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Tag Archives | Crochet books

Rustic Modern Crochet by Yumiko Alexander

Reported by Chel Micheline

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

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Most of us who crochet tend to look to the internet when we are searching out new ideas or inspiration. In this age of Pinterest, Ravelry, and a tremendous amount of crochet video tutorials on YouTube, sometimes it’s hard to imagine what a crochet book might offer that the internet does not.

In the book “Rustic Modern Crochet: 18 Designs Inspired by Nature” by Yumiko Alexander, the benefit is found in the innovation of the designs and patterns.

Yumiko Alexander is not just a master at crochet, but an incredibly gifted designer as well. The crochet patterns offered in “Rustic Modern Crochet” are truly out of the ordinary. Inspired by the natural world (particularly sea life), the finished pieces look like a combination of wearable art and haute couture.

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There are 18 patterns in this book, and the majority of them are for shawls, scarves, and shrugs.

Each garment is named for the sea life that inspired it, and each pattern is completely unique and quite stunning. I’ve seen a lot of crochet patterns in my online travels, and I can honestly say I haven’t seen many things like the designs in this book.

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The caveat to that is some of the designs are more about being fashionable than they are about being versatile.

If you are looking for instructions on how to crochet a timeless, traditional, heavy-duty  sweater that will keep you warm through through the next decade of winters, “Rustic Modern Crochet” is not the source for information on how to do that.

However, if you are looking for interesting and innovative ways to crochet yarn into fascinating yet completely wearable apparel, you should absolutely consider adding this book to your collection.

Because the designs are progressive, this is not a good book for total beginners. Although there are wonderful pattern guides, including illustrated layouts, the variation in crochet stitches requires a bit of experience.

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However, if you have the patience, the crochet experience, and are looking for a fresh and modern take on crochet, “Rustic Modern Crochet” is an inspiring and unconventional book full of really  designs. Overall, I rate this book as highly recommended.

One very important note about “Rustic Modern Crochet” is that (like happens to many pattern books) it went to press with a few errors in the patterns. If you visit Yumiko Alexander’s “Pattern Errata” webpage, you will find necessary corrections.

Pros

  • Innovative and inspiring crochet designs.
  • Well-presented instructions and patterns.
  • Beautiful photographs and layout throughout.

 Cons

  • Projects may be too complex for beginners.
  • Designs may not be to everyone’s taste.
  • There are several errors in the crochet patterns in the book so you’ll have to download corrections.

Rustic Modern Crochet: 18 Designs Inspired by Nature by Yumiko Alexander is published by Interweave Press and is available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon.com.

Books | Crochet At Home by Brett Bara

Reported by Chel Micheline

Disclosure: This site participates in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

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I’ll admit it- I consider myself a bit of a lazy crocheter. Crochet is something that I do for fun, to relax, not something I do to achieve a certain level of mastery simply for the sake of increasing my skill level. I’m sure many other hobbyists feel the same way.

I spent many years doing needlepoint as a hobby, and as a result, have spent many hours hunched over and squinting at complex stitch and color charts. The better I got at needlepoint, the more complex the charts got, and the more complex the charts got, the less interested I became in the whole process.

Crochet was my “break” from needlepoint. When I started to crochet, I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything that involved patterns or stitch guides. I just wanted to simply work the yarn with my fingers and the crochet hook, letting muscle memory take over.

I quickly mastered a few different stitches, and I have been able to crochet many, many basic things with those stitches – most notably, straight afghans, blankets for the cats, and scarves. But how many scarves can a person crochet (especially when said person lives in Southwest Florida)? Of course, I turned to the internet for some ideas. But there’s so much out there that after spending several hours searching for potential projects, I became completely overwhelmed and went back to making more scarves.

A few months ago I started referring back to the crochet books I purchased when I first began the hobby and realized books are a wonderful resource for someone interested in crochet simply because they are edited. I say “edited” meaning that there’s someone else out there who culls through all the thousands of projects out there, and then chooses just a handful, organizes them, and makes sure that the instructions are written in a concise way and that all supporting illustrations and information are provided. Basically – a good crochet book is having someone hand-select projects and deliver them to you in an easy-to-use format.

Crochet At Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living“, edited by Brett Bara, is one such book. There are several things I enjoy about this book.

The first is that every project in the book is fairly unique. By this, I mean it’s not some variation on a giant granny square. There is everything from wreaths to dolls to bowls and coasters in this book. And every project is not only beautiful (without being cheesy), but in addition none of the projects require extreme skill.

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Don’t get me wrong, there are many projects that are based on the granny square motif (it is a foundation of crochet, after all), but those that do include it are well thought out and designed in such a way that even if you fill your house with them, it won’t look like a crochet explosion from the 1970’s.

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In addition to the projects that make use of the traditional stitches and construction of crochet, there are some lovely items that introduce new approaches to crochet.

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And a bonus is that many of the projects in this book are very easily adapted to other projects – table runners can be adapted to shawls, bowls can be adapted into bags. The possibilities are endless.

“Crochet at Home” is a modern, inspiring book that deserves a place on any beginning to intermediate crocheter’s shelf. Overall, I rate this book as highly recommended.

Pros

  • Beautiful and appealing projects.
  • Easy to follow instructions and patterns.
  • Colorful and well-designed layout.
  • Perfect for the beginner.
  • All yarn weights represented.

 Cons

  • Projects may be too basic for very advanced crocheters.

Crochet At Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living is published by Interweave Press and is available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon.com.

Books | Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell

Reported by Chel Micheline

Disclosure: This site participates in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

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I started crocheting about eighteen months ago. Despite the fact I armed myself with a bunch of “Let’s Get Started With Crochet” and “Crochet for Absolute Beginners!”-style books before I even got started, the first thing I realized is that I was not going to learn the basics of crochet by looking at the photographs and diagrams in the books.

After three days of frustration (as well as a series of really odd knots that sprang from my crochet hook) I finally gave in and headed to YouTube. Within a few minutes, I had crocheted my first row of foundation chains, and then moved on to a second row of single crochet stitches. I made a simple (but wonky) blanket. For my next project, I wanted to try double crochet, so I returned to YouTube and learned it in a snap.

I’ve been kind of “making do” with those stitches ever since then. But earlier this year I wanted to learn more and expand my repertoire, so I headed back online. But there was just too much information, and it wasn’t organized or easily to refer to. My computer lives on my desk, and I crochet in different areas in the house (not by my desk) so I didn’t want to have to run to my desk with all my yarn and crochet hooks every time I wanted to try something new with crochet.  If I want crochet instruction or ideas, I want to turn to my bookshelf and be able to flip through a book, find something interesting, and then refer to that page as often as I need.  And I realized there were a lot of good crochet books out there, books that were a culmination of all the great things randomly pinned to Pinterest and presented on You Tube, all in a single volume.

One of those “good” crochet books is “Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos” by Sarah Hazell, published by Interweave Press.

True to its title, the book does contain 200 different crochet stitches. Each stitch is “thumbnailed” in the table of contents, and the book is color-coded: as the stitches get harder, the page accents and example photos change color. No, that isn’t essential for learning crochet, but it’s certainly a great way to organize the book (and also definitely eye candy – this is an absolutely beautiful book.)

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There is some “getting started with crochet” information at the front  (as is the case with most books on any craft) but there’s not too much, so experienced crocheters can flip past those pages and get to the good stuff – the Directory of Stitches.

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Each page of the Directory of Stitches contains either one or two stitches, with full color photos and diagrams to round things out.

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The book starts out with some basic crochet stitches, and variations on basic stitches. There were definitely a lot of stitches I have seen before, but there were quite a bit I hadn’t seen, and I loved having them all in one resource. As I said earlier, I’m a fan of flipping through a book when I need to reference something.

As the pages continue, the complexity of the stitches rises.

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However, they didn’t get so complicated that I got confused, which is a big deal for me. For some reason, crochet stitches and patterns fascinate me until they begin to completely boggle my mind, and then I just retreat way back to single crochet and blanket-making. This book didn’t make me want to retreat – instead, it made me want to work my way through every single stitch in the book.

All in all, I believe this is an essential book for beginning to intermediate crocheters. The instructions are clear and concise, the photographs are very helpful, the diagrams are easy to follow, and the overall color and design of the book is gorgeous. I have already flipped through it numerous times, and I plan on leaving it on the coffee table so that I can refer to it constantly. Overall, I rate this book as highly recommended.

Pros

  • Comprehensive.
  • Well-designed.
  • Easy to refer to.

 Cons

  • Stitches may be too simple for advanced crocheters.

Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos by Sarah Hazell is published by Interweave Press and is available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon.com.