Lion Brand Yarn: Just Hats Lion Brand Yarn: Just Scarves Edited by Nancy J. Thomas and Adina Klein Potter Craft
I was very pleasantly surprised by these two books from Potter Craft, the new crafts imprint of Random House. Crochet and knitting are given equal billing, and the patterns for each are -- for the most part -- fun and stylish. Even granny squares look cool, save for an exception or two. Considering my current take on the granny (*please* make them go away for a few years; they can come back when crochet has had enough of a break to feel refreshed and invigorated), that's saying a LOT. Either book would make a great gift for a beginner, as the projects start out very basic and increase in complexity as you progress through the book. They'll also serve as pretty great inspiration for advancing stitchers to experiment a little.
Soft cover 112 pages (each) $12.00US Available at Powells.com: Just Hats, Just Scarves
Wrap Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd Interweave Press
There are only two crochet patterns in this second concept book from the wildly talented and prolific women at Interweave Press. Both are lovely capelets, by Lily Chin and Mari Lynn Patrick, respectively. But just as I gave a rave review to the stunningly successful Scarf Style several months ago, so again am I unable to feel that crochet is getting shafted by this knitting volume. And again, it's the Design Notebook at the end of the book that gives me goose bumps and makes my mind race. In these 16 pages you will find all the information you'll ever need to design your own gorgeous and gaze-attracting wraps -- be they shawls, stoles, shrugs, capelets, or ponchos. I nearly decided to abandon this issue in favour of sitting on my rump with some paper and yarn, but then I decided against it. Maybe you'll see a design from me someday soon...
Soft cover 160 pages $21.95US Available at Powells.com
Bullions & Beyond Tips & techniques for the crochet bullion stitch by Prudence Mapstone Imported and distributed by Unicorn Books
Prudence Mapstone is one of the most well-known free form crocheters around, and she has an infectious smile and cheery disposition to boot. In her short, self-published book she explains the intricacies of the bullion stitch, and provides pages and pages of eye candy to set your imagination aflame.
Soft cover 28 pages $16.95US Available at Unicornbooks.com
The Little Box of Crocheted Hats and Scarves by Denise Black and Sandy Scoville Martingale& Company
The Little Box of Crocheted Hats and Scarves is a really neat concept. It's literally a box containing 20 laminated cards, each including a coordinating hat and scarf pattern. The only problem is that the patterns are pretty dull. It's obviously hard to tell from photos, but I get the impression that the scarves are bulky and don't drape well. I definitely can tell that the colours don't really strike my fancy. The styles, although basic and therefore hardly intimidating, don't offer anything new or particularly fashionable. Although the concept of fun cards I can toss in my bag and not even worry about spilling coffee on just makes me happy, I can't say my excitement goes beyond that niftiness.
Box of laminated cards 20 cards $19.95US Available at Powells.com
Lady B Lexie Barnes
Lexie Barnes launched her new bag business when her baby was 5 months old. Oh, and she has two older kids, too. As you can guess, a woman with that much energy will produce great bags. And don't let this photo mislead you. Lady B is enormous. It's large enough to hold a sweater or small afghan project, and it's filled with pockets to keep you organized. I took this bag with me to the CGOA national conference in July, and here's what I kept in it: pretty much all of my crochet hooks (there are 14 slots), notions (larger pockets hold things like a tape measure), two skeins of yarn (to become a scarf if I ever get my act together), personal stuff (wallet, planner, cell phone), and other things I like to have with me (business cards, camera, legal pad, a novel, a magazine). Oh yeah, and two longer slots (intended for 14" knitting needles) held an afghan hook and full-size pair of scissors, respectively. If you're not a fan of carrying so much, there are bags of smaller size in the line as well. The bags come in four different water-resistant fabrics, and a woman on my flight home actually stopped me to ask me where I'd gotten mine. I'd never felt so fashionable, dahling.
15.5”w X 13”h X 6”d $160US See lexiebarnes.com for stores or to place an order
Crochet Clutch Offhand Designs
Speaking of fabulous products to hold our stuff. I bumped into Larisa of Offhand Designs at the CGOA conference in Oakland, CA, and she sent me home with one of her gorgeous, locally handmade crochet clutches. I immediately filled it with all the hooks and notions I had with me (yup, I took them out of the bag, above), and I still can't believe how much more I could have fit. The clutch has 30 slots to hold hooks up to 10" long and has two larger pockets in addition to a generously-sized zippered compartment. The vintage velvet fabric of the exterior is truly lovely, and to appeal to all tastes the clutch is available in well over a dozen different fabrics.
5.5” H x 10 ” W x 1”D closed Opens to 10"H x 20" $54.00US See offhanddesigns.com for stores