Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall

I probably have mentioned it before – I love crochet books! I get a lot of ideas from books - not just patterns that I can make, because as a designer, I usually just crochet my own patterns. Yes, what I get from crochet books is a lot more than just patterns. I love books that have stitch diagrams in them, because looking at the diagrams I can think of so many other things I can make, using the stitch pattern or something similar to it. Stitch diagrams give me ideas! So do schematics. Patterns that have schematics, pictures that show how the projects are put together, I like, because the schematics also give me ideas! Other patterns I like are ones that explain a new or different technique, or stitch. I can learn a lot from them. I also like patterns that give you choices. Do you want long sleeves or short sleeves? Do you want the sweater to stop at your waist or your hips?. These choices help you make the pattern your own.

When I was asked to review Mary Jane Hall's book Colorful Crochet Lace, I thought "Oh, all the projects will be worked in Laceweight #0, or Fingering weight #1 (Superfine) yarns. I don't work with those weights, so I wasn't sure if I could write an unbiased review. When I received the book, I deliberately checked on the yarn weights that were used in the patterns. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the patterns used Sportweight #2, DK Weight #3, and one even used Worsted Weight #4. So if you're used to working with #3 and #4 yarns, you can start with those patterns, and then work some of the patterns that call for #2 yarns. By the time you finish those, you won't have any problem working with #1 and #0 weight yarns. So don't let the word "Lace" scare you away. You can make lace patterns with any weight yarns.

Then, after I settled that question, I looked to see if there were stitch diagrams. Yes – there were. A lot of them. For each pattern. They were excellent diagrams, too. They showed just what you need to make the pattern, or to use the stitch pattern in another way. It was almost like looking in a stitch dictionary. And schematics were there, also, when needed. In fact, for one sweater, made from lacy squares, the Magnifique Modular Tunic, there were 6 different schematics showing what you can make with the squares. So, indeed, you can make this tunic 6 times, and have 6 different garments!  I wouldn't know which one to crochet first.
And the patterns give you choices. Mary Jane doesn't just leave it to you to figure out how to alter her patterns. She gives you good hints and instructions about what to do.  

For the Tres Chic neck warmer (above), she tells you how to make it taller and wider. 

For the Isabelle sleeveless tunic (above), she gives instructions for making it shorter, or longer to make a dress. For the Dominique dress overlay, she gives instructions for turning it into a crop top, a skirt, or a tunic. So even though the cover of the book claims that there are 22 garments and accessories, with all the variations that Mary Jane Hall provides, there are many, many more.

Here is the info about the book so you can order a copy for yourself. (You can order a hard copy or an ebook.)
Colorful Color Crochet: 22 Chic Garments & Accessories
By Mary Jane Hall
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

By the way, I just checked the "order" link above, and the book is on sale. (September 30, 2015) Both the hard copy and the ebook. Who knows for how long! So if you want it, order it today!!!