Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet

When I was asked to join the blog tour for Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet, by Kristi Simpson, and perhaps review the book, I said "Absolutely!" I love crocheting for babies - anything from hats to afghans to swaddles (I usually call them buntings, some call them cocoons) , and I always need new ideas and projects. I don't know about you, but there always seems to be babies among my family and friends - and they always need a present or two or three. And now that Sparkle Season is getting nearer, the need for quick, cute presents is growing. And time is growing shorter and shorter. So quick projects, in worsted weight or bulkier yarns, are a necessity. And this book - Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet - is full of these kinds of projects.

You can make all sorts of projects, and put them in your Baby Gift Closet for safekeeping, until you need them. The one above, on the cover of the book, is called Elephant Ears Beanie. Can't you just see the cuteness of it! Perfect for a baby picture. 
Here are some more designs for you to crochet:

I think this one, the Fruit Punch Hat, is my favorite one. I love the look on the baby's face!

And what about this one - Emily Cluster Hat. So cute - child and hat.

And every baby needs a swaddle or bunting or cocoon - whatever you want to call it. Here's a great one to crochet first - the Peapod Hooded Cocoon.

And another one for the family with a football fan or two, the Football Cocoon and Hat Set:

One more I have to show you - the Cuddle Me Hat and Cocoon Set.

There are more - hats, cocoons, baby blankets, socks, headbands, diaper covers and more - 35 patterns in all,  for babies from newborn to 12 months. The patterns I showed here are all worked in worsted weight, or bulky, or super bulky yarns. And the yarns are readily available at craft stores.
If you're a beginner crocheter, and aren't sure how to read patterns, there is a section in the back of the book called "How to Read My Patterns". It includes everything you need to know about reading and following patterns, and what all the symbols and words mean. There are even directions on how to crochet the different basic stitches and all the techniques you need to know for these patterns, including finishing techniques. 
So if you're a beginner who wants to do more than just washcloths and scarves, or if you are an experienced crocheter who wants to do more than just the same old, same old that you've been doing for years, or if you need a quick present or presents (and don't we all), then this is the book for you!
Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet by Kristi Simpson 
And, if you post a comment on this blog about what you would like to crochet from the book, and why, then you'll be entered in a random drawing for a free copy of the book. To count, your post must be placed by midnight, October 28th, 2013 (that's one week) and you will need to make sure I can contact you if you win. 
Good luck to all, and happy crocheting!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Crocheter's Companion

The Crocheter's Companion
Revised and Updated
By Nancy Brown

I love books. I collect books. I use books. I recommend books. When I hear about a new crochet book, either a pattern book or a technique book or a reference book, or any kind of crochet book, I can't wait to see it, to read it, to acquire it.
I look at a crochet book in various ways: Does it have good information in it? Can I recommend it to my crochet students (who range from beginners to experienced)? Can I use it to refer to when I want some information about a technique, or some ideas and inspiration? Do I want it in my library? So when I was contacted by F&W Media, to see if I would like to review The Crocheter's Companion, Revised and Updated, by Nancy Brown, I immediately said YES! For many reasons. I have worked with Interweave Press (a division of F&W Media) before, and know that they publish well-thought-out, well-written books, by talented and experienced authors and designers. In other words, I like the books they publish! And, even though I have the first edition of The Crocheter's Companion, it would be interesting to see what changes were made in the Revised and Updated Edition.
The first edition was published in 2002. This new edition was published in 2013.
That means that about a dozen years have elapsed between editions, and in those dozen years, many changes have occurred in the crochet world – different techniques became popular, different skill sets are needed, and different language is used.
Just looking at the table of contents in the new book, and comparing it to the table of contents in the old book, I saw some major differences that I am pleased with. The old edition had only one page on Tunisian Crochet. The new edition has an entire chapter devoted to Tunisian Crochet (an old technique that's become popular again in the past few years). The new edition has information on how to read a stitch diagram, how to work foundation sc, foundation hdc, and foundation dc (it calls these stitches "chainless" sc, "chainless" hdc, and "chainless" dc), and how to work extended stitches. All of these techniques and stitches have come into the forefront in the past dozen years, so it's good that this new edition is including them.
What I really like about this book is the way it's packaged. Like the older edition, it's spiral-bound (at the top) with a hard cover. It measures about 7.5" wide x 6" tall, and opens at the top. And when you open it up, it will stay open to the page you select. It's also small in size, so you can stash it in your crochet bag and have it handy whenever and where ever you need it. (At 126 pages, it's not small in information, though!) The older edition was one book that I always recommended to my students. Now I definitely will recommend the Revised and Updated edition – it's a "must-have" for every crocheter!
Oh, one more thing that I like about this book. The Bibliography is a list of 12 books published before 2001. So if you're interested in the history of crochet, and looking at older books, this is a great reference list.
All in all, I recommend this book for all crocheters – beginners through experienced. And I'm glad I have this new revised and updated edition in my library!

Here's where you can find out more about the book – and order it for your very own library!

Interweave/F+W Media, Inc; $19.95
Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/YVSMug
Interweave: bit.ly/YkrBND