Doris Chan's fourth book breaks down lace garment construction into simple shapes, then guides the reader through construction of sophisticated-looking skirts, vests, wraps, and dresses. This is not only a wonderful introduction to charted crochet patterns, but also a great starting point for more experienced crafters to adapt shapes to their own vision.
I visited Milwaukee with my friend Megan and boyfriend Scott recently. At only an hour from Chicago, it's a perfect weekend stop. Scott and I had only been there for Bucks games before, but this time we dug into all the Lake Michigan gem had to offer.
If you love a color shift, whether from dark to light or one hue to a complement, former Vogue Knitting editor Tanis Gray has the versatile picture book for you.
The full title of Amy Palanjian's book is So Pretty! Crochet: Inspiration and Instructions for 24 Stylish Projects*. The introduction comes with a photo of a woman in a striking boxy fringed jacket. Sadly, the pattern for that jacket is not in this book. Below the photo, Palanjian writes, "The innovation in this one category of craft speaks to our growing need to balance our modern, busy lives with physical handiwork." She uses the five words "this one category of craft" to avoid writing "crochet" again. Her phrasing is often awkward as it is here, though I do strongly agree with her next sentence: "More and more of us feel a deep need to make things with our hands in order to feel grounded in the rest of our lives. It helps us to feel a sense of accomplishment - to calm our minds with deliberate (and often repetitive and soothing) work."
Then come the usual background chapters on types of threads, hooks, and notions to buy. I wonder if anyone who would buy a book of crochet patterns actually needs these guides, or if it's just tradition to include them?
The projects were designed by a collection of international artists, and are certainly unique. The cover's petal cap by Jessica Harrington drew me in, and is the only project I'll probably make. One of the oddest designs is a netting for rocks. I'm not sure who you could give it to, or where they would display it. Maybe rocks are a good going away present to someone leaving a beach town? Big points awarded for originality, though most of the dainty necklaces and buntings lack the warmth, timelessness, and solidity I look for in a project.
The collection as a whole is too quick, unfulfilling the promise of repetitive and soothing work from the introduction. Check out the book if you want a quick gift for the kind of person who really likes accessories.
*It was published in 2012, but a good pattern is perennial so a late review is still fair.