Oh, how I love this book. Here's but one of many reasons, in the words of author Katherine Lee: "Rather than the trendy, fancy yarns that only last a few seasons, I chose the more classically beautiful yarns that lend themselves to the intricate look of crochet stitches used in these patterns." Right on, sistah. To boot, the designs really are fabulous. Beyond the requisite scarves and wraps, it's the sweaters and tops that have me jacked up. The Bold Lace Cardigan, especially, makes me want to drop everything. Normally, I wouldn't consider crocheting a sweater using chunky yarn, but Lee's uses an open stitch pattern and full shaping to achieve a look that's flattering and comfy-looking. She also seems to follow my personal rule to always use a larger hook than recommended to achieve good drape. Written patterns are complimented by generously-sized schematics and symbol diagrams. This is the kind of fashion crochet I've been desperate to see.
Paperback, spiral-bound 144 pages $24.99USAvailable at Powells.com
Sexy Little Knits by Ashley Paige Potter Craft
Ashley Paige's book has a quote by Carmen Electra on the front cover. Nice. By my count, seven projects in the book are crocheted, and for the most part Paige does good by me. I admit it took several read-throughs for me to dispense with my initial prejudice against these projects. Sure, I question (with raised eyebrow, and everything) the practicality (and hygiene) of wearing mohair or polyester on our... more delicate bits. And the bikini tops seem designed to - oops! - provide just enough coverage to be primed to fall away at the first dramatic movement. But the tops are great, and this book certainly shows off knitting and crochet in a light they're rarely seen in. It's a refreshing change.
Paperback, 128 pages $21.95USAvailable at Powells.com
The Essential Book of Crochet Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman Martingale & Company
As with Sexy Little Knits (above), I had to put aside my initial prejudice when I starting reading through this book. It looks boring and dated, but the information contained within this hardcover, spiral-bound book is timeless, well-presented, and extremely useful. Wiseman is a master, and she walks us through the basic crochet stitches, seaming, edging, button holes, and everything else we need to know to do our craft well. The illustrations are clear, and they're supplemented by full-colour photographs to show us things not often found in technique books - like how a row of stitches looks from the right side as contrasted with the wrong side. Wiseman set out to write a book that would occupy a place at any crocheter's elbow, and she succeeded.
Hardcover, spiral-bound 127 pages $24.95USAvailable at Powells.com
Quick Crochet: Huge Hooks by Sally Harding C&T Publishing Inc.
Instant gratification, that's what this book is. Harding uses only hooks 10mm in size or larger, and she discusses her yarn choices so readers can learn about pairing yarns with hook sizes and about using alternative yarns. I especially like the projects made with rags of various sorts. My only complaint is that many of the projects don't include a full-view photograph, and the zoomed in shots don't really do much to give readers an idea of what the finished project will look like. Still, projects are so quick to make, you'll find out soon enough.
Paperback 128 pages $24.95USAvailable at Powells.com
Yum. That's what this new wool wash makes me say. Just yum. Soak™ is biodegradable, rinse-free, phosphate-free, and gentle on fibres and hands. Three scents are available (Flora, Aquae, and Citrus), and bottles come in two sizes: 425mL (80+ washes), sold individually; and a "starter kit" of three 130mL bottles (24+ washes each), one in each scent. After spending long hours and good money on our crocheted creations, we owe it to ourselves to take good care of them, don't we? Yes. Yes, we do.
425mL $16CADStarter Kit $29CADSee jacqs-hats.com for retailers