Is it just me or have you noticed too that crochet seems to be having some kind of a moment? Last week I happened to be visiting the Lion Brand Yarn Studio website when I learned that Vogue Knitting magazine had just released a special issue dedicated to crochet. Later that same day, I went to Samantha’s school for a follow-up session to the knitting class and found that one of the kids had learned to crochet a chain and was teaching a couple of others how to do it as well. Also, since I started doing the knitting class, I’ve been discovering that some of the people I know at school like to crochet. Funny though, it seems like people either identify themselves as knitters or crocheters. I’ve done more knitting than crochet, but I’m a Libra, so I can’t classify myself as one or the other; they’re both good as far as I’m concerned.
I will say, however, that I typically prefer knitting for garments. Crocheted clothing can easily go too bulky, too granny, too 1970s and not in a good way. I do love crochet for stripes (blankets!), toys (balls!), and household utilitarian items like coasters and string bags. I enjoyed the Vogue Knitting crochet edition very much, but the patterns I’m tempted to try from it are the accessories (a cuff and purse in particular; both in row 1 under heading, A Fine Romance). I also enjoyed reading about what different artists and business people are doing with crochet, like The Lionheart Project and the business Krochet Kids International, founded by three young men who learned to crochet when they were in high school. The Vogue Knitting crochet issue also had a library section which got me thinking about my own collection of favorite crochet books, so let me just tell you a little bit about each photo above …
I would love to make that shawl on the cover of Doris Chan’s, Amazing Crochet Lace. Last night I was reading in an old school library book that European nuns who were experts in making lace developed the kind of crochet we know today about four hundred years ago (the book is from 1972 and is called Yarn, The Things It Makes And How To Make Them by Carolyn Meyer). The word crochet is actually a French word meaning small hook. According to the book, the craft became popular in the United States when Irish girls who had been taught to crochet by nuns began to arrive here from Ireland in the 1840s. I love how Doris Chan plays with the scale of her laces and turns them into something much more modern. I would love to wear the shawl above with jeans and a T-shirt. A beautiful, inspirational book with garments I would actually wear … if I ever get around to making any of them that is!
This is probably my favorite crochet project – balls that I made for Samantha when she was a baby. You can find the instructions here courtesy of Martha Stewart. I’m about to start a new set for an old family friend’s baby, but this time I’m going to try granny squares.
The coasters are just rounds of crocheted kitchen twine (use same instructions for beginning of ball) with a contrasting round of flax for an edge. The edge used to be a lovely shade of green before I bleached it to get a coffee stain out. Maybe dark coasters would be better.
The magazine I’ve been referring to. Lovely cover (those colors!) – don’t you think?
How much do I love Erika Knight’s Simple Crochet? This book was a revelation to me when I found it in 2004. It’s the book that made me want to crochet again because the designs and the materials are so simple, modern, and lovely. The string bag pattern I used for the bag in the next photo (Erika Knight is the one who suggested using the bag for tub toys) comes from Simple Crochet. If I could keep only one of these books, Simple Crochet would probably be it.
And the photos above show …
The Harmony Guides 300 Crochet Stitches Volume 6. Highly recommended. You can do just about any crochet technique, pattern, or what have you with this reference as your guide.
Sasha Kagan’s Crochet Inspiration is aptly titled. Beautiful – couldn’t resist it.
Now here’s a real deal: Patons Next Steps Five Crochet Guidebook. This is a substantial booklet available now in the yarn aisles at Michaels. I want to say it cost about $5. Contains both general how-to and some pretty cool projects (see the next photo).
Last, but not least, Visual Quick Tips Crochet. I think I picked this up at Michaels too, but not very recently. This may be my second choice for most valuable book on this list because the photo illustrations are so good. I’ve found I need good illustrations more so with crochet than with knitting.