Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book review: 1-2-3 Skein Crochet

Yesterday I took my younger daughter to the yarn shop we got her crochet Christmas gifts from. She was hoping to find another rosewood hook in a larger size. No luck with that, but she did buy 3 skeins of the same yarn we got her for Christmas, in purple. She's already started another shawl, using the same pattern as the one she made for herself. It'll be a bit bigger, since she used 2 skeins for that one. She just LOVES using the rosewood hook. :-D

As much as we loved the yarn shop, the prices often left us in shock. There were a few that were more reasonable that I would have loved to get, but had no real idea of what I'd make with them. I don't want to make more hats and scarves, and I'm not the sort to make purely decorative items. So what can you make when you can only afford a couple of balls or skeins of some gorgeous yarn?

Instead of yarn, I bought myself a book that might just fit the bill.

Title: 1-2-3 Skein Crochet

Edited by Judy Crow

All the projects in this book use, at most, 3 skeins of yarn. At the top of each new project's page, there's the title of the book with the number of skeins needed for that project highlighted, so you can tell at a glance how much is needed. The only thing to keep in mind is that if the project is a 2 parter (ie: hat and scarf, pillow and matching lapghan), that number is for only one project, not both. It's still handy, though.

The book is organized into 6 sections; Just for Men, Just for Women, Just for Babies, Just for Fun, Just for Home and Just Throws & Pillows.

First, my peeve. While I love that there is a section of items that would appeal to men, the whole men/women thing in craft books really irritates me. I like the stuff aimed for men more than for women because the patterns for women have an overabundance of fluffy, ruffly, "feminine" things. Men wear camo-socks. Women wear fuzzy mohair hand warmers. Men wear scarves with cable patterns, women wear scarves with lace and ruffles. Men's slippers are a cool basketweave pattern in brown. Women's slippers are pink with buttons and popcorn stitches (I'd hate to feel those popcorns under my feet while walking!!). Little girls wear lacy dresses. Little boys wear hoodies with Sheriff stars.

This sort of gender assignment is common, and it's why I search out patterns for men whenever possible. I find the stuff designed for women rarely appeals to me.

Which is one reason why I think this book will be quite useful. I like pretty much everything in the For Men section (though the Man's Black Hat looks like a strange combination of military wedge cap and a toque), and most of what's in the Throws and Pillows section. I can see making stuff from the Babies section for some friends who've had children recently. The Home section has the best toilet seat cover set I've ever seen. I don't normally care for those in general, but this set, I'll be making! About the only thing in the For Women's section I'd make is the glasses case - if I used one in the first place, which I don't.

Most of the projects are made using worsted weight yarn, which is pretty convenient. Specific brands used for each project are listed, along with the materials. The recommended yarns range from quite reasonable and easy to find, to brands/materials I wouldn't be willing to spend the money on, even if it's just a couple of balls. There's a skill level rating for each project as well, which is nice. Some of the instructions for projects that take more than a 2 page spread (including photograph) are split, with the remaining instructions continued at the end of the chapter. This is something I'm not too keen on, though I understand why it's done that way. It's not consistent throughout the book, though, as others have several pages of instructions before moving on to the next project.

All in all, this looks to be a useful book for attractive projects that use smaller amounts of yarn. There's a good variety of projects, too. I like it, and would recommend it.

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