Thursday, October 1, 2015

Crochet Refresher by Sharon Silverman

Many years ago, when I was back in school working on my PhD., I had no time to crochet. I was taking classes, writing my dissertation, teaching classes at the University as part of my teaching Fellowship, and teaching group exercise classes at the local health club. I could only multi-task so much! So I had to stop crocheting for a few years. But during my last year, just before I was going to graduate, while I was still writing my dissertation, my niece had a baby. Now, in my family, whenever there was a new baby arriving, my mother crocheted at least one baby afghan for the new arrival. Of course, it was a granny square afghan. Well, my mother was no longer living, and no one else in the family crocheted, except me. (At least that's what I thought!) So it was up to me, I figured, to make the traditional granny square baby afghan. At least my version of it. I told my niece that as soon as I handed in my dissertation, I would make her baby the family baby afghan. And indeed, I remember that day when I finally turned in the final version of my dissertation. After school, I went to the local yarn store to buy yarn. I didn't know what brand of yarn was available then – it had been about 5 years since I went in that store. But the owner suggested some yarn, and I bought enough skeins (I hoped) to make the afghan, and I probably bought a hook or two (you can never have enough hooks), and I went home and hoped that I still remembered how to crochet, and especially how to crochet a granny square.
When I got home, I sat down with my hook and yarn, and started crocheting. And I remembered! I was able to crochet a granny square, and, I could figure out what I did so I could crochet the same blanket that I had made for myself, many years before. It wasn't my mother's traditional granny square blanket, but it was mine. When I finished it, I wanted to crochet more, but I was having a hard time following written patterns, and working other stitch patterns. I had forgotten a lot about crocheting. So I went looking for a book for people who needed a refresher course in crochet. I wanted easy-to-follow patterns that would review basic stitches and techniques. And I wanted them all in the same book. I didn't want beginner patterns. I wanted easy or a little more difficult patterns. What they call "intermediate". What I needed, what I was looking for, was a book like this new book by Sharon H. Silverman – Crochet Refresher, published by Leisure Arts. (Unfortunately for me, it wasn't available 16 years ago!)

Sharon's book has it all – it's a great refresher for beginning stitches and basic stitches. And it has projects all for baby! (So they're not long projects!) It starts with a washcloth worked with beginning stitches (sc and ch), shown on the cover and in this picture from the book -

and then gives you 4 easy patterns for baby afghans. It then has 2 intermediate patterns for afghans, and 2 intermediate patterns for a baby hat and mittens. And they are all adorable. Each would be a great gift for a baby.
Here are my 2 favorite afghans:

Circle of Love Blanket

And Waves Blanket

I also love the hat shown on the cover!

9 patterns all together, and by the time you have crocheted them, you will have become "reacquainted with your long-abandoned crochet skills!"
(I keep thinking of all the time this would have saved me! Time to crochet!)

This book is available through Leisure Arts, in a paperback version or digital copy. Here's the link:

I know you'll like this book. Just recently, I had a student in my crochet class at my local yarn store (the same one I went to when I was looking for yarn to make the granny square baby afghan 16 years ago - I'm now teaching there!), who hadn't been crocheting for over 6 months. She wanted to just practice her stitches, and didn't know what references she should use. I suggested this book, and she thought it was a good idea. So I know you'll like it too!