Spring 2006 Book Reviews

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on Mar 21, 2006 1:54 PM

One SkeinOne Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet
by Leigh Radford
Interweave Press

We are crocheters, and we have stash. We are imperfect, and therefore our stashes contain lone balls of yarn. We keep them because we're optimistic, and now Leigh Radford gives us reason to rejoice: a book of projects that each requires one ball of yarn. The book itself is beautiful, which is no surprise, considering Radford is the art director for Interweave Knits magazine. The five crochet patterns are simple, clever, and timeless, which makes this a book worth keeping on your shelf. And the added value of using up those lone balls of yarn can't be underestimated. Of course, you might want to go buy an expensive skein of yummy yarn now that you know you can make something terrific with it. Don't worry, I won't tell. Want a closer look? Check out the companion web site, secret pal exchange, and knit/crochet-along.

128 pages
Available at Powells.com

 The Happy HookerStitch 'N *** Crochet: The Happy Hooker
by Debbie Stoller
Workman Publishing

Somebody get a bucket. Debbie Stoller is on FIRE. Months before this book was even released, it was a top seller. And for good reason. The patterns are fabulous (three Crochet me designers represent!), Stoller's tone is playful, and she doesn't skimp on good information. The illustrations could be clearer, but beyond that, this book lives up to my expectations. My only bone to pick is with her assertion that young stitchers, in recent years, have been compelled to join Stitch 'n *** groups because they were inspired by the one she started in New York City. Um. I may have grown up in NYC, but I was a member of a SnB group in Vancouver long before I'd heard of Stoller's work. Regardless, I have high hopes The Happy Hooker will help to propel crochet into the minds of the masses.

256 pages
Available at Powells.com

Vintage Styles for TodayLion Brand: Vintage Styles for Today
Nancy J. Thomas and Charlotte J. Quiggle, Eds.
Potter Craft

Several dozen vintage Lion Brand patterns were updated for modern styling, yarns, and sizing. More than half the patterns are crocheted, and many of the knit patterns call for crocheted edgings. There's tons of potential in this book, though I question the liberal usage of furry yarns and in some cases think the vintage styling looks better than the update. Nearly all of the baby/kid patterns and all of the hats are crocheted, though none of the pullover sweaters are. I especially like the Cutaway Coat (sans skirt), the Romantic Cardigan (with shorter sleeves), the Skating Cap, and the dress on the model on p. 157. I recommend this book if you're looking for inspiration to revisit vintage styles and patterns.

192 pages
Available at Powells.com

Crochet Answer BookThe Crochet Answer Book
by Edie Eckman
Storey Publishing

This book is way smaller than it looks online. It's conveniently small, considering it contains over 300 pages of remarkably useful information. I recommend you keep it at your elbow so you can look things up when curiosity strikes. Eckman wrote the book in standard Q & A style. It's clear, to the point, and covers pretty much everything about crochet. That each topic is introduced as a question manages to make each question seem important. So for those of you who tend to keep your mouth shut for fear of asking a stupid question, this book is for you. Even the most basic of basic topics is covered. Eckman flows from the basics into more detailed tips and explanations, too, so experienced crocheters are bound to learn a thing or two. It's rare to find a book that speaks clearly to both novices and experts, and I highly recommend this one for all crocheters.

320 pages
Available at Powells.com

Art de la SoulCrafty Chica's Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life
by Kathy Cano Murillo

Art de la Soul is not a crochet book, it's a crafts book. It's a fabulous crafts book. A playful, cheery, inspiring crafts book with a crochet pattern in it. Kathy Cano Murillo is the self-proclaimed Crafty Chica, and what I love most about her is her dedication to empowering us to feel crafty and creative, and to just go with it. Throughout these pages she shares her own entertaining tales of crafts gone good and bad, emphasizing the importance of having fun, of not being discouraged, and of being crafty as a way of life. Add to this her implicit and explicit exploration of her (and by extension, her readers') culture, and you have a resource that's timely and timeless to boot.

208 pages
Available at Powells.com

Crochet Scarves!Crochet Scarves! and Crochet Bags!
both by Candi Jensen
Storey Publishing

What sets these books apart (aside from them being die-cut, which I find ... unecessary) is the way the patterns are presented. They're written out in rows, as usual, but in the format of a chart. This simple formatting makes each pattern seem even easier to follow. Scarves! contains 16 patterns for simple scarves. They're not earth-shattering, but the yarn substitution suggestions are useful and help to make the patterns' versatility very apparent. Bags! contains 15 patterns, and Jensen's signature color sense is far more apparent here. The bags are varied in shape, color, and texture, and there's information about lining bags and using different kinds of handles.

95 pages (Scarves!), 111 (Bags!)
Scarves! available at Powells.com
Bags! available at Powells.com

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