. New York : Lark Books, c2009. 746.4 TOU

Making handmade books : 100+ bindings, structures & forms / Alisa Golden. New York : Lark Crafts, c2010. 686.3 GOL

Stray sock sewing : making unique, imaginative sock dolls step-by-step / by Daniel ; [photography by Liao Chia Wei]. Cincinnati, Ohio : North Light, 2008, c2006. 745.59 TA

Wild and wonderful fleece animals : with full-size patterns for 20 cuddly critters / Linda Carr. Minneapolis, MN : Creative Pub. International, c2008. 745.592 CAR

Websites for Modern Crafters:

Craft Magazine - A sister community to, featuring creative projects for every craft you can think of. - a distinctly edgy and modern collection of sewing ideas, from creating from scratch to modifying existing garments and projects. Mostly video-focused.


For Quilters

In Mercer, we are especially proud of one of our local quilting expert and library volunteer, Jane Zillmer. Here are Jane's picks for some useful website for quilters. 



 – Like Ravelry for quilters and sewers. This is in BETA version, so expect slowness and quirks. Has a lot of potential, though. Record your stash, search their fabrics database, record projects and notes. Record the patterns you own and search for new ones.

Quilting – A directory of blogs, quilt shop locator, quilter’s market to search for quilting products, a director of quilting guilds, and much more.

American Quilters’ – Details on the society’s activities (including Paducah show), the American Quilter Magazine, Quilt Life Magazine, a shop for quilting books, patterns and news.

National Quilt Association - – Lists of certified teachers & quilt judges, raffles, quilt shows, Quilting Quarterly magazine, and more. 



Websites For Woodworkers



Popular Woodworking Magazine – – Projects from the magazine are often available as free PDF downloads. – – Includes informative articles on different aspects of woodworking. Today’s homepage included articles on gluing and clamping, stabilizing an unusual piece of wood for turning, and Finishing 101: staining and dyeing. Also includes a forum, blogs, and gallery of projects. 


Selling Your Stuff

Inevitably, any serious artist or crafter will begin to think, "Can I make a living at this?" The allure of making money while doing what you love is powerful. It's never easy starting your own business, but there are many Mercer residents who have turned their art into a profitable career. Here are a few resources to get you started.

 Handmade Marketplace book cover




The handmade marketplace / Kari Chapin ; illustrated by Emily Martin (a.k.a the black apple) and Jen Shelley. North Adams, MA : Storey Pub., 2010. 745.5 CHA
Handmade for profit! : hundreds of secrets to success in selling arts & crafts / Barbara Brabec. New York : M. Evans and Company, c1996.
Your crafts business : a legal guide / by Richard Stim. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2003. 346.73 Sti
The craft business answer book & resource guide : answers to hundreds of troublesome questions about starting, marketing, and managing a homebased business efficiently, legally, and profitably / Barbara Brabec. New York : M. Evans and Co., 1998.

The small business start-up kit / by Peri Pakroo ; edited by Barbara Kate Repa. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2006. 346.73 PAK

Working for yourself : law & taxes for independent contractors, freelancers & consultants / by Stephen Fishman. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2008. 343.73 FIS

EBay for dummies [downloadable ebook] / by Marsha Collier. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley Pub., c2009.

The crafter's guide to taking great photos : the best techniques for showcasing your handmade creations by Heidi Adnum. "With The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos, you'll learn that you don't need expensive equipment and a professional photo studio to get quality results. Get simple, practical advice presented with the crafter in mind. Inside you'll find the most important fundamentals, including equipment advice, camera settings, composition and styling, evaluation of common problems, answers to frequently asked questions, and practitioner spotlighting. After your work is captured, Heidi Adnum then provides her professional advice on postproduction."--P. [4] of cover.

Websites for Sellers:

Ebay - - The most well-know auction site.
Etsy - - Specializing in handmade and unique item sales. Individuals can set up a virtual shop to sell their arts and crafts, and sales are at a set price rather than the auction format of Ebay.


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