Crochet

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And Fashion

crochet for home & fashion
What a great book! “STRIPE IT YOUR WAY for Home & Fashion” is the kind of “go to” book that is so handy to have. The nine projects range from accessories like a scarf, a wrap, a shawl, a slouchy hat and a tote, to home items like a pillow, a lap robe, a bed runner and a star blanket. Whether you are crafting a treat for yourself, or a personalised gift for someone special, you are sure to find a useful idea in this book.

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And FashionSo far I have finished a scarf and started on a bed runner. The instructions for both have been clear and easy to follow. The “Simple Scarf” was very enjoyable. It was definitely simple to do, and grew quickly, while still having enough pattern in it to keep it interesting. I am really happy with the end result.

Stripe It Your Way Crochet For Home And FashionThe bed runner is now also growing fairly quickly. Again, the stitches used are fairly straight forward but keep the work interesting. The yarn information in the book was very useful when I was trying to work out what I needed for this project. I couldn’t use the yarn recommended for either project so was able to use the yarn details given to work out suitable equivalents.

I have enjoyed using several new stitches in these projects. I like learning new things and the diagrams given here are very clear and easy to follow. The photographs of each of the projects throughout the book also give a really good idea of what the stitches as well as the garments/items should look like. To see photographs of the rest of the projects please follow this link to the Leisure Arts website.

I am looking forward to trying out other projects in this book and highly recommend it as a “must have” book for anyone who enjoys doing crochet.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Crochet, Lace Making

Homespun Comfort Shawls

crochet shawls

This review has been a bit delayed, but that has turned out to be a good thing. I like to be able to include my own photos when I am doing a review and the delay has allowed me to use much better ones than I had originally intended.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

This book of “Comfort Shawls”, made using Lion Brand Homespun yarn, is very relevant for me at the moment as we are in the middle of winter here in New Zealand. As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, I was again very impressed with the range of different styles included in this book. There should be something to appeal to everyone.

Homespun Comfort Shawls

The pattern I was drawn to when I first looked at the book was the “Broomstick Lace Shawl” (the third photo above). I had heard of this technique before but had never had the opportunity to try it out. Fortunately one of our local yarn suppliers had the Lion Brand Homespun yarn on sale just when I needed it, this being the reason that the delay was a good thing for me.

IHomespun Comfort Shawls had originally planned on getting a light colour for my shawl, but was really taken with the wonderful rich colours in this darker one. While I still love the colours, I have found this yarn a bit of a challenge to work with. The dark colours and the boucle effect of the yarn make it difficult to see and count the stitches, particularly the setting up chain stitches, so it required a lot of concentration at the beginning. Having said that, I really like the way the garment is turning out, and the lovely soft, warm feel of it.

The instructions in the pattern I am using are very clear. I have found a bit of discrepancy between the instructions and some of the diagrams given, but I have found that sticking to the instructions has produced a good result. The book contains clear instructions and diagrams for all the patterns as well as a number of stitches and techniques, for example fringes.

This yarn and these patterns are a lot different to my usual projects, but I have enjoyed the challenges and learning some new techniques. For more pictures of these lovely shawls please check out the Leisure Arts website.

 

Crochet

Super Simple Summer Tops

Crochet Summer Tops

I have been putting off doing this review because I really wanted to at least get started on one of these tops before writing it. Unfortunately I have not been able to get the yarn I need yet so can’t add in any photos of personal projects.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I really enjoyed looking through this book. If you would like to see more photos please check out this link to the title on Leisure Arts website. We are well into autumn in New Zealand, but I plan to have a go at several of these tops for next summer. I think the lovely variety in this book will mean that most people should be able to find at least one garment which really appeals to them.

The project I was hoping to get started on is the “Ombre Tee” pictured on page 10 in the book and on the right hand side above. I really like the idea of using two strands of fine yarn so that you can use three colours to get a range going through five different colours. This increases the versatility of the pattern and encourages experimentation with different colour combinations.

As with previous Leisure Arts books I have reviewed, this book includes very useful information on abbreviations, hook sizes and yarn weights, and on some of the stitches used. There are some general tips, and some specific information on the yarns used in the project photographs. It was also interesting to have a bit of information about the designer, Melissa Leapman.

I am very happy to recommend this book. With projects ranging from the “Chic Tank” tank top to the elegant long-sleeved “Belle Tunic”, you can find a top for most summer occasions.

Crochet

Yarn Pooling Made Easy

Crochet Yarn Pooling **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The second Leisure Arts book I am reviewing is called “Yarn Pooling Made Easy” by Marly Bird. The second page of this book has several really good tips, the first of which is:

“It is highly recommended that you watch Marly Bird’s tutorial videos on planned color pooling to better understand how the body is made: http://bit.ly/2hoslgr_CrochetPlannedPoolingPlaylist

I would like to reinforce this recommendation and here’s why. I was really intrigued by this technique right from the start. I had a quick look through the book, including the tips on the second page, and then fell into the trap of picking up some wool and a hook and “having a quick play”. After several rather frustrating experiments I concluded two things:

  1. I suspected the yarn I was experimenting with was not quite suitable.
  2. There was probably a good reason for the strong recommendation to watch the video(s).

Consequently, I sat myself down at my computer and watched the “10 Secrets to Perfect Planned Pooling” video. Well! Suddenly everything made a lot more sense and I was able to follow the instructions a lot more easily – who would have thought it! (One day I might learn – see “I Should Know Better By Now!“) The video also confirmed my suspicion that I needed to use a different yarn.

Yarn Pooling Made Easy
Before
Yarn Pooling Made Easy
After

I have included a photo of my best effort at experimenting before watching the video and another of the sample I made after watching it. While the second sample is still not perfect, it is definitely a big improvement on my first efforts.

This pattern book contains a number of lovely designs with great photos and good instructions. Click on the link in the title of the book above to see more photos on the web site.

I am now hooked on this fascinating technique and would recommend this book as a great tool for getting started. Just remember to make life easier for yourself by watching at least one of the videos before you start experimenting. I also found the general instructions and yarn information at the back of the book very helpful.

Crochet

Mirror Image Scarves

Crochet Scarves

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The first Leisure Arts book I am going to review is called “Mirror Image Scarves”. I am not generally a scarf person, but I found the patterns in this book really interesting. I was intrigued by the way the scarves were made and by the finished effect, especially when two colours were used.

Some of the scarves feature in the picture at the top, and you can see more photos if you use the link on the book title to click through to the Leisure Arts website. I chose to make a sample using the “Scallops” pattern.

Mirror Image Scarves I took some photos throughout the project to show how the scarf is made. The example in the book used gold and rust, but I used colours I had on hand and was very pleased with the result. I found the pattern straight forward and scarf was relatively quick and easy to make.

The pattern book gives clear, easy to follow instructions. It has good diagrams to explain a number of stitches, as well as a list of abbreviations, symbols and terms. I liked that they included tables for crochet terminology (US/International), yarn weight symbols and names, and crochet hook sizes (US/Metric – mm). I also found the Yarn Information on the inside of the back page very helpful, especially when combined with the information given at the start of the pattern.

The photographs in the book are colourful and give a clear view of the patterns in each scarf. Overall I was very impressed with this book and look forward to using it for other projects.

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

I’ve Fallen A Bit Behind

I've Fallen A Bit Behind
Image courtesy of Flickr

I’m afraid I’ve fallen a bit behind with my website lately. I’m not quite sure where February went, but we are now into the second week of March!

During February I had several projects on the go which I have now finished. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of any of them and they have now been given to the people I was making them for. The wool I referred to in “Working With Hanks Of Yarn” was knitted into a lovely hooded jacket for a little girl who will be turning two in a couple of weeks. Her Mum wanted it as a birthday present for her.

The second project I have just finished was slippers for my son and his partner who live in Melbourne. Obviously they were not needed in a hurry as it is still very warm over there, but I wanted to include them in a parcel I was sending which was already a bit late. I had fun “playing around” with several patterns (see “Using Patterns As A Guide”) and came up with two unique pairs of slippers which have now been sent on their way.

My main priority now is to catch up with posts for this site. I have been fortunate enough to get hold of copies of several crochet pattern books from Leisure Arts to review. I have really enjoyed looking at some different ideas, and will be posting reviews on them very soon.

Happy handcrafting everyone!