by Suzann Thompson
I know what you’re going to say. This is a knitting book site! Why am I reviewing a crochet book?
Now, before you overreact and start calling me a traitor, or something, let me explain.
Even though there is a friendly (I like to think its friendly) rivalry between knitting and crocheting, I think we can all agree that there’s a certain similarity, right? If nothing else, both crafts use yarn, and I think that brings us together far more than the hook-vs-needle debate pulls us apart. Also, many knitters do know at least the basics of crochet–enough to do a crocheted border to a bag, or a to make a button band. (And, please, let’s not get into the “But crochet’s not elastic enough for a button band” debate here.)
What is eminently clear, however, is that knitters like to embellish things. And while you can knit flowers to attach to a hat or a bag, you can also crochet them … and if you do, this is the book you’ll want to have nearby. After all, crocheting is sometimes faster than knitting, and there’s no denying that you can do things with one that you can’t do with the other, so why limit yourself?
The book is divided into sections by type of flower. Some are mostly stylistic in design (Circles within Circles), but some are remarkably realistic (like the Pansy, or the Sunflower). I love the playfulness of some of the layered ones, made from different elements in different yarns. The collection leaves and ferns are potentially very useful. The whole assortment is bright, cheery, and colorful, although I’m ashamed to tell you how many flowers I don’t recognize at all but think are beautiful. (I never claimed to be a gardener.)
The weakest part of the book, in my opinion, are the designs. Not all of them. The big, raffia Columbine on a straw hat, for example, is stunning and beautiful. And the idea of dressing up a gift bag with a coordinating, handmade flower is charming. Love those. Appliqued to a throw pillow, well, sure. But … crocheted flowers on a shower curtain? Glued to a note card? (Looks pretty enough, I suppose, but won’t that make writing on the cards kind of difficult? Not to mention hard to fit in an envelope?)
But, really, that’s not the point. The point is that this is a garden of pretty flowers just waiting to embellish YOUR handknits. Because even if knitting and crochet aren’t meant to be “mixed,” that doesn’t mean they can’t play nicely together.
As a plus, they are photographed nicely, the layout of the book is friendly to look at, and all the flowers are listed in the Table of Contents. It’s a friendly, happy kind of book.
Reviewed by Deb Boyken
Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at http://knittingscholar.com.