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 Crochet, Lacy 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
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!