Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Color Book of Felted Crochet by Amy O'Neill Houck and Stina Ramos

So being that my head has been in the sand for a few months (and will continue to be, don't get me wrong), I totally missed the release of this fabulous new book. I gotta say, I haven't been too thrilled with some of the stuff that's been coming out recently - too much same old crap, to be honest. And I got tired of hearing myself complain about uninspired design, poor color choices, lousy fit ... well, I've made no secret of my displeasure with the state of crochet design in general. So I haven't been doing any reviews here. Who needs to hear me whine on and on?

So imagine my surprise when I came across this book recently. The designs are fresh, pretty, wearable, and clever. For instance...

This bag is gorgeous! I love how it pushes design out just a bit further to make an interesting texture, blending crochet elements with a simple weaving technique for a bag that really stands out.

These legwarmers are worked in tunisian crochet, a wonderful and still-not-fully-exploited technique that gives great drape and beautiful fabrics.
There are over 25 projects in this book - several of which you'll be seeing some state of progress on this site. Amy and Stina did a fabulous job with "Felted Crochet." This is one new crochet tome that has this hooker's seal of approval!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vintage Crochet by Susan Cropper

The cover pattern on the hardcover edition of Vintage Crochet has had me salivating for a while now - I think it's a stunner in a book of gorgeous patterns. Until I actually had this book in hand, however, I thought this was simply a collection of lovely old patterns, reconsidered and recreated in fresh yarns, and lovingly photographed. But it is actually a collection of 30 specially-commissioned designs meant to evoke the wistful sense of vintage, and in this mission, it is eminently successful.

Susan Cropper's soft and nostalgic photos complement the designs beautifully. As the owner of Loop, a fashionable yarn shop in fashionable London, she is acutely aware of yarn quality and all the designs are created using top-of-the-line yarns. You can see the quality in how the stitches are rendered and in the drape of the fabrics created.

The book covers wearables, garden items, gifts, and home decor. They are imaginative patterns, too. There is an adorable bunny that is blissfully not an amigurumi design, and a clever canopy using bamboo tape. Several designs use fabric strips instead of yarn to gorgeous effect. And, because this is about vintage, there are no iPod cozies, another plus in my book (am I the only one sick to death of these?). Okay, a couple of the wearables were deemed "matronly" by my 20-something colleague at work - and I have to agree - but overall, this is a fab addition to your crochet library and very highly recommended by the Hooker.

Loop is a shop I will most definitely be visiting next time I'm in London, devalued-dollar-be-damned!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


This is a crochet site, right? I have to tell you, if you don't already know, that there is a wonderful, fabulous magazine out there that doesn't necessarily fall under the "crochet" tag, but you might find worthwhile anyway. It's called ReadyMade and it freakin' ROCKS. I eagerly anticipate it's arrival every other month. It is ruled by Shoshana Berger and its audience is largely the younger DIY crowd. Every issue is filled with amazing ideas, with a penchant for doing things on the cheap and helping you recycle whenever you can.

I seriously think this should be required reading for anyone interested in style and design, the environment, and crafting in general. It is an amazing magazine and I think the Editrix should be canonized. We use too much new crap, throw out too much usable stuff, and don't think enough about making what we have better.

There are often articles that are fiber-related, but anyone interested in looking at stuff in a completely different way, please seek them out. And no, I don't have any personal interest in their publication other than being in awe of them.

First Things First

So the new issue of Crochet Today has made its way from the stands to my hot little hands and I couldn't be happier! Per my usual complaints, this edition features some beautiful patterns packaged in Disney-esque (and vomit-inducing) perkiness. Don't get me wrong, I don't think all the models should be petulant catwalk 14 year olds or anything, but who styles this thing? Someone's grandma? "Ooh, let's add roses - that'll look sweet!" Blow the roses! There are some really nice designs in this rag, but the sunshine and bluebirds hurts my eyes! Please, people, please update your look!

Okay, onto the patterns.

Hands-down favorite would be the Waves Hem Skirt. Smart, with a little vintage edge in nice colors. See? Isn't that cute?

I also like this capelet, but hate the colors. And not for nothing, but who thought of the name? "Comfy Capelet?" What did I just say about the whole grandma thing? Are they serious? How many people are thumbing through CT thinking "Oh, I really like that capelet. But most of them are SO uncomfortable! But wait! The name says it's comfy! Oh joy! I can hook away with impunity now!"

The cover vest is also nice, despite its being modeled by Sunbonnet Sue and her gang of roses. There are a few other pieces worth their salt, but as far as I'm concerned, these three are worth the price of admission.

Where the hell have the reviews gone?

Okay, well, about that. Both of you faithful fans have probably given up on this section, but I'm switching "Reviews" to a blogging format that will make life, and posting reviews, ever-so-much easier and much more timely than before. And speaking of timely, that would include reviews of some of my older crap, too. Like from the 19th up through the 21st century! Could you be any more thrilled? I mean, really? Have I made your day? Yeah, I thought so.
Reviews of Crochet Books, Magazines, and Patterns, new and old.