crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns

Book Reviews

I (happily) was given lots of yarny books for Christmas.  Over the next few weeks I will review: 101 Designer One Skein wonders, Knitting Little Luxuries, Favorite Socks, Sensual Knits, Sensual CrochetLacy Crochet, and a few other small books (Yes, I gave Marc a list to pass around.)

Today I will talk about two crochet books, Vintage Crochet by Susan Cropper, and  a new Japanese Book I got in the mail last week.

Vintage Crochet is a book of patterns by various designers, complied by the same author as Pretty Knits.  It’s certainly a pretty book, well photographed and full of soft focus photos.  It has a few sweaters, 2 headbands, a few afghans, a pretty baby sweater, a cute stuffed rabbit, and the blanket pictured on the photo and lots more (although not, I don’t think, the pillows on the cover… correct me if I have missed them, but I think they aren’t there.)

I want to like this book, because I love crochet, and because I love the idea of a book of updated vintage items, but something is missing for me.  I think that some of the designs are made in yarns that are too thick for them (what is the fear of small yarns in modern books?  Crochet is fast either way!)  Some of the projects are cute, such as the ones shown below.  In spite of the fact that I want very badly to give the model a comb, the sweaters are lovely, especially the motif sweater.  But… there are practically no schematics listed.  For the motif sweater, you get a back length measurement and a vague hem measurement.  There is a sort of diagram for the motifs, but why no real schematics?  I really can’t understand publishing a book today without including these details.  I am extremely disinclined to make any sort of large project from this book because of the lack of detail.

There are some very pretty patterns, and I will confess that I am not sorry I got the book as a gift.  It does contain a ripple pattern that is very much like the soft wave afghan that has been so popular this year.  I really like the baby sweater and the rabbit, and even the impractical patterns like the egg cosies are cute. It’s up to you to decide whether the lack of schematics bothers you.  For the non clothing patterns it may be ok, but it’s certainly is something to be aware of!  BTW, if you are a knitter, I have heard the same complaint about the author’s other book, Pretty Knits.  It isn’t the first book to do this (wasn’t Sarah Dallas’ Vintage Knits the same way?) but it always disappoints me.


Cape, Shawl, Stole, Bolero

ISBN: 9784021904189

Purchased: Saucy Louise, but it is available on YesAsia and Amazon Japan as well.

I really like this book.  As promised by the cover (no, I cannot read Japanese and have no idea what else it says) it contains nothing but the items above (ok, with a few scarves.)  It contains 11 basic patterns, most of which are shown more than once, in different yarns with different ways of embellishing them.  Whether you will love this book like I do depends primarily on how much you love the capelet.  Me… I love a capelet, and don’t care a bit if I look costume y in them.  This book is charted out the way all Japanese books are.  It has step by step directions for the challenging parts of each pattern (real photographs – so helpful!)  It has a glossary of common Japanese crochet symbols in the back, although I also own a guide to the crochet symbols because I found that they are not always covered in the back of the book.

The hardest part for me is figuring out what weight of yarn is being used for each pattern.  I know how to find the gauge information on the charts, but I’m not always certain what the gauge is being measured in.  The first pattern I’m planning to try will be either the brown capelet with the flower or either of the red shawls.  I actually really like those boleros, at least on the mannequins, so perhaps someday I will try one.  I would love to know what yarns are used for the brown scarf… they are so pretty!  The book is published by Olympus yarns, which I have seen in the US, but not very often.

This came at the same time as my new hooks for thread.  I’m very pleased with them – they are more comfortable to hold, and I like the double ended hooks.  I will try them out soon!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

The obligatory post holiday post!

I’m very glad to report that all of my choir’s Christmas performances went very well! I was so nervous all day Monday that I couldn’t eat, but in the end it was all fine. Hopefully it will get easier from here on out! Easter is very early this year, so after a 2 week break we are going to start tackling that season!

We had Christmas with my Mom on Christmas day after church, and then we drove up to Cincinnati for Marc’s family Christmas. Marc’s family is much larger than mine (I’m the only child of divorced parents) so it’s always nice to see lots of people.

I gave Danica to Marc’s sister, and she seemed to like it. I’m happy with the decision to give it away – I just was not going to wear it because it was too warm for our climate, but she lives in Wisconsin where she really needs some big warm scarves!

I made Marc a set of Scrabble Tile cufflinks, and I also turned a set of travel scrabble tiles into refrigerator magnets, so he can spell out all his favorite words!

I got a fair amount of work done on my Cluster Stitch scarf on the trip, so hopefully that will be finished soon. I also worked on my socks, but unfortunately the yarn seems to be cursed, and started pooling again. I ripped, and then I decided to save the yarn for a nice scarf or something. Instead, I’m going to use this yarn (Razzytazzyknits in Slytherin) to try some toe up socks. We will see… I don’t want to curse myself again!

My next sweater is going to be (hopefully) the Colette pullover from the Winter 07/08 Interweave knits. Today was the after Christmas sale at Sophie’s, and Marc took me there as part of my Christmas present. I was able to buy some Inox metal DPNs, so I hope I like those for the Colette pullover’s sleeves. It was a yarny Christmas for me! I received several books, all of which will get reviewed in the upcoming weeks, and then there is yarn I got to pick out myself! All except the first two are from the Sophie’s sale.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

1. Shibuiknits sock in Mulberry and Peacock, to make the Transitions gloves. 2. Noro Kureyon Sock 3. Manos wool 4. Baby Cashmerino 5. Mondial Extrafine for the puff stitch scarf from Vogue Crocheted Scarves 6. Louisa Harding grace, for a pair of fingerless gloves from Knitting Little Luxuries, which I haven’t reviewed yet. 7. Araucania Ranco semi solid, just because.

Small amounts of yarn, because while I have a ton of sweater yarn, I have very little yarn to make smaller projects with, and lately I am enjoying working on those along with my sweater projects. I also got several accessory books for Christmas (Knitting Little Luxuries and 101 Designer one skein wonders) and I’d like to try a few projects from them, so for once I was able to let myself buy small quantities of yarn.

I may post again later with a book review. I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a good one!