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Update 6 months later! I've now made 2 and a half sweaters; I'm in the middle of the cardigan and can't wait to wear it. I also made "No Sweat" which is an adaptation of "Jewel," my first. All 3 are very successful, easy to wear, get lots of compliments. The instructions ARE a little daunting at first but totally repay the effort, and each sweater gets easier because they build on each other. I'm 2/3 done and I just started 4 days ago on my 3rd design from this book.
The instructions also make it easy to adapt each pattern to try out different weights and textures of yarn for different effects. My crochet skills have gone up several levels by working through these designs. If I only had one crochet book on my desert island, this would be it. (But please can I have a couple of Harmony stitch guides too?!?)
There are a few typos in the book and the publisher randomhouse.com/crown/pottercraft/errata/everydaycrochet.html has posted correx for Cinnabar and Tall Latte designs [...] Jewel size 36 has a typo also; see my crochetalong noted below.
Back to my original review: I got my copy of Doris Chan's new book "Everyday Crochet" last week and I love it! Maybe it deserves a flashier title, but on the other hand, it might be just what it says: crochet for garments I will actually wear. I have never been a fan of following a crochet "recipe" to make something just the way the book says (how would I use up my stash of gorgeous yarns?!). I've made only a few garments: baby sweater using a similar design from Maggie Righetti's wonderful book Crocheting in Plain English. That's the book that has taught me the most about how to understand crochet (updated in Dec.Read more ›
I had a very good look at this in the store, and I thought I'd take the time to put what I saw here, as I noticed its hard to find pictures of whats inside this book on the web. There are quite a few designs in this book, but they work building off what I think was 5 or 7 basic designs. So there's a tank, and then a variation on the tank. There's a sweater and then ways to vary the sweater. Some of the ways to vary the designs are pretty significant so that you start varying after the second round, and if a variation is not siginficant it only takes up a page.
Pictures show the item from more than one angle, and also laying flat, which I like as you can tell what it looks like. Every design inside uses shells. There are more than one type of shell design. There are mostly tops, but also some variations to turn into dresses and coats. There are also coat/sweaters and finally belts. I do think as advertised there's a lot of meat and potato wearable designs.
I have used her designs before, sometimes I find her directions hard to understand, but once I 'get' what she's trying to say I think they are easy to make. Everything in this book is made starting with the neck, and there are no seams. She gives many ideas about varying yarns to make a different effect, and there are good pictures of the shell structures. I like that she shapes the items so you have curves instead of blocky clothing.
IMO This is an excellent book. It is quite different from traditional patterns were you make "pattern peices" and sew them together, but don't let this shy you away. I'm a designer - have an online crochet business and consider myself at advanced level, yet the first pattern I worked was admittedly quite challenging. However, after the 1st came together so quickly I was "hooked". (Try starting with "Galena" p.90 as I did)
The desinger works her patterns from the neckline (yoke) down, and in 1 peice! yes I said 1 peice, adding sleeves right on to the existing body working in rounds! Cool huh?!
The highlight of these patterns is how QUICKLY they work up. I made the "Cinnabar" cardigan in just 2 days! and when I put my hook down, the cardigan was done, no sewing! I'm already on my 3rd project and I've had the book less than a week!
Take the time to read the designers notes in the front of the book, read the patterns carefully, and crochet your little heart out! It's a fun book. (don't miss the in-line link buttons on p137 for your garment closures - it's a "why didn't I think of that" outstanding idea!
In addition, The fit of these patterns are "Brilliant" I pain stakingly fit my designs to my customers taking every measurement I need, yet Doris Chan's designs are so awesome the fit is perfect and there are multiple options for fit based on your measurements. She has that very well covered from size 30" chest to 60" chest! I can't say enough - it's a great addition to your pattern book collection, your options are endless!
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