Reported by Dana Vitek
I’m a beginner crocheter; I just started in January, and while I have moved passed the “what is THIS mess” stage, I’m still new to pattern reading and understanding. I chose Easy Crocheted Accessories by Carol Meldrum as one of my first reference books. It has tons of cute, easy projects to choose from, and is written in a clear, easy-to-read format.
The author included a fabulous “Materials, Tools & Techniques” section as the first chapter, great for newbies like me, but I suspect even a seasoned crocheter might learn a thing or two. She has terrific photos and diagrams of different stitches, which makes it easy to see what the finished swatch should look like. She also included an in-depth discussion on yarn types and how to go about making yarn substitutions. I really felt that this introduction added a lot to the book.
I picked three projects to make, and have spent the last few weeks crocheting furiously. I have an confession to make: I am a pattern maker’s worst nightmare, because regardless how how much experience I (do not) have with a craft, I assume that if I can’t understand the directions, something is wrong with THEM, not with ME. Thankfully, I had very few confusion episodes with these patterns.
I started with this super cute striped, felted bag.
It’s the first project in the book, and as written, requires the crocheter to change yarns every four rows. I assume that is to help you practice changing colors and fastening off, skills that every new crocheter needs tons of work on. I changed the pattern up a little (see, I told you, nightmare), and switched yarns every eight rows (or so). This bag is simple, uses only single crochet, and according to the teen-aged girls I had around as I was making it, “totally CUTE! I would DEFINITELY carry that!”
Feeling pretty good about myself, I tackled project number 19, the Open-mesh shrug.
I have to tell you, I’m pleased as punch with the way this turned out; it fits just like it is supposed to, and is something I would not be embarrassed to wear to work over a tank top. I had a little bit of trouble with the armhole shaping on the first side, but it was easier on the second, once I knew what I was doing. The last couple rows of the pattern didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but by that time I was feeling confident enough to just wing it, and it turned out great.
Finally, I whipped up this adorable bracelet in a couple of hours, because if there’s one thing I have languishing in my craft stash, it’s beads!
The pattern was simple to follow, although I’m glad I have a background in jewelry design and construction, because the directions were not all that detailed on how to attach the clasp, and I imagine if you didn’t know how, it might be confusing. I dare say that mine came out better than the author’s (sorry Carol!), and I definitely see myself making this one (and variations of it) again and again.
Each pattern in the book has a side bar called “Before you start” which lists all of the particulars (materials, hook size, gauge, finished size, key techniques and abbreviations) for that project in one easy-to-find place. I loved that feature, as I was able to tell at a glance whether or not I already had all the right skills, and all the right stuff to do the project. I especially loved that she re-listed the abbreviations on each page, because standard crochet pattern instructions read like another language, and I hate flipping pages to decipher them. She also has “Tips” and “New Skills” boxes scattered throughout the book which I found to be quite helpful.
Speaking of at-a-glance details, here are mine for this book:
- Great photos of finished projects as well as detail shots.
- Clear directions in standard American crochet terminology (the author is Scottish, but I never would have guessed).
- Includes a resource section on where to find specialty yarns in the U.S., as well as a project by project listing of each yarn used, a glossary, and an Internet resource list.
- Some of the patterns were not to my taste, but many were. I’ll get a lot of use out of this book.
- I wish this book was spiral-bound so it would lay flat while I’m working. I have this gripe about most books, though.
- I’m a lefty, and there was not a “special for lefties because you’re so awesome” section. Again, I have this gripe about most crochet books, and if I really need special directions, I hold a mirror up to the diagrams and pretend I’m DaVinci.
Where to buy:
I got mine at Michael’s, but you can also find it at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher. If you have a local yarn shop, you could check with them too. It retails for $24.99, which makes it less than a buck a pattern, a great deal as far as I’m concerned. I give this book two overworked thumbs up!
Do you have this book? Do you love it, or would you change something about it? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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