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Everyday Crochet: Book Review

I’ve had several kind people email me to ask me about how Leon is doing, so I thought I would give an update.

He turns out to have crystals in his urine (poor kitty!)  We’ve had to switch him to special food, and he promptly went on a hunger strike for 3 days.  I can’t say I blame him… the name “urinary so” does not exactly seem appetizing.  In fact, the only way he was willing to eat for awhile was if I actually fed him the new food.  But he’s better now, if not exactly happy, and we’ve bought him one of those kitty water fountains to encourage him to drink lots of water.   I’m just glad we got him to the vet before the condition got really serious.  If you have a cat (especially a male) be aware of this condition – I wasn’t, because I’ve always had female cats before.

Thank you to everyone who asked after him – I’m sure he appreciates it when I tell him people are worried!

I was really happy to get my copy of the new IK yesterday afternoon.  I’ve already posted my thoughts on most of the designs, but I do have a few surprising dislikes and likes.  I don’t really care for the cover sweater – I think it’s all that reverse stockinette, plus it is similar to several other sweaters in the issue I like better.  I surprisingly like the Aleita shell, and I’m trying to think up a good yarn substitute.  The hexacomb cardigan is even prettier larger, as is the printed silk cardigan – I must find a sub yarn for that one, I simply love it!  I love the flutter sleeved cardigan as well, although I do have a dilemma… do I go with the smallest size (36) or try to make a smaller one?  I think I will wait to see it modeled in the Knitting Daily galleries (don’t you love those?) so I can see if it will fit me.  It is a pretty forgiving style.

I liked the camisole enough to assign it yarn.  I know the lace panel is impractical, but I love the style, and I won’t wear it without a tank underneath anyway.  All in all it may be one of my favorite Interweave issues ever!

I’m still knitting on my sweaters, and getting nervous about running out of yarn for the lush cardigan – but that’s ok if I do, I can always find something to order from WEBs, right?  For instance, I’ve been amassing  Mission Falls wool for an afghan for awhile.  Here’s what I have so far:

I’m still not sure if I want to do the block a month CAL yet or not… I like the idea, but will I like the finished product?

Today I am wearing my “Not so shrunken” cardigan made of Silky Wool.  Everytime I wear it I get to wondering why I don’t use this yarn more, since I think it’s so lovely to wear.  I now have 3 sweaters worth of the stuff, but I do have plans!  Tangled yoke cardigan, the feather and fan sweater from the new Classic Elite “Make it modern” book, and… something.  Maybe a shawl.

Ok, enough of the pretty, and onto my book review!

Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan

I didn’t really get Doris Chan’s last book, Amazing Crochet Lace, so I approached this one with some trepidation, fearing more giant doilies (I like doilies, but I like them in their proper size.)  This book was a real surprise to me – it’s full of lovely wearable designs, without an exploded doily in sight!  In the forward to the book, Doris Chan explains how the garments are constructed – top down – and talks a bit about how to tailor them to your body type.   She also explains why all the designs in the book use some variation of the shell stitch, something which in my opinion is the limitation of the book.  She comes across as very enthusiastic and encouraging in the introduction, and I was anxious to get along to the designs.

There are (IMO) very few missteps in the book.  Nearly all the designs are tastefully done, made of smooth yarn (not a fun fur in sight!) and are well fitted to the models.  Many of the designs share the same beginning steps, and she then explains how to vary the designs to get different sweaters.  It’s very approachable for the crocheter looking to branch out into wearables for the first time.

The yarns used vary from expensive (Tahki  new tweed) to cheap (Simply soft shadows) but in general probably fall more on the pricey end.  This, for me, is really nice, because it breaks the stereotype that crochet must be made of acrylic yarns.  She even talks about the properties of different types of yarns, and I am intrigued (for instance) by the thought of using a bamboo yarn to crochet – think of the nice drape!

The book is divided into several sections – pullovers, cardigans, vests, jackets, and belts.  All except the last section are excellent.  The pullover section contains 2 nice tanks, variations of one another, and a few pullover sweaters, including one (Jewel) which I have seen a really pretty version of on ravelry.

The cardigans are my favorites, which is unfortunate because it is here that the sizing breaks down.  Most items in the book have a finished small size of around 33″, which is fine, but the cardigans are several inches larger.  I can probably get around this by using a thinner yarn, but it is disappointing.  Fortunately, the ones I like are somewhat versatile in fit.  They all employ either ties or a type of button hook that the book shows you how to make.  I love Mei Mei (the cover sweater above) as well as the two cardigans below.

These sweaters are from the vest section, and are (imo) just lovely, especially the one with the cowl neck (this is the simply soft shadows sweater… how lovely, I would totally wear that!)  I actually have 2 balls of that yarn, in that exact color, although I don’t know that I really want a simply soft tunic.

Was anyone else as big a fan of the Mary Tyler Moore show as I was?  I still love watching it, and I always wished I was a Rhoda, although truthfully I’m probably a Mary.  This may explain why I am so attracted to the vests below:

I don’t say that in a derogatory way… Rhoda would have totally rocked that vest to the right, and she would have been fierce, yes?  I, however, as a Mary… not so much.  I could probably handle the scaled down version to the left.

I’m giving this book a firm recommendation.  The sizing isn’t the greatest at the smaller end, but it isn’t terrible.  Most of the garments are pretty and wearable.  There are a lot of shells, but she varies the treatment enough that it doesn’t get repetitive.  If you’re a crocheter looking for pretty, wearable sweaters, this is worth a purchase.

I’m planning several sweaters, starting with the first cardigan I showed (the one with the ties) out of Valley Yarns Southwick (I really want to try crochet with bamboo!)

11 thoughts on “Everyday Crochet: Book Review

  1. Oh man, I LOVED Rhoda! One of my favorite characters of all time on tv. You’re right, she would have been fabulous in that longer vest.

    Glad to hear Leon is doing better!

  2. Glad Leon is doing ok now. My female cat, Charlie has to have that “special food”. The trouble we have is stopping the other 2 cats from eating it, they think it’s far better than the supermarket brand they get!!

  3. I’m so glad to hear that Leon is doing ok!

    You’ve gotten the IK issue already – I’m so jealous! 🙂 Being in Australia, I always have to wait a tantalising few more weeks before it’s available here. And after looking at your reviews, and the previews from Interweave – it’s so hard! But I must say, this issue is appealing to me in a big way also. There are so many cute and gorgeous knits that I like so far. I really am loving the look of the Hexacomb cardigan the most.

    On other things – I’m also really looking forward to seeing your finished Lush cardigan. I think it looks really pretty so far and I think I’ve already commented on the beautiful colourway you chose 🙂

  4. Thank you for the book review! I like all the designs you picked out. You’re right, they are all very wearable! I’m on a stash diet but thankfully not on a book diet… yet! 🙂

  5. I’m very happy to hear that you figured out what was going on with Leon. Our female cat (Moana) has the same issue, and she’s also on a special diet. You have such a lot of great projects in progress and waiting in the wings : )

  6. Oh, I’m glad to hear Leon is doing better! out male cat had the same thing but luckily he’s not at all picky on what food we feed him.
    I’m so jealous that you got your IK issue so soon! I’ve been eagerly checking my mailbox all week. Hopefully I’ll get it Monday but I can tell this will be one of my most favorite issues as well!

  7. Thanks for the book review!

    I am glad your kitty is feeling better. I had a cat with the same problem and at first I thought he was just mad at me, but turns out he had the same thing.

    Take care!

  8. Leon – pleased to know hes on the right track to urinary happiness.
    Did your vet bring up any info on Kidney Disease and phosphate issues?

  9. Glad to hear your kitty is doing better! We have been buying the urinary SO for our cat for several months now – combined with the water fountain dish, it seems to help!

    I’m looking forward to receiving my latest issue of IK also 🙂

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