Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Book Reviews-"Crochet for Bears to Wear" & "Crochet Lace Innovations"

Potter Craft, a division of Crown Publishing, a division of Random House sent me out two books to review.  The first one, "Crochet for Bears to Wear", by Amy O'Neill Houck.  The release date for this book is actually today, congrats Amy!  (There was some turnover at Potter and my books came overnight last night, hence the late semi-review).  Now, I admit, I don't really have anyone who still play with bears, however I do intend to dig out a bear from Elena's stuff and make something for the bear.  I will say this though, after reading Amy's introduction, if you thought this book isn't for you, it may be-why?  It's a terrific primer for those who might be afraid to move on from hats and scarves to actual garment construction.  It's perfect for learning techniques and design, without human sized commitment.  You will learn seam-less top down crochet, ribbing, lace, colorwork, etc.  Since bears range in sizes, this will also help you learn to adapt patterns for sizing.  In retrospect, you could probably adapt the patterns for a baby.  Even better, each pattern would only use a skein or two of yarn (stashbusting) and yarn substitution should be a breeze.  This book has schematics, techniques, has it all and honestly, could be used as a reference book.  So while, admittedly, when offered the book for review, I first turned it down because I didn't think I would use it (and didn't want to waste it)-so surprise for me!

Book Two, Doris Chan's "Crochet Lace Innovations" (also being released today) is her third book.  I own her other two books and am looking forward to digging in.  This book features 20 designs, incorporating Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian and Exploded Lace.  Now, mind you, I do not know how to do Broomstick or Hairpin Lace, I have stuff for Tunisian, so I am a bit intimidated by this book.  There are tutorials for each method with patterns and the book suggests "practice if you are a newbie".  The exploded lace has several patterns, The Zhaan Wrap offers three patterns in one:  Scarf, Stole or Wrap.  There are some great Tunisian scarf patterns and all patterns have schematics, charts, and skill level ratings.  I am looking forward to studying this book more in depth, especially with the surge of people going back to using the more traditional crochet techniques of Broomstick, Hairpin and Tunisian.

Hopefully, I will have tried a pattern or two out of each book and will update the site with my reviews on the patterns themselves.


Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Hi Deneen--thank you for the review, and for taking the time to read the introduction...your reaction is exactly what I hoped people would find--that in addition to the cute subject matter, there's a lot of fun stuff to learn in Crochet for Bears to Wear. Enjoy the book!

Deneen said...

Welcome Amy. I honestly wasn't sure about the book (not that it wouldn't be good, I just don't do doll clothes or anything)-but yes, I read it and the introduction was ingenious. For someone like me, garment construction seems daunting and, after reading your intro, it "clicked" how this could be used as a primer and practice book. Great books and congratulations.

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