Saturday, August 2, 2008

Book Review

I will be reviewing the books that I own and buy so you can find out first hand what is in it without having to go to the bookstore. I will list each pattern and give a small desc so you will get a feel for what you could do with the book. I try to be fairly detailed so you don't suffer with a book you hate. If you have any extra questions about a book, email me and I will try to answer it for you.

I wanted to begin my book reviews with my favorite crochet book that I own. Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet is my bible for crochet. I use this book more often than any other for design my projects. Click on the picture to be directed to Amazon to get this $25 book for about $10 used. That's even better than what I paid for my used copy ($12 to be exact)

Inside you will find the History of Crochet, which I actually enjoyed reading. It hasn't been around very long.

After the history you then get the basics. They go through all types of yarns and materials. They then give you the basic techniques of crochet (right and left handed) in very easy to see computer generated pictures -- not pictures of people crocheting, which can be very difficult to decipher. This section goes beyond the sc, hdc, dc, and tr to include rounds, poststitches, inc, dec, clusters, bobbles, puffs and more-- all in right and left handed explanations. This section alone is worth the money and it just gets better from there.

Next are the patterns, and at first I just glossed over these because I was interested in specialty stitches more than anything (we will get to those shortly), but then taking the time to look at each of these has increased my appreciation for this book even more. These are beautiful classic patterns that are very detailed and not at all stuffy.

The first pattern is called "Wrapped in Love" and is the design you see on the cover (minus the necklace made of wire, that comes later). Beautiful simple wrap with interesting tassel ends in the corners. These are great patterns also because they give you charts for each pattern as well (this can be handy when the wording is confusing on the written pattern)

Second pattern is "Decorative Hot Pad" very simple hot pad but it is done on the diagonal which makes it more visually stimulating then a simple sc, or dc hot pad you may find for free on the web.

Third pattern is "Button Top Socks" if I had the urge to make socks (little too much work for such a small item that you don't really see when worn) these would be first on my list. Not bulky at all, they look almost knit with a cute textured top.

Fourth pattern is "Mufflers", cute and basic in a seed stitch pattern. Looks like a scarf.

Fifth pattern is "Granny Squre Poncho" and is for a little girl. I love this pattern and can't wait to make it for my daughter. The edging around the joined Granny Squares gives it a more professional (as in sold in stores) look. They chose really cute colors too, almost looks like a garden with colored flowers surrounded in green.

Sixth pattern is "Shell of Shells" and is an women's shell top. Done in a shell pattern this is suprisingly unbulky and looks like it drapes well. Would be good under a jacket, I would probably line if it I were wearing it by itself.

Seventh pattern is "Aran isles muffler and tam" its a hat and scarf set for a young girl and is super cute. Reminds me of Norman Rockwell pictures of winter. Has cable stitches and other textured stitches that make it look very expensive.

Next the patterns go "Beyond the Basics" they give you a tutorial on working with color and give you lots of color wheels and tips on choosing colors.

They then give you the techniques on joining colors and working with tapesty as well as filet, motifs and doilies. They also touch on bead crochet and wire crochet. This book covers everything!!! They even give you Tunisian crochet patterns and techniques.

The eight pattern is called "Lap of Luxury" and is a tri color afghan with fringe. Beautiful yarn in a textured stitch.

The ninth pattern is "Baby Bobbles" and is a cute baby blanket done with pastel bobbles on a white background. Looks super soft and great texture for baby to touch.

Tenth pattern is "Delicate Filet Edging" which shows you how to dress up pillowcases and sheet edges with a prety floral edging of filet.

Eleventh pattern is "Virginia Roses" and is a cute rose doilie. I am not a doilie maker (maybe in another 30 years or so) so I don't know if this is a good one, but I don't find it offensive. It helps you to learn to join motifs. One of the motifs is sewn onto a pin cusion which is cute and wouldn't mind trying.

Twelth pattern is "Irish Roses" and is a covered button crochet pattern of cute roses in different sizes. I could see putting these on a purse or scarf.

Thirteenth pattern is "Wedding Keepsake" and is an awesome beaded bag. Looks like intricate shell pattern with tons of clear crystal beads, I would love to try this one day.

Fourteenth pattern is "Beaded Heart Pins" and are pretty substantial pin brooches. They have two on a dress form and they take up most of the chest.

Fifteenth pattern is "Amulet Necklace" and lets you stick your toe in the water of wire crochet. Small pouch necklace with smaller flowers adorning it.

Sixteenth pattern is "Elegant Wire Jewelry" and I love this necklace. It is the other cover image and is made from lots of wire chains banded together. Simple but chic.

Seventeenth pattern is "In a Tunisian Garden" and is a tunisian pillow with a picture of a hummingbird with flowers. Very pretty and not at all old lady looking. Looks fairly difficult but is labeled for a beginner. Will probably try it one day.

Eighteenth pattern is "Child's Tunisian Vest" vest done in Tunisian stitch, which I love the stitches but not sure if I would make a vest for my daughter with it. Could be made into a pillow or blanket though.

Nineteenth pattern is "Medallion" a small flower applique that the child modeling the vest wears between the vest opening on the shirt underneath. Cute applique done in three colors.

Pattern number twenty is the fabled "Philosopher's Coat" if you have heard of this book you have heard of this coat. Super great for an old woman, I would never sport it, but it is so detailed it would probably take years to complete. This is the ultimate test of your crocheting skills. Tons of colors and tons of stitches. Insanely complicated, and I am sure it was a pain to convert to a pattern.

That is where the completed patterns end but not where the book ends. Now we move onto the crochet pattern gallery.

I love, love, love this section. This is where I get all of my specialty stitches I use in alot of my designs. Each of the patterns has a 2 x 2 close up picture, a graph pattern and a written pattern. In total there are 107 patterns. Then there are 4 flower patterns with 2 leaf patterns to accompany them. They have 6 beautiful granny squares (more like granny art) then 9 flowery (round and flower shaped, but not a flower) motifs. I am making a scarf out of the "Mica Motif" right now.

Then they move on to Filet. They have 3 filet diagrams and 4 filet edgings.

After that they have crocheted edging patterns. 18 in total. I used the "crab" edging in my nitty gritty washcloth that is in my Etsy shop.

To fuel your learning they then dedicate 5 pages and 9 patterns of Tunisian crochet to finish off the book. On the page before the index, they supply you with online links to resources and suppliers.

For me, this is the best all inclusive book that I own and I recommend it to anyone that wants to design their own patterns. This gets my highest honors 4 balls of fun.

1 comment:

lovemaryxoxo said...

What a great review. Thanks for posting! Fellow crocheter and crafter :)