Thursday, June 07, 2012

Preview: Vogue Crochet

For the last several years, I've been wishing I were a better crocheter. I can do the basic stitches, and if I take my time, I can do something small, like a flower for embellishment (thanks, Sally!) but I haven't gotten consistent enough to tackle a full-size sweater or other garment.

Which is a real shame, because in the last couple of years, there have been all sorts of wonderful crochet designs being released. Now the people behind Vogue Knitting have released a special collector's issue devoted to crochet. There are some lovely garments and helpful articles, so let's do a quick preview.

In addition to all the usual amenities in a VK magazine (like a yarn shop preview, book reviews, and other features), I found the articles in the Crochet Special Issue particularly helpful. Dora Ohrenstein has written an article about finishing crocheted sweaters, along with some photos demonstrating three techniques; Robyn Chachula has written about crochet symbols and charts, and how to decode them; and Daryl Brower spotlights several fiber artists who incorporate crochet into their work in unusual ways.

But I was really taken with the projects in this magazine. I have been guilty in the past of dismissing crochet for sweaters because of the thickness of the fabric and the lack of drape.  (I've probably also been scarred by growing up in a house full of crocheted 70s afghans...) I must remember that crochet does some things that knitting doesn't do, and when handled by top-notch designers who know their craft, it can be absolutely beautiful, especially in its ability to create fabric and motifs with circular, floral, and lacy detail.

My favorite "story" is called "A Fine Romance," and features lacy, feminine garments. This cowl, designed by Yoko Hatta, is lovely

as is this tunic-length wrap sweater (by Robyn Chachula) that uses joined medallions.

Shiri Mor's mesh socks take a very traditional motif -- the pineapple -- and use it in a very untraditional and sexy way!  (The Lorna's Laces Solemate looks luscious; I'm going to have to get some to try out, too.)

Here's a pretty scalloped sweater designed by Dora Ohrenstein:

and Doris Chan doesn't disappoint with an extremely cleverly-designed lace top. There are flower motifs in it, but it is completely seamless and uses variations on the main motif to achieve the shaping.

Two stories highlight specific designers.  Nicky Epstein (who tried to feel up my underwear at Stitches East last fall) shows off some of her crocheted work, such as this lovely top with embellished neckline:

and a medallion throw.

Mari Lynn Patrick's style is very different, as you can see in her profile, featuring a colorful asymmetric top

and a granny-square tunic.

There's an interesting story featuring crocheted jewelry

and another section with some very appealing and wearable sweaters. This is a terrific jacket in rich red designed by Cristina Mershon;

a mitred wrap by Jane Slicer Smith;

Jennifer Hansen's short-sleeved cardigan with lots of drape;

this terrific long sweater by Lisa Daehline with wrapped dropped stitches;

and a lovely tunic top by Mary Beth Temple.

Kathy Merrick's cover wrap, with medallions in various vivid hues of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze is a stunner.

I have to confess to looking through the magazine with an eye on the patterns labeled  "Very Easy" since I am very tempted to pick up a hook and give some of these a whirl....Vogueknitting Crochet is available now, at yarn shops and bookstores; for $6.99, it's a helluva lot of gorgeous crochet for the money.

I was sent a free review copy of the magazine to entice me to review it here, which of course was no hardship.


Suburban Hausfrau said...

I will help you crochet whatever you want this summer, when the children are home from school and we have oodles of free time to eat bonbons and drink wine.

Anonymous said...

I really liked that red sweater, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad people are finally realizing that crochet doesn't have to be stiff and blocky!