Don’t look toooo closely at this cute little crochet cupcake… which on closer inspection looks like it’s spent a bit too long in the baker’s window! I raced through completing it last night whilst trying to keep up with the crazy sci-fi plot convolutions of The Outcasts on the BBC, and have to admit to being a wee bit distracted…
But, in spite of this cupcake’s slightly dishevelled appearance, I wanted to share the photo with you because the pattern is from the book I’m reviewing today – Love Crochet by Carol Meldrum. I want to make it clear straight away, that it’s my lack of concentration that’s the problem here, not the pattern itself. In fact, the instructions are very clearly written, and imaginative too – I just love the stitch that the designer has used to make the ridged effect on this cupcake base. Very clever!
My first impression of the book was really positive – thare are lots of lovely photographs, with a good variety of stylish patterns for the sort of thing that I enjoy making. I’ll often buy a book online, based on a fresh and vibrant front cover, only to get the book and be disappointed that the majority of the projects included are old-fashioned and run-of-the-mill. But I’ve counted up, and Love…Crochet scores highly in the ‘ooooh-I-really-like-that’ test – of the 25 patterns, I would seriously think about having a go at 21 of them – which I think is an excellent return. What I like particularly is the variety of projects – slouchy hats, funky bags, cosy & lacy throws, cuddly cushions, trendy fingerless gloves, gorgeous scarves & more.
The subtitle of the book is 25 Simple Projects to Crochet, and I’d say that it definitely hits the right note for people who haven’t crocheted before and want to practise the basics. There are lots of good, clear, colour photos to take you through the basics of stitch formation, along with some good introductory information about choosing your yarn, sorting your tension, blocking your work, sewing seams etc. There’s also a really helpful star difficulty rating on each pattern to help you make your decisions about which projects might need a bit more practice or experience, so you don’t get over-ambitious (unless you want to!). There’s also enough here to interest the more advanced crocheter – because Meldrum’s designs and stitch patterns are pleasingly imaginative, and even the simple projects are funky enough to be attractive to someone who wants to relax with a quick and easy project.
There are a couple of things that could have been included that would have made this book even more useful. I’ve got used to crochet project books (mostly from the USA & Japan I admit!) that include some pattern charts, and I really miss them here. It’s also a shame that, although there are some web stockists listed for yarn supplies, there’s no mention of the excellent crochet resources available online. As it’s a book aimed at beginners, a mention of a support community like Ravelry, or the fantastic crochet stitch demonstration videos that you can find on You Tube, would have been really useful.
But these two minor niggles are VERY minor, and so don’t let them put you off. The patterns in Love…Crochet are clearly and simply written, the projects are stylish and fun and demonstrate how versatile crochet can be. Just don’t try and watch complicated drama or anything with subtitles whilst you have your hook in hand!
Disclaimer: Love…Crochet was sent free of charge by New Holland Publishers for me to review, but I’ve received no other payment from them. I have presented my honest assessment of the book. If you have any questions about this – please feel free to ask, I’ll do my best to reply in the comments.