Top critical review
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Is she wearing a tablecloth?
on January 5, 2007
As an avid crocheter, I have been so thrilled to see crochet sweaters, skirts, etc. in department stores, catalogs, and on runways in recent seasons. Usually, I look at a beautiful and stylish garment, and think "I could make this," and at a fraction of the cost of buying the finished garment. For this reason, I have been on a quest in recent months for beautiful, stylish, accessible crochet patterns that reflect the actual trends in fashion that we are currently seeing.
When I first saw the cover and description for Doris Chan's book, "Amazing Crochet Lace...", I was ecstatic. Finally, someone had taked the time to translate elements from beautiful, old-fashioned lace, and integrated it into the garments I was seeing all around me! So I ordered her book, sight unseen, and eagerly awaited its arrival, all the while planning my fall/winter crochet binge.
When the book arrived, and I anxiously thumbed through the patterns, I was bitterly disappointed. These are not patterns inspired by doilies, they are actual doilies, blown-up to gargantuon proportions, draped over the shoulders and re-named a shawl. Or, in one case, doilies with large holes in the center that one is supposed to center on the waist and call a skirt. All in all, I believe I counted 2 patterns in this book that are not doily-wannabees, or at least ripped up doilies strategically re-sewn to intimate sleeves. Notably absent are the sweaters, halters, elegant skirts, jackets, and peasant shirts I had daydreamed about finding. In their place are shawls, a couple of skirts, shawls, a very odd-looking tank, and would you believe, more shawls!
Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps I am very particular about my choice of patterns. Perhaps I am simply frustrated from years of trying to justify my favorite craft as more than just a technique for making (you guessed it) shawls (or ponchos or shrugs) or as a finishing technique for knitting. I am so hungry for patterns that actually reflect what is going on in fashion today, and unfortunately I do not have the fortitude to simply buy the garments I like, copy the patterns, and return them (and yes, I have done that).
Don't get me wrong; some of Ms. Chan's lace patterns are very beautiful and intricate. They just don't work as clothing. In fact, I am thinking of miniaturizing a couple to put on my coffee table as doilies.
Please, someone, somewhere, get us crocheters some decent patterns!!!