I live in Massachusetts. It's cold here. Not all the time, but right now in the middle of winter we're seeing some pretty low numbers! Add in the wind chill and we're talking negative numbers! And as much as I'd love to stay hunkered down in the house with a hot steamy cuppa and my latest project, the need to eat, which necessitates the need to work, means that I have to brave the elements. The best way to combat the wintery winds? Layers. And the final layer before the coat? The Wrap. Don't get me wrong - I love a good scarf, but The Wrap is what I reach for when I'm dressing for the weather. I have wraps in all shapes, sizes, colors and materials - I love each one and I will never have too many! As if their powers of warmth weren't enough, wraps are so stylish and versatile that they simply beg to be worn anytime and anywhere you need to keep a little (or big) chill off your shoulders and neck. Wraps are a wardrobe staple that can see you through every season and any kind of day - from work to weekend, casual to formal there is a wrap for every occasion!
So when Tammy Hildebrand's new book Crochet Wraps: Every Which Way landed on my doorstep, I knew that I was in for a treat. Not only is it about my favorite accessory, it showcases 18 patterns and SIX different techniques! How perfect for someone (me me me) who is always looking to try something new?! Tammy has put together 3 patterns (easy, intermediate and advanced) for each method: Traditional Crochet; Motifs; Broomstick Lace; Hairpin Lace; Tunisian; and Double Ended! Wow!
With so much to choose from, it's hard to know where to start! The Introduction and Tips & Hints at the beginning of the book are quite uplifting and inspirational. It's easy to see that crochet brings Tammy great happiness and she wants us to enjoy it just as much as she does. She offers lots of encouragement to experiment with new colors and not to be afraid to tweak the patterns to suit your personal taste. Because there are six techniques, Tammy's advice to seek out on-line video tutorials and practice along with them is a great idea. The book does have a How-To section with step-by-step instructions and clear photography to help you, but sometimes you need a little more guidance - especially when learning something new.
Since I didn't actually make anything from the book I'm not able to comment on the accuracy or clarity of the instructions. However, each project is beautifully photographed with many shots showing different ways to wear the wraps, as well as the stitch details. In reading through the patterns things look complete and I wasn't thrown my any unfamiliar abbreviations or wording. Plus, I was able to figure out how to do the basic broomstick lace by following the pictures.
Tammy has put together a lot of kick in a little book! It's rare to see so many different techniques all in the same place, and I think using the wrap to showcase the variety of stitches is a brilliant idea! Although there are patterns that are "easy" a true beginner may be overwhelmed. I'd say a confident beginner who is familiar with the basics and is looking for a challenge or the intermediate crocheter who is ready for something new will be very happy with Crochet Wraps. Also, to complete most of the projects specialized tools are required. In addition to the "big" knitting needle for the broomstick lace, you need a loom for the hairpin lace, an extra long hook for the Tunisian crochet and a double ended hook for the double ended crochet. All of these tools are available on-line, but chances are they're not part of your everyday tool box.
And finally, my personal pet peeve about craft book bindings. Like most paperback craft and pattern books this one has a traditional glued binding. While in most instances this is just fine, in craft books it's a bit frustrating because they don't easily stay open while sitting in your lap. You can press the pages open and it will sort of do the trick, but it's hard on the spine, and after a while the book flops open to the page you've used the most. I'm always much happier when my pattern books have a spiral binding! That said, it's certainly not the kind of thing that stops me from buying a book - it's just my personal preference! (I'll be getting of my soap box now and moving on to the fun stuff!)
The folks at Stackpole Books have generously offered a copy of Tammy's book for me to share with you. To spice it up a little I'm including a set of hand crafted stitch markers from Nirvana Designs and a pair of US 35/ 20 mm knitting needles to get you started on your broomstick lace! The contest will run for a week, is free and open to US residents.
I hope you enjoyed the review and will take a moment to enter the contest.
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!