Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Crochet fans, rejoice!

I ushered the kids off to school yesterday, and after doing the happy dance on the way home from the bus stop, sat down with a nice cup of coffee to peruse this:

a preview copy of Kathy Merrick's beautiful new book, Crochet in Color: Techniques and Designs for Playing with Color, which will be released by Interweave Press any day now.

It is spectacular.

So today, as a special back-to-school treat, I will present a very special Blossom sneak preview. Let's start with the purpose of the book, the "mission statement," if you will:

I have seen many [crochet] projects that are fascinating and take much technical skill, but even those of us who consider ourselves 'arty' or fashionable may be hard-pressed to wear the finished pieces outside the house. There are also many projects that are practical and usable but not very challenging or exciting to make. My hope is that you will find this book a helpful resources that merges the best of both worlds.

Wearability, fun and challenging to make, and lots of color? Those are lofty goals, but Merrick proves up to the challenge.

Warm Colors Striped Blanket

She begins with a brief introduction and some exercises for working color, then jumps right into the projects. You'll find 17 projects, organized into four categories: One Or Two Colors, Stripes, Color Blocks, and Color Adventures. I doubt I'll be accused of exaggeration when I say that each project is more gorgeous than the last, and all of them are marvelous.

Firefly Cardigan

Chapter 1 features designs done in only a single or two colors of yarn, including an adorable pleated hat; a button-up cardigan, shown above (I like the way the back pleats help give the sweater waist shaping); a bobbly scarf; and the spectacular Granada Shawl. That Grenada Shawl may in and of itself entice me to take the hook back up and practice my crochet, because it is beautiful.

Granada Shawl

Stripes, Chapter 2, features the Tropical Stripe Wrap (a beautiful use of Koigu), a striped blanket (mmm-Malabrigo), and the fetching Butterfly Turtleneck.

Butterfly Turtleneck

Color Blocks features the very charming chain lace scarf (again, a gorgeous blend of various multicolors of Koigu), a block-motif coat, and another stunning wrap called "Autumn Sun" (done in one of my favorites, Trekking XXL sock yarn). But perhaps my favorite in the book is the Urchins and Limpets Blanket, a creative use of texture and muted color.

Urchins and Limpets Blanket

This, dear readers, is cutting edge crochet, the kind of design that is truly innovative and gorgeous.

Splashy Flowers Scarf

Last, you'll find Color Adventures, beginning with the Clover Hat, a pillow with a swirled colorwork design, a tuffet made with wedges of color; a floral-motif scarf (made in Noro Silk Garden), the Circles Table topper (interesting use of perle cotton thread)

Circles Table Topper

and the "Tiny Motif Sweater," a charming short-sleeved number.

The book includes four pages of colorwork techniques, four more pages of finishing techniques and an illustrated glossary of stitches.

Chain Lace Big Fat Scarf

As you'd expect from an Interweave Press book, you've got full color, lots of photos, nice charts, inset boxes with additional tips, a layout that cleverly uses a colorblock motif, all for a MSRP of $22.95 (pre-order for $15.61 by clicking here). The book is paperback and approximately 128 pages.

I don't know from crochet, but I do know what I like, and I like -- make that "love" -- this book. It's full of color, creativity and style, using beautiful yarns and featuring wearable-yet-unconventional projects. So two rousing thumbs-up for a beautiful book and a valuable contribution to crochet design. Well done, my friend; well done.


Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

Now I DO know from crochet and I need this book!

Unknown said...

It amazes me that for years they put out crappy booklets on knitting and then so few people would buy them, they had to go to a more fashion-forward presentation of knitting.

It's about time this happened in the crochet world.

I knew Kathy could do it!

Kathy Merrick said...

You are so kind, my friends! I had lots of fun making this book.
It's not bad... for crochet. Har.

LeighBLou said...

Oh, so frakkin' gorgeous! And totally agree with Joe. Crochet has languished in the granny closet too long. It's time for some really beautiful designs. I have Kristin Omdahl's book Wrapped in Crochet and it is completely captivating also. I made a shawl from it and will definitely be wearing it out of the house. Thanks for blogging this. It's definitely going on my Christmas list.

Anonymous said...

Ack! Now I gotta get my crochet up to speed- the book looks completely fantastic!

Kathleen Dames said...

Hehe, "a very special Blossom". Guess it's time for me to learn to do more than chain one in crochet!

anne marie in philly said...

congrats, kathy!

I saw this book show up in my crafter's choice selections yesterday.

now, I don't crochet, but I know several people who do...and the holidays are coming up... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Is this is the sound of one hand, knitting? YAY Kathy. I knew she could do it! She is a crocheter with great style and taste. What a rare and handy talent.


Anonymous said...

I have some of those hook-thingies lurking about--this book must be what they's been waiting for!


Bridget said...

Looks like a fabulous book. Now if I could just learn to crochet ... (I've taken lessons twice, to no avail.)

Congratulations, Kathy!

Anonymous said...

I can crochet but always think I don't like the look of the fabric - some of these pieces just might change my mind. Will hustle out to find it in a bookstore. Many thanks Kathy for writing it, Carol for reviewing.
- Beth

Anonymous said...

Very good christmas present. I have an aunt that will your book. Thanks.

lunastrixae said...

I got this book today on your recommendation. I can't wait to break out some of my sock yarns for the autumn sun wrap and big fat scarf. Thanks for the review!