Saturday, March 10, 2018

Crochet Kaleidoscope
Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs

By Sandra Eng
Published by Interweave, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc.
Copyright 2018

When I was asked to review this new book by Sandra Eng – Crochet Kaleidoscope - and found out that it had 100 motifs, all I could think about was PERFECT! I had been reading about other crocheters who had lost what they are calling their "cro-jo" – in other words, their desire to crochet. I had somewhat lost it, too. I was having some muscle aches and pains, some swelling, and just couldn’t get up the energy I needed to crochet a big project. Which I needed to do. But I thought that I could crochet some motifs – and finish each of them quickly. So I said yes, I would love to review the book of motifs. And I'm happy I did!
Sandra Eng has put a lot into this book. Not only does she show the motifs, (and includes the written patterns and the stitch diagrams), she also shows how to vary the colors of each motif – make them only one color, or use different colors and change the colors on different rounds of the motifs. All intended to make each motif your own. In other words, she gives you permission to change things up.
She has a chapter on choosing colors, too, whether it's using your favorite colors, or contrasting colors, or gradient colors.

She gives some good ideas on how to pick colors. And once you pick the colors, you have to decide how many colors you want in each motif, and which order you're going to use them in. 
So if you're not sure about colors, she helps you with that step in making the motifs. (She also says that working a motif in a solid color is good!)

Next, she divides the book into chapters for different shaped motifs – 



and Triangles and Other Shapes. 

Each motif has the written pattern, a stitch diagram (just in case you run into trouble reading the written pattern), and most have alternate colorways you can use. Then, there are directions for 5 different patterns, and how to put the motifs together to make the patterns: a rug, a shawl, a pillow, a blanket, and a table runner. (The Pillow is my favorite – here is a picture of it.)

If you have trouble reading the stitch diagrams, there is a stitch key, and there is a glossary of stitches if you're not sure how to make a certain stitch. There are also two pages of 50 basic square motifs, one in each of the 50 colors that were used in the 100 motif patterns in the book.
So everything you need to know is taken care of. 

I wanted to try some of the motifs, but I wanted to use one yarn for each motif. (Weaving in ends is not my favorite thing to do!) So I picked some yarn from my stash that was either self-striping, or had large areas of one color. I made one swatch 3 times, with 3 different types of yarn. This was swatch #46, the Circle in a Square. Here are the two swatches that are in the book:

And here are the 3 swatches that I crocheted. I used different weights of yarn, too.

I used a "self-striping" yarn (on top), a yarn with different blocks of color (on the bottom left), and another self-striping yarn (bottom right).

Then, I wanted to try a triangle swatch – so I picked Swatch #94. Here are the two swatches that are in the book:

And here is my swatch:

This was a yarn that had large blocks of color, but here it almost looks like I used a solid color yarn.

Last, I wanted to do a smaller swatch that could be used in between two larger ones, or could be used by itself. I picked Swatch #63. Here is the swatch in the book:

And here is my swatch:

This was a self-striping yarn.

After I worked my swatches, I decided that this would be a good book to have – you can use yarn leftover from different projects (we all have that, don't we?), and just about any weight of yarn to make various swatches. Or the same swatch with different yarns of the same weight. If you have yarns of different weights (like I had with the swatches for the Circle in the Square), you can always make individual swatches into coasters, or hanging decorations. Or you can be organized with your swatches and make one (or more) of the patterns in the book. One nice thing about the motifs, they don't take a long time to crochet. So if you have lost your desire to crochet a big project, but still want to crochet, you can pick one of these motifs, work it with various yarns, either one or more colors, and you'll be crocheting again. 

You can order the book from Interweave  here: