Top critical review
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Lacking a certain something
on 10 January 2013
Crochet doesn't seem to be having as much of a renaissance as knitting, which surprises me a little in some ways, as it is both easier to learn, and more portable. I guess it still suffers from the slightly old fashioned image of granny square blankets and crochet doilies. There is a fine line between retro chic and retro ugly...
So, does this book manage to make crochet retro chic? I really don't think that it does. And I'm not entirely sure it entirely works as a good beginner's guide to the craft, either.
First, the good points:
1. The photos - lots of them, clear, detailed and colourful. Helpful in the techniques section, and very stylish in the projects section.
2. The author's voice - friendly, chatty and encouraging
3. The how-to section - clear, covers most of the basics well
4. The suppliers page - not just the usual suspects, but some nice independents as well, who are available online
5. The pattern instructions - clear and easy to follow
And now, the bits I think could have been better:
1. The finishing of the projects - FAR too many of them rely on crochet being used as trim on sewn items, or require lining in some way. There's very little instruction on the techniques needed for this, and it could be off putting. It's off putting to me, and I've been sewing for the best part of forty years (did I really say that?). If I want to sew a handbag and attach motifs to it, I'll buy a book on making handbags...
2. The types of project - whilst it's nice to have items for every area of the home, who these days uses a jug cover? Or steering wheel cover? Or crochet doilies, even in an ironic manner?
3. The patterns - I know it's called "Simple Crochet" but the motifs (especially, and there are a lot of them) are dull and unimaginative. There are better - free - patterns out there
4. The information on yarn - yarn is incredibly important. If you can't get the specified yarn, you aren't really given the knowledge about yarn weights, types and composition to make good decisions (as a beginner) to make effective substitutions. A number of the projects were made by the author in unavailable yarn (unless you have access to Italian sources) and yet the finished projects are photographed only in the author's original yarns and not the specified substitutions, so you can't tell exactly what your finished project will look like
After reading this book, I was inspired to pick up my crochet hook again, but not to do any of the projects in this book I'm afraid. A nice try, but ultimately it falls short for me.