One 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.
Paperback128 pages$19.95USAvailable at Powells.com
Stitch '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.
Paperback256 pages$15.95USAvailable at Powells.com
Lion 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.
Paperback192 pages$22.95USAvailable at Powells.com
The 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.
Paperback320 pages$12.95USAvailable at Powells.com
Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life by Kathy Cano Murillo Rayo
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.
Paperback208 pages$19.95USAvailable at Powells.com
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.
Hardcover95 pages (Scarves!), 111 (Bags!)$14.95USScarves! available at Powells.comBags! available at Powells.com