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Tag Archives | crochet

Books | The Crocheter’s Companion by Nancy Brown

Reported by Angela Butler-Carter

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

I do not knit. That’s not to say that I’ve never knitted, but I currently do not knit because I was not good at it. It was frustrating because I so wanted to be good at it. I have a co-worker who is an exceptional knitter, and she makes the most wonderful things for her kids and family. Being the crafter that I am of course I wanted to try it and so a knitting soiree was had. I tried –  I really did – and I had moments of proficiency and then it vanished. Just like that! I’d do so well for a few rows then ruin! And I never picked it up again. I sadly thought my time playing with yarn was done.

Then I received this book, The Crocheter’s Companion, written by Nancy Brown and published by Interweave Press.

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Using the book I was able to try crochet, which I find to be so much easier that knitting! I still didn’t have much success by my high standards but I must say that the book was a great help. With it by my side for reference, I was able to understand many of the crochet videos I was watching and learn a lot.

The Crocheter’s Companion is intended as a reference book, so it has an extensive table of contents to easily find the topic you want. There’s also a spiral binding so it will lay flat while your hands are kept free to crochet. The book is thorough, with plenty of illustrations on every topic. International readers are taken care of with British and Metric measurements, and there’s reference for international stitch symbols, too.

Pros:

  • Measurements provided in U.S., UK, and Metric sizes
  • Illustrations at every step including yarn labels, and each crochet stitch
  • Reference for abbreviations & international stitch symbols

Cons:

  • Yellow orange tones of all the drawings can be a bit drab for reading.

The Crocheter’s Companion: Revised and Updated by Nancy Brown is available on Amazon.com for around $15.00.

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.