Sunday, 31 October 2010

Crochet In No Time

Crochet in No Time by Melody Griffiths

This book has turned out to be possibly EVEN MORE generally useful in a very broad way than Griffiths’ other book 201 motifs. It contains patterns for objects, articles and garments across a wide spectrum, from the simplest of scarves, through afghans and shawls at every level, your standard sweaters and tops, even some consummately wearable jewellery, to some very desirable cuddly toys.

I first judged this book by its cover, and bought it for the cardigan pattern on the front – which I haven’t got round to trying yet, as it happens!

Image courtesy of

I have, however, made the frill-edged sweater on page 72 and very pleased I am with it too.

After that, just a little bit weary of crocheting the same stitch in the same yarn for so long I turned my attention to the Granny Square hat on page 33. I made a lovely one and gave it to my niece in New Zealand. She looked fabulous in it and took it back home in July to wear right away!

But this hat inspired me to make the leap from making other people’s patterns to ADAPTING them to my own ideas. I made a couple more hats in the same vein, to arguable success, and finally settled on a simple but very effective fan pattern taken straight from the pages of Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker, instead of the granny squares and made my own Winter 2010 slouch hat in alpaca/silk.

I do hope Ms Griffiths is working on another book!

Crochet in no time is available from Amazon at: Click Here

Friday, 22 October 2010

Loop Vintage Crochet

Loop Vintage Crochet
by Susan Cropper

This book kept turning up every time I browsed Amazon. I'm into the whole 'vintage'y thing, (loving Kath Kidston's collections and the whole Swallows & Amazons (ha!) Enid Blyton theme that's been running through garments and int
eriors these past few years) so I didn't take too much persuasion to invest in a book that hit my taste buds twice.

(Image courtesy of

I could hardly wait for my new book to arrive on my door mat and settled down happily to relish it when it arrived. But, though there is some beautiful photography and one or two nice ideas, I have to confess to an initial feeling of mild disappointment. Maybe I expected too much of it? I don't know. I think the single biggest thing that interested me from the advertising was a cushion cover that appears on the back cover, and that turned out NOT to be included in the patterns at all, but merely to be plonked on a bed covered in a crocheted BLANKET which WAS featured. The BLANKET I could see at a glance how it was made - using a wave stitch there were instructions for in Melody Griffiths' 201 motifs......
Still, I think I more or less worked out how the stitch was completed on my own......
No I didn't really like all the doylies and one or two other somewhat baffling pieces like a sort of knotted net tent that didn't keep the sun off or keep anyone warm....So perhaps directly it was not such a good source of patterns I could use. However (and it's a big however) it IS a beautiful book and the editorial is warm and friendly and makes you want to visit their Islington shop (haven't done so yet - it's slightly off my usual routes!) And as I mentioned before, I'd seen instructions for the wave pattern in another book but I have to say Loop Vintage Crochet made me want to actually try it and inspired me again in pos
sibly the most creative way I had been so far! Perhaps it was something to do with its source being so much closer to home, but I began to feel much more confident about striking out on my own after reading this book and started making sketches for NEW ideas, and beginning to crochet swatches for entirely original pieces of my own. So thanks Loop, for the sea change in my view of the craft and its possibilities!

This book is available from Amazon at: CLICK HERE

My attempt at the
wave pattern
after seeing it used
in this book

Thursday, 21 October 2010

201 Crochet motifs, blocks, projects and ideas

201 Crochet
motifs, blocks, projects and ideas
by Melody Griffiths

This was my second crochet book. Think I might have found it in the same bookshop as the first, well into the year following receipt of my 'spare-time changing' Christmas gift of Debbie Stoller's
Happy Hooker.

It couldn't be more different in so many ways, though I loved it from the start and have spent almost as many happy hours lost between its pages and getting coffee cup rings over its easy to read patterns.

First of all it's British, and not American, which means that though the stitches themselves are identical, they've got different names! Still, undaunted I kept The Happy Hooker open at the page with the stitch translation table on it and set out to test my skills and knowledge on some of Ms Griffith's gorgeous collection of beautiful motifs.

It's another book that excites and inspires and seems to wax and wane with me, apparently having a pattern to match any of my moods. Sometimes I feel like challenging myself with something fine, lacy and complex on a 1.5mm hook, and at other times I just want colour and easy freedom so I grab a no 4 and thrash out one of her 'takes' on the Granny Square. Not long after I bought it I followed the pattern for a cushion cover made of popcorn bobbled squares. That was my very first full-blown project. It took me a whole week's holiday in Ilfracombe crocheting in every cafe and restaurant, on each
beach, and all evening in front of the telly back at our holiday apartment. I stitched all the squares together back at home in London and gave the final object to my suitably appreciative mum for her birthday.

You can get this book from Amazon. Just CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Stitch n' Bitch Crochet - The Happy Hooker

Stitch n' Bitch Crochet -
The Happy Hooker
by Debbie Stoller
(illustration courtesy of

How could I resist a book with this title?

I picked it up on a browsing mission one Sunday in Greenwich and was sucked in for about three quarters of an hour. By the time I looked up I had but one ambition in life - to learn to crochet!

Yup, this was the book that started it all for me and I asked for it for Christmas. Luckily I had a partner who listened and that's exactly what I got - no more, and no less. That is, for a couple of agonising days I possessed the book but no yarn and no hook! However, Stoller's such a stonking good writer and a comedienne to boot, I was able to start enjoying my chrissie pressy right after the Christmas Pudding!

Well Stoller blows away any connotations of staid uncoolery, or embarassing chicness voids, she is NO Granny Square! I was more than happy to sign up for Club Crochet with her as Chairman and President! I just worked my way steadily through all her clear and funny instructions, chuckling my way up from the foundation chain of beginnerdom to something approaching the lacy crown of advancedness within about a year - and loving every minute.

Now, of course, I have LOADS of books on crochet and have truly made the grade of Crochet Addict with my proud overflowing STASH of yarns and a hidden collection of lost crochet hooks down the back of the sofa and between the floor boards, but I always return to Debbie when i'm feeling flat, and she fans up those flames and off I go again on another inspired creative jolly.....

Available from Amazon on: this page (click here)

Some of my own attempts at Debbie's exercises and projects

The Violet Beauregarde

The Short n' Sweet