25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Tutorials and progress pictures help you learn new techniques,
This review is from: Crochet Scarves: Fabulous Fashions - Various Techniques (Paperback)
(Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Stackpole Books.)
Although I generally prefer "technique books" to "pattern books," I was eager to check out my review copy of Crochet Scarves: Fabulous Fashions - Various Techniques from Stackpole Books. On the surface, this seems like it would be a straightforward book of scarf patterns. Instead, it is chock full of step-by-step tutorials and lessons for different crochet techniques.
The book includes 21 scarf patterns. The patterns use Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, filet crochet, and "standard" crochet techniques like increasing and decreasing, bobbles, and post stitches. The patterns includes a range of skill levels (4 easy, 11 intermediate, and 6 experienced). Each pattern is introduced briefly, shown in a photograph (usually on a mannequin), and then presented as a pattern. Even the simpler patterns include several photographs of the stitches being worked, and the more complicated patterns include several pages of step-by-step photos. The progress pictures are presented before the pattern instructions, which are shown using both U.S. crochet terminology and international stitch symbols.
Although all of the patterns are for scarves, Sharon manages to keep the styles diverse enough to hold your attention. My favorite patterns are Accordian Arrows, Changing Tides, Diamond Loop, Grecian Ladders, Premium Cable (which includes a great tutorial on Tunisian cables), Monet's Village, and Sea Splash. This is a book that you can definitely grow with, as there are plenty of techniques and stitches to learn. There is even a Techniques section in the back which includes step-by-step photos of all the basic crochet and Tunisian crochet stitches, as well as tips on pattern reading. At the end of the book, there is a small photo of each pattern with the corresponding page number, so it is easy to find your favorites.
There are a few things that could be improved. The book is a paperback, and, like most paperbacks, doesn't lay flat when open. This makes it challenging to read along or look at the step-by-step photos while crocheting. The projects are shown on mannequins and against neutral backgrounds, but it would be helpful (and more attractive) to see the scarves on people. Finally, I don't agree that the Cactus Lace broomstick lace pattern is at the experienced skill level. I think that designation may scare off a relative newbie to crochet, when broomstick lace is actually quite simple (especially with Sharon's step-by-step photos).
Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for beginner and intermediate crocheters who want to make relatively simple projects while also learning new skills. An adventurous newbie who learns well from photographs could use this book to learn to crochet. And, of course, if you like making scarves, this is definitely the book for you.
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Initial post: Jan 18, 2013 8:15:42 AM PST
You are quite correct about the book needing to have pictures of the scarves on actual people. The front cover is very attractive because the scarf is on an actual person with a red background that sets it off. The rest of the book is unattractive and a real "turn off" because the scarves are not shown to their advantage.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2013 12:09:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 18, 2013 12:10:10 PM PST
Underground Crafter says:
Thanks for your comment, Teresa. The designer, Sharon Silverman, explained to me that they decided to display the scarves on the mannequins for a few reasons, including that having pictures of models can date a book (due to hairstyles and other accessories, etc.) quickly. The book is worth it, though! Best wishes, Marie
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