350+ Crochet Tips, Techniques,
and Trade Secrets.
By Jan Eaton.
July 2017. 160p. illus. St. Martin’s/Griffin, paper, $22.99
Crochet is an ever-popular craft enjoyed by
people of all ages. This book offers guidance
for those just learning and those more experienced, with color photographs illustrating
just about everything involved in crocheting. Guides to the basics
of hooks, tools, and yarns
start the reader at the beginning and then move
on to patterns and charts,
design, techniques, working in the round, working
with color, and assembling
and finishing. Throughout the book, sidebars titled “Fix It” offer tips
and hints for addressing common problems,
while those labeled “Try It” include ideas for
experimenting and for developing new skills.
A variety of colors and types of yarn is used
to illustrate the techniques and projects, providing a wide-ranging and interesting visual
experience. Similarly, a range of types of projects and applications is included, showcasing
the way crochet looks and works in scarves,
jackets, buttons, edgings, socks, blankets,
embellishments, and more. Even those who
don’t crochet will find useful details here in
the sections on garment shapes, color theory,
and home dyeing. A very informative book
that will find steady use in virtually any craft
collection. —Anne Heidemann
350+ Knitting Tips, Techniques, and
Trade Secrets. Rev. ed.
By Betty Barnden.
July 2017. 160p. illus. St. Martin’s/Griffin, paper, $22.99
Written as a guide to accompany new or
experienced knitters as they work or design patterns, this book covers a wide array
of techniques. Starting with equipment and
materials, most items a knitter might use are
pictured in color photographs and described
in a sentence or paragraph. Yarn weights and
types are illustrated in bands in the same
swatch, offering a nice visual comparison
(though lace weight is absent, perhaps as it
is more often used on larger needles) of how
they differ when worked in stockinette stitch.
From there, Barnden offers advice for purchasing yarn, following written and charted
patterns, and pattern sizing, before moving on
to design elements including color, drape, texture, and more. Basic techniques are described
and illustrated in a very clear, step-by-step
manner perfect for a new knitter, and then
the projects proceed in a logical progression
through increasingly complicated concepts.
The variety and scope of information make
this book equally useful for beginners and
those doing more advanced work such as
adapting or designing patterns. Useful for virtually all knitters, this is a must for all craft
collections. —Anne Heidemann
40 Colorful Afghans to Crochet: A
Collection of Eye-Popping Stitch
Patterns, Blocks & Projects.
By Leonie Morgan.
July 2017. 128p. St. Martin’s, paper, $21.99
(9781250125064); e-book (9781250125071). 746.434.
It’s a simple solution, really. Welsh crocheter
and author Morgan rearchitects the traditionally overloaded instructional pattern in three
ways. First, separate yarn quantities needed
via a back-of-the-book chart that covers three
different sizes of afghans—baby blanket,
throw, bedspread—plus specific manufacturers’ colors. Next, concentrate on easy- or
intermediate-skilled designs; not many needleworkers are advanced enough to tackle
the highest level of difficulty. And finally,
after weeks of crocheting a huge project,
why not cap that achievement by adding just
the right edging? Morgan’s 40 designs either
follow a block or a row-by-row implementation; each includes the standard information,
from hooks and gauges to stitching graphs,
and highlights the more unusual stitches
like bobbles and puffs, so paging back and
forth between how-tos is avoided. One last
note: it would have been a bonus if the dozen
edgings were paired with the appropriate afghans for best effect. —Barbara Jacobs
Crafting for Cat Ladies: 35 Purr-fect
By Kat Roberts.
May 2017. 128p. illus. Lark, paper, $16.95
This book takes its love of cats seriously yet
maintains a sense of humor about the ways
cat lovers advertise their affection through
the things they wear and use. Most of the
crafted items here are not subtle but will
please those wishing to make a feline fash-
ion statement. Many are actually ways to
embellish existing clothing or objects with
cat-related images, such as the Cats Rule Ev-
erything around Me tote bag and Look at
Me Meow bejeweled shirt collar. Some, like
the long-haired, faux-fur Persian Cat Wrap
Skirt, are so over the top that they might
be most appropriate as costume-party garb.
The wide variety of craft techniques used
includes hand and machine sewing, iron-
on, embroidery, decoupage, stamping, fuse
beads, macramé, and more. Clear, simple,
step-by-step instructions are illustrated with
color photos, and templates are provided for
many of the projects. Puns abound, and the
array of projects will suit a range of readers.
Cat fans will appreciate the inclusion of bios
of the feline models pictured throughout the
book. —Anne Heidemann
Design Your Own Crochet Projects: Magic
Formulas for Creating Custom Scarves,
Cowls, Hats, Socks, Mittens & Gloves.
By Sara Delaney.
Oct. 2017. 256p. illus. Storey, $18.95 (9781612126586).
This is a book for crocheters who want to
do things the right way. And while beginners
should find it easy enough to follow along, it
is really the more experienced who will appreciate what Delaney has done here. Using
the swatch as a cornerstone to projects, she
shows how important the basics are to creating. The heart of the book holds the formulas
and templates that show readers how to not
only make the projects offered but to customize them. Beginning with simple scarves
that even those new to crocheting should be
able to manage, the book then moves on to
hats, gloves, mittens, cowls, and socks, all illustrated with lovely color photographs that
will entice readers. Discussion of fiber and
stitches is helpful in decisions, and the 31
crochet stitches in the addendum are a plus.
The fill-in templates might give libraries
pause, but it is likely crafters will just copy
them (permission is given in the book). At
first glance, this looks daunting, but Delaney
presents the material in a way that will get
readers comfortable quickly. —Ilene Cooper
The Essential Book of Homesteading: The
Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Living.
By Ashley English.
May 2017. 368p. illus. Lark, $24.95 (9781454710202). 640.
Contemporary homesteading encompasses
a wide range of DIY activities, including the
four covered here: raising chickens, canning
and preserving, making dairy products, and
beekeeping (growing edible plants is not included). The not-entirely-positive origins of
the term homesteading are briefly acknowledged, but the book primarily focuses on
specific instructions for how to accomplish
a wide variety of tasks. The author quit her
day job and made homesteading her full-time
lifestyle but aims here to provide manageable things that those with other obligations
can work into their routine. Several chapters
are devoted to raising chickens for egg production and cover the gamut from planning
and preparation to managing avian illnesses.
Step-by-step instructions with color photos
are included in the canning and preserving
section along with recipes. The dairy chapters