• Crochet Book Reviews

    Our Maker Life Book by Jewell Washington Review

    Cover of the Our Maker Life Book by Jewell Washington with text overlay indicating this is a book review
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    Today I have the opportunity to share a new and unique title to the fibre arts community with you called Our Maker Life: Knit and Crochet Patterns, Inspiration, and Tales From the Creative Community from Jewell Washington and Our Maker Life. I just finished reading this title, that launched April 20, 2021 and I’ll be sharing my review of Our Maker Life with you today and giving you some insight into this book.

    Thank you to Abrams Books who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    If you are unfamiliar with Our Maker Life, it is an online “movement for makers, by makers”. Our Maker Life is an online community of fibre arts creators committed to contributing to the fibre arts industry and provides opportunities for those makers to network and connect with eachother. Before the pandemic hit, they hosted in-person events for makers to connect in-person and to network. Unfortunately the pandemic put a stop to those activities but I hope they will resume them again when it is safe to do so. You can learn more about Our Maker Life (OML) on their Instagram account HERE.

    Image from inside the Our Maker Life book by Jewell Washington being reviewed

    OML is broken down into two parts. Part one of the book, is an amalgamation of maker stories to inform and inspire. I enjoyed reading each maker story for each fibre artist – some of which were familiar to me and some were new. The stories were brief and described each maker’s unique story they wanted to tell. This book is about highlighting each maker’s unique story and contribution to the fibre arts industry. There are 17 different maker stories included.

    Part Two of Our Maker Life is a collection of knitting and crochet patterns from a variety of different makers. Of the 15 patterns included in the book, 7 are crochet and 8 are knit. This book and its patterns are geared towards experienced makers. The resource section for pattern support is 2 pages of written instruction and does not contain image support. If you are an experienced maker or a resourceful beginner that will source support online, this isn’t a big deal. The patterns included in the book offer a variety of different project types and include:

    • A Knit Scarf
    • Sweaters: A Knit Baby Sweater, An Adult Knit Sweater and 3 Crochet Sweaters
    • A Knit Headband
    • Two Knit Hats
    • A Crochet Dress
    • A Crochet Wrap
    • Knit Socks
    • A Knit Cowl and a Crochet Cowl
    • Crochet Pajamas
    Image of a pattern from inside the OML book with some hand dyed yarn in a flat lay

    If you’re excited about the prospect of all those garment patterns in the book, you’ll need to know that most of the adult garments in the book are graded from sizes S to XL. There are two garments in the book that are more size inclusize: The Traveler Hoodie, by Evelyn and Peter is a crochet cardigan that includes sizes from XS to 4X and the Oversized Turtleneck crochet pattern from Ariel Thongsaly of The Knitted Sisters is graded in sizes XS to 5XL. I found all the patterns, both knit and crochet to be clear and easy to understand.

    Crochet dress pattern from the Our Maker Life Book

    If you’re looking to get to know some of the stories or inspiration from a variety of makers (possibily discovering someone new) that comes with the added bonus of some fun projects to make, you may enjoy adding this book to your library.

    If you’re interested in purchasing Our Maker Life, you can find it for sale HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    How to Crochet Animals: Ocean Review

    Cover of How to Crochet Animals: Ocean by Kerry Lord with text indicating this is a crochet book review
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    I have been working my way through the How to Crochet Animals series of books by Kerry Lord and this week I’m taking a look at the last book in the series currently available called How to Crochet Animals: Ocean.

    Thank you to Lark Crafts who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    How to Crochet Animals: Ocean is one of 4 different books in the series. There are also Wild, Farm and Pets. Check out my review of Wild HERE, Farm HERE.

    Kerry Lord is a recognizable name for amigurumi toy makers since releasing her book Edward’s Menagerie which was a huge hit, in 2014. She has gone on to publish multiple amigurumi pattern books since then that have been popular amigurumi pattern book titles. How to Crochet Animals: Ocean is one of the latest releases by Kerry Lord and it contains 25 crochet animal patterns for ocean animals and creatures. How to Crochet Animals: Oceans contains the patterns for many animals that live in or near the oceans on our planet. The animals contained in the book are:

    JellyfishSardines
    OctopusUrchin
    PufferfishSquid
    StarfishSea Turtle
    CrabLobster
    Sea SlugHermit Crab
    SeahorsePrawn
    PelicanRay
    SharkBlue Whale
    NarwhalSea Snake
    Hammerhead SharkClownfish
    MackerelPenguin
    Conch Shell

    image of a crochet squid from the book about amigurumi ocean animals being reviewed.
    image of a crochet octopus from How to crochet animals: wild in a flat lay with clover amour crochet hooks


    As in the last three Kerry Lord books that I reviewed, How to Crochet Animals: Wild, How to Crochet Animals: Farm and How to Crochet Animals: Pets, this book starts off with talking about essential tools and yarn. Just like the others, this book touches on the gauge aspect of amigurumi toys but doesn’t provide enough detail to be of much use in assisting new crocheters understanding why it is important or how it affects amigurumi toys. The rest of the resources in the book are clear and well-laid out.

    Purple sea urchin from the book How to Crochet Animals: Ocean by Kerry Lord

    The toys themselves are cute and in this book I really enjoyed the hermit crab and hammerhead shark patterns. My kids are big into ocean creatures so there were lots of requests for toys from this book. As I’ve come to expect with the books in the How to Crochet Animals series, the patterns are clear and easy to understand and contain technique pages throughout the book to assist readers in learning new techniques needed to successfully complete projects.

    I have enjoyed exploring and checking out the How to Crochet Animals series by Kerry Lord and have found all four of them to be well-written resources that are accessible for a variety of skill levels.

    If you’re interested in buying a copy of How to Crochet Animals: Ocean by Kerry Lord, you can check it out HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    How to Crochet Animals: Farm Review

    Front cover of How to Crochet Animals: Farm by Kerry Lord with text indicating a book review
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out How to Crochet Animals: Farm: 25 Mini Menagerie Patterns by Kerry Lord and I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about.

    Thank you to Lark Crafts who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    If you like to crochet amigurumi toys then you may already be familiar with the name Kerry Lord. Kerry released the ever popular Edward’s Menagerie book in 2014 and has since gone on to publish multiple amigurumi pattern books. How to Crochet Animals: Farm is one of the latest releases by Kerry Lord and it contains 25 crochet animal patterns for farm animals. How to Crochet Animals: Farm contains the patterns for many popular farm animals as well as some animals that you may not immediately think of when you hear the words Farm Animals. The animals contained in the book are:

    PigHare
    SheepAlpaca
    HedgehogGoose
    FrogChick
    DonkeyGoat
    PonyBadger
    MoleDorset Down Sheep
    FoxRobin
    Friesian CowPheasant
    BatSwaledale Sheep
    SnailSquirrel
    Border CollieShire Horse
    Highland Cow
    image of amigurumi farm animals from inside How to Crochet Animals: Farm by Kerry Lord

    As in the last Kerry Lord book that I reviewed, How to Crochet Animals: Wild, this book starts off with talking about essential tools and yarn, which is of course, Toft yarn. Just like Wild, this book touches on the gauge aspect of amigurumi toys but doesn’t provide enough detail to be of much use to new crocheters. The rest of the resources in the book are clear and well-laid out.

    Hedgehog amigurumi toy in the book being reviewed in a flat lay with brava yarn and furls crochet hook
    Amigurumi squirrel from How to Crochet Animals: Farm by Kerry Lord

    The patterns in How to Crochet Animals: Farm are easy to understand and follow along. This book is laid out in the same manner as How to Crochet Animals: Wild, where technique instructional pages are added with the patterns to illustrate them as they are introduced in the patterns. It’s great if you are planning on following the book from beginning to end but if you plan to go straight for the patterns you’re interested in making first and jumping about the book, just keep that in mind and consult the index in the back of the book should you need help.

    How to Crochet Animals: Farm is one of multiple books in a series under the “How to Crochet Animals” title by Kerry Lord. There are also Ocean, Pets and Wild animal books. I have already reviewed Wild and you can check it out HERE. Overall I felt the book was a well-written resource that is accessible to a variety of skill levels.

    If you’re interested in buying a copy of How to Crochet Animals: Farm by Kerry Lord, you can check it out HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    Cute Crocheted Wild Animals Review

    Image of cover of Cute Crocheted Animals by Emma Varnam with text indicating a book review
    This page may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    I’m back this week with another amigurumi pattern book review. This week I checked out Cute Crocheted Wild Animals by Emma Varnam. I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about, give you an idea of what you can find in the book so ultimately, you can decide if you think it’s going to be the book for you.

    Thank you to our friends at GMC Books for providing this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    Cute Crocheted Wild Animals contains the patterns for several different animals, each with a male and female version and they each have their own outfit and accessories. The accessories and clothing can be used interchangeably between the dolls. The animal patterns included in book are:

    • Peggy & Jeff (Zebras)
    • Molly & Billy (Monkeys)
    • Maisie & Sidney (Pandas)
    • Ada & Roger (Lions)
    • Barbara & Cyril (Elephants)
    photo of roger the lion from inside the Cute Crocheted Wild Animals Book being reviewed.

    The toys in this book are adorable and I love that each toy is made in both a female and male version so you can get the most use out of this book no matter who you’re making for. The wardrobe section includes a series of different accessories like a hammock, beach ball, flowers, pillow, teddy bear and more. These additions help build the personalities given to each animal and provide additional toys for little ones to use to play with their new friends. The patterns are written in the UK terminology but you can find a conversion chart in the resource book located in the back of the book.

    The resource section it thorough and coveres basic stitches, seaming, using a pom pom maker and more. It even covers blocking which was great. because even little amigurumi garments can benefit from a blocking. There was no gauge information included in the book that I could find. The only thing close to that I could find was a recommendation to use the same hook and yarn in both your toy and your garments for the toys. As someone that regularly designs clothes for toys, I agree, that is a great tip to include but gauge information would really ensure makers are successful. I know I personally have made a toy, put it down for a few days and then went to make clothes for it without checking my gauge and was furious with myself because the clothes didn’t fit. The given size for each doll is 12″ but again, without gauge information, don’t be surprised if your size varies from that.

    Amigurumi monkey wearing clothes in an image from the book being reviewed.

    The patterns themselves were clear and easy to follow. Experienced amigurumi crocheters shouldn’t have any issues crocheting the cuties found in Cute Crocheted Wild Animals. Overall, this book is chock full of adorable amirugumi patterns with the added fun of having a full wardrobe to provide additional fun for makers and children alike.

    If you’re intersted in checking out Cute Crocheted Wild Animals by Emma Varnam, you can find it HERE.

    Two amigurumi pandas in a book, next to some furls crochet hooks

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie Review

    Cover of Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie with text indicating a crochet book review
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out a new to me book called Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie. I have reviewed some other books by Vanessa Mooncie previously that I thoroughly enjoyed (find the other reviews here: Crocheted Birds and Simple Crocheted Hats) so I couldn’t wait to see with was in store for me in Crocheted Dogs.

    Thank you to our friends at GMC Books for providing this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    I have been a big fan of Vanessa Mooncie’s work for a long time. A photo she posted online of her crochet barn owl had me falling head over heels with her realistic designs and the unique techniques she uses to achieve complex structural shapes with ease. Ok, I’ll stop before I get into full-on fan girl mode. She’s really skilled and I have a lot of admiration for her. Anywho… back to the book. Crocheted Dogs contains the patterns for 10 different dog breeds. She did a great job picking which breeds to select because many of they’re all incredibly popular pet and show dog breeds. The dog breeds included in Crocheted Dogs are:

    • Dachshund
    • Border Terrier
    • French Bulldog
    • Labrador
    • Chihuahua
    • Dalmation
    • Spaniel
    • Yorkshire Terrier
    • German Shepherd
    • Poodle
    Image of amigurumi dogs found in Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie

    These dogs, looks like real dogs. They aren’t a humanized version of an dog or a dog that looks like a doll. These are meant to look as close to their real-life counterparts as possible. Theey are all incredibly cute and well-done. As a daschund owner, it was nice to see them incuded in the book but I have to say, the Spaniel pattern is the one that stole my heart. The Spaniel is just beautifully executed and the most realistic-looking dog in the book. I’ve never been huge on spaniels but that dog is the one I’ll make first, just because it’s gorgeous. All the patterns in Crocheted Dogs are written in the U.K. terminology but a conversion chart to help you convert those to U.S. terminology is in the back of the book.

    two different dogs from Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie: a spaniel and yorkshire terrier

    The one thing that made me chuckle a bit about this book is that there is a section called “Getting Started”, which is the reference section, located at the back of the book. Not a huge deal but just something that I found amusing because I’m a nerd. If you’re reading how to do the stitches in the resource section, don’t rely on the illustrations. Read the words as they’re more accurate. Looking at the illustrations may be confusing if you’re a beginner or misunderstand what the arrows are trying to show you. I know I had to look at the instructions for the slip stitch multiple times until I figured out what it was showing me. It’s always hard to clearly show stitches with illustrations. The resource section covered different embroidery stitches, stuffing your toys, attaching pieces and more.

    crochet dachshund from the book being reviewed next to some yarn and a furls odyssey crochet hook.

    One of the things I enjoy seeing in Vanessa Mooncie’s books, are the crochet charts. These charts have assisted me on multiple occasions as I was getting used to using short rows for shaping pieces on toys. Stitch charts are included for each piece of each toy and as I mentioned above, can be helpful when working on some of the shaping in these toys. The patterns are clear and easy to follow for experienced amigurumi makers. I’d recommend that makers have some amigurumi experience before attempting the patterns in this book to avoid frustration.

    Overall, I think it’s another beautifully-done book by Vanessa Mooncie to add to one’s collection. We have familiy that breeds and shows dogs so dogs are a big part of our lives and I know I’ll be making many of the crocheted dogs from this book.

    If you’re interested in checking out Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie, you can find it HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    How to Crochet Animals: Wild by Kerry Lord Review

    Cover of How to Crochet Animals: Wild by Kerry Lord with text overlay indicating a review of the book.
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out How to Crochet Animals: Wild: 25 Mini Menagerie Patterns by Kerry Lord and I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about.

    Thank you to Lark Crafts who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    monkey image from inside the book How to Crochet Animals: Wild by Kerry Lord

    If you like to crochet amigurumi toys then you may already be familiar with the name Kerry Lord. Kerry is the founder of Toft yarns and the author of the popular book, Edward’s Menagerie. Since releasing Edward’s Menagerie in 2014, Kerry has gone on to pen multiple amigurumi titles. How to Crochet Animals: Wild is one of the latest releases by Kerry Lord and it contains 25 crochet animal patterns for wild animals. How to Crochet Animals: Wild contains the patterns for many popular wild animals and some lesser-known animals as well. The animals contained in the book are:

    SnakeElephant
    HippoRhino
    BuffaloKangaroo
    MooseLion
    BearMeerkat
    PandaBeaver
    ParrotPlatypus
    OryxZebra
    SlothSugar Glider
    GiraffeLeopard
    KoalaGiant Anteater
    OrangutanRed Panda
    Crocodile
    colourful crochet parrots from the book being reviewed

    The book starts off with talking about essential tools and yarn, which is of course, Toft yarn. I was really excited to see a page devoted to gauge. This point isn’t often touched upon in amigurumi books so I was thrilled to see it’s inclusion. It unfortunately fell short of providing information on how to measure gauge for amigurumi which was disappointing since some many other great tips and other resource points are touched on in detail for other items. There is a part on how to hold your yarn so I’m under the impression that the book is meant to be accessible for beginners so it just would have been nice to have that section fleshed out to really help readers understand it.

    The patterns in How to Crochet Animals: Wild are simple and easy to understand. Throughout the book, technique pages are added to illustrate new techniques as they are introduced. This is a great idea for crocheters that plan to work through the book in order from beginning to end. If not, there is an index which will help you find these pages quickly. The patterns are written in US terminology.

    image of a crochet giraffe from inside How to Crochet Animals: Wild

    How to Crochet Animals: Wild is one of multiple books in a series under the “How to Crochet Animals” title by Kerry Lord. There are also Ocean, Pets and Farm animal books. I have been fortunate enough to be reviewing each of these titles so we will be able to explore all of these titles together. Overall I felt the book was a well-written resource that is accessible to a variety of skill levels.

    If you’re interested in buying a copy of How to Crochet Animals: Wild by Kerry Lord, you can check it out HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    Creative Crochet Projects Review

    Cover of Creative Crochet Projects: 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by Stephanie Pokorny
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out the new book Creative Crochet Projects: 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by Stephanie Pokorny and I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about and give you a sneak peek at some of what the book has to offer.

    Thank you to Fox Chapel Publishing who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    If you don’t already know the name Stephanie Pokorny, you may be familiar with her online name: Crochetverse or have seen her fantastic crochet costumes online. Her work has been EVERYWHERE: National Geographic, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, various t.v. programs and more. Stephanie has a really playful, creative style that I absolutely adore. She once share a photo of an angler fish mask/hat that she made which was super cool and got me hooked on following her on social media. So, when I found out a few months ago that this book was coming out, I was way too excited to get my hands on a copy to see what she had in store.

    As the title of Creative Crochet Projects: 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond suggests, the book has 12 different crochet projects contained in the book, accessible for various levels of crocheter. The projects contained in the book are:

    • Finger Crochet Scarves
    • It’s a Cinch One-Hour Cowl
    • Squiggles McGee Hat
    • Bubble Hue Shift Hat
    • Asymmetric Owl Wrap
    • Happy Heart Bunting
    • Foldable Burger
    • Foldable Hot Dog
    • Sliceable Watermelon
    • Bee-Unified Mobile
    • Roll-Away Kitchen Playmat
    collage of photos from the new stephanie pokorny book
    Crochet hat pattern from Creative Crochet Projects book

    The book starts out with a resource section which included a great section about gauge which I loved to see – particularly the part about checking gauge in the round. I don’t see that sort of thing included often enough in crochet books that I review and was thrilled to see it included. So many people just show checking gauge in a square which can leave some people confused or checking their gauge incorrectly when checking it in the round. The materials used in the book are easily accessible from online retailers, with some of them being available in local stores.

    The projects themselves are clear and easy to understand as an experienced crocheter. An absolute beginner may struggle with the book at first because there are a lot of abbreviations used, even in the notes section and I can see beginners having to continuously flip back and forth between the abbreviations explanations at the front of the book and the project they’re trying until they get the hang of it.

    crochet hamburger scarf from the new stephanie pokorny book next to some furls odyssey hooks

    The projects are fun and colourful but not necessarily what I expected from a Stephanie Pokorny project. Based on previous releases by Stephanie, I expected something more punchy and out of the box. Don’t get me wrong, the book is great and accessible for a wide audience, which I guess sells books. But Stephanie is an incredibly talented crocheter and designer known for crochet costumes and cosplay inspired makes. I would have been pre-ordering my copy of a book like that the second it went live and then eagerly waiting by the window until the day arrived. Putting my personal opinion as a fan of hers aside, the book has some fun projects that can be made for kids, teens and adults. If you’re an beginner crocheter that has a grasp of the basics and wants something that’s full of colour and has a variety of different projects to try, then you may want to check out Creative Crochet Projects for yourself.

    If you’re interested in buying a copy of Creative Crochet Projects by Stephanie Pokorny, you can check it out HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    Crochet Tops by Salena Baca Review and Interview

    Cover Image of Crochet Tops: 26 Simple Patterns for First-Time Sweaters, Shrugs, Ponchos & More by Salena Baca
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I had the opportunity to review a brand new book called Crochet Tops: 26 Simple Patterns for First-Time Sweaters, Shrugs, Ponchos & More by Salena Baca. Not only did I have an opportunity to review the title, I got a chance to interview the author so we can learn more about her and her new book. Salena has also given us a copy of Crochet Tops to give away to one lucky winner so keep reading to learn how to enter to win a copy for yourself.

    This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

    Pin this for later HERE.

    Ashley: When and how did you learn to crochet?

    Salena: I learned in kindergarten when I was about 5 years old. I attended a Waldorf style school and crochet was part of the curriculum. We all learned by making props for our first school play (goat horns, for the Three Billy Goats Gruff).

    Ashley: How many other books have you written to date?

    Salena: I’m currently working on my 8th book! 6 are currently available or on pre-order, and the other 2 should be out in 2022. You can view them all (including individual patterns) on ravelry, here:  https://ravel.me/4f7rdf 

    Ashley: Where did your inspiration for this book come from?

    Salena: From my own desire to learn how to crochet clothes. As a crocheter, this meant I had to have a better understanding of yarn, fabric, tension, drape, style, fit, stitches, and techniques. As my crochet clothing style developed, so did my crochet skills. And so, the idea to compile a skill-building crochet book featuring clothes seemed like a great resource to make and share.

    Ashley: How long does it take to complete a book like this?

    Salena: Every book is different, but the range is typically 18-30 months. My portion (from conception through project production) takes about 12 months. Post production (editing, proofing, layout), takes about 8 months.

    Ashley: What’s your favourite design in the book and why?

    Salena: That’s really hard to say! But, the ones I’ve continued to wear are the Tweed Sweater (it’s comfortable, and flattering), Hock Poncho (the yarn is gorgeous and I always get compliments), Sprightly Vest (it’s so fashionable, and easy to wear in the summer).

    Ashley: What is the process like when you design a pattern?

    Salena: When I design clothing, I always start with a style concept that I want to add to my wardrobe. I might get inspired by a new style from a magazine or clothing store, and think about how I can create something similar in crochet. Fit and style are important, because the fabric you’re creating is with those in mind (that’s where an understanding of yarn, gauge and drape come in). Pairing a yarn and stitch pattern together is crucial, and many times I have to try a few yarn types before I get the right match for a design. Next, I create samples in my own size, so that I can get a feel for how they work, and decide what the size range can be (not everything translates to smaller or larger sizes). When I’m finally ready to write instructions, I find spreadsheets are helpful with grading and double-checking my equations. Designing clothes, especially in various sizes, is a complex job! 

    Ashley: How would you say your crochet or designing has changed since you first began writing/design crochet books?

    Salena: I’m far more technical now that I was before my first book! Design work takes creativity, but the real artistry, for me, is in seeing crochet patterns like math equations. This not only helps my process, but it gives me a sense of accuracy and precision that I find very satisfying. I’ve never seen myself as a designer, and I actually shy away from that term in this industry; I’m a technical writer!

    Ashley: What do you hope the biggest take away for makers will be from your book?

    Salena: I hope this book helps to provide a skill-building in crochet, and empowers more crocheters to make things that they love wearing.

    Ashley: Do you have any other exciting projects on the horizon you’d like to tell us about?

    Salena: Yes! I teach at the American Crochet Association, and one of my favorite courses is about pattern writing, here: https://www.americancrochetassociation.com/p/crochet-pattern-writing

    My goal is to help crocheters to help themselves, so that crochet can be passed through the generations in better hands than we found it.

    Find Salena on social media:
    Ravelry
    Salena Baca’s Facebook Group

    Crochet Tops Review

    As the title of Crochet Tops suggests, this book contains 26 patterns for crochet tops. The book is laid out in a way that the tops work in progressive difficulty levels, building on skills used in earlier top patterns. The beginning of the book discusses this fact and walks through swatching, matching gauge, blocking and yarn substitutions. I think it’s great that a section on yarn substitution is included as this is something that can be confusing for makers and getting the substitution right in a crochet garment can make or break your project. The tops are created using basic shapes and stitches and work into different techniques like motifs and more involved stitch patterns and added panels.

    The garments in Crochet Tops are pretty and offer a variety of styles. There are sleeveless tops, cardigans, vests, tees, sweaters and lots of ponchos. In fact, 8 of the 26 patterns in Crochet Tops are ponchos. All the yarns in the book are available from most big-box stores that sell yarn or online so I like that fact as I think it makes the book more accessible than others that use specialty/hard to find yarns.

    The sizes included in the book vary from small to XXL. One thing that I thought was missing from this book that would have really taken it to the next level is a section on sizing, measuring your body and selecting the appropriate size for you. If you’re spending the time making yourself a garment, you want to make sure that the hours spent doing so, are going to yeild results that you’re happy with. Some of the patterns include bust sizes, while others include just panel sizes. Missing this component could cause some confusion for first time garment makers that may think that the sizes provided in the book will be the same as their standard retail sizing and/or, don’t know how to measure themselves properly to ensure you’re making the correct size. I did this with my very first garment I ever made. I made a garment in a 2XL and it ended up being HUGE. I didn’t have a proper bust measurement to compare against the pattern and after spending hours making it, I was disappointed. Not understanding ease and the difference between your bust measurement and the finished bust measurement could also cause some frustration with a first time garment. If the top you’re making is meant to be oversized and flowy but you pick a size with a finished bust measurement that matches your actual bust measurement, you’re not going to get the intended fit. So if you’re checking out this book and this is your first garment make sure you really pay attention to the sizing provided in the book, specifically those finished measurements that are provided to ensure you’re picking the right size for yourself. If you want to learn more about ease and measuring yourself, check out this guide from the Craft Yarn Council.

    The patterns in the book are clear and easy to understand. The resource section in the back of the book covers abbreviations and written instructions for stitches but lacks images to support the stitches. There is also a section that provides sources for online learning and direct support from the designer. This is so nice to see in a book. I get a lot of requests from readers for pattern support on books I’ve reviewed and sometimes tracking down the authors to assist readers can be troublesome since some don’t have social media profiles or contact information that’s easily located. I think providing that to readers right in the book is really great and shows that even if you find something tricky, the author is ready and willing to support you even after your purchase.

    I think this book is best suited to experienced crocheters that are looking to either start their first garment or is looking for a collection of crochet tops to reference in order to build their own handmade wardrobe.

    If you’re interested in checking out Crochet Tops: 26 Simple Patterns for First-Time Sweaters, Shrugs, Ponchos & More by Salena Baca you can purchase copies HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

    Crochet Tops Book Giveaway

    Thanks to the author, we’re giving away a copy of the Crochet Tops: 26 Simple Patterns for First-Time Sweaters, Shrugs, Ponchos & More by Salena Baca. to giveaway to one lucky winner!

    This pattern giveaway on The Loopy Lamb is open to U.S. participants only(except where void by law) and ends Friday, March 19th, 2021 at 11:45pm Eastern Standard time.

    To enter, use the King Sumo form below. If you are on mobile and have difficulty entering, please use a desktop computer to enter. Only the Email option is mandatory – all other tasks are optional, for bonus entries only. Please note that by entering your email below, you are subscribing to The Loopy Lamb email list. We will not send you spam, just notifications about new free crochet patterns, news and giveaways.

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals Review

    Front cover of Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals in a flat lay with crochet tools
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals by Kristen Rask and I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about.

    Thank you to Becker & Mayer books who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Pin this Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals Review for Later Save

    Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals contains 26 crochet patterns for amigurumi toy animals. The patterns are written by a variety of different designers which I always enjoy seeing and at the back of the book a section with information on where to find the designers was great to see. None of the patterns in the book appear to be designed by the author so my guess is perhaps they were the one that gathered this all together to amalgamate it. The patterns available in this book are:

    MonkeyCow
    BearBeaver
    PigChick
    HedgehogGiraffe
    CatsBird
    FoxKoala
    RaccoonBear Pod
    FawnDog
    SquirrelAlpaca
    KittenPeter Pilot Duck
    MouseOwl
    SkunkBunny
    TortoiseFish
    amigurumi goose found in amiguurmi crochet: farm & forest animals.

    Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals starts off with a resource section where they walk you through the basic crochet stitches and techniques used in the book. I found some of the explanations to be unclear and the instructions for how to do the adjustable ring to be incorrect. The technique they describe, technically works in a way, but is not an adjustable ring. The pictures were a little dark and unclear so I wouldn’t rely on this section to help beginners learn what’s needed to crochet the patterns in the book. Make sure you read the section on “how to read a pattern” or you may be confused reading the patterns due to the way they are written out.

    The materials lists in many patterns were incomplete or incorrect. I found multiple patterns where materials were needed but not listed in the matierials list and other patterns where materials were listed but weren’t used in the pattern. Some patterns had sizes listed for safety eyes, some didn’t and one had the size listed incorrectly. Again, I read the resource section and it noted the patterns are done in DK weight yarn but the material lists in the patterns list the yarns as worsted weight. Technically DK can include light worsted weight yarn and this may be nitpicky but I’d estimate that 9/10 people don’t read the resource section as closely as I did and will end up using a proper size 4 worsted weight yarn and end up with a project that’s bigger than expected. Size information for each toy is given, not that, that matters I guess because none of the patterns actually include gauge information. No yarn information in terms of yardage or brand is given either which was disappointing.

    Image from the book being reviewed in a flat lay with yarn and a crochet hook

    The patterns in the book include photos to support the patterns and the images are labelled to indicate specific steps. This would be helpful if all the images were needed or helped to clarify the indicated steps. I found myself looking at some of the images you’re directed to reference over and over again trying to understand why it was there. If those specific images weren’t labelled and indicated in the lines of the pattern which direct your attention to the image, fine – they’re there as design elements. But when you are directing my attention away from the pattern and to the image, I would expect it’s adding value or clarifying something, which didn’t always happen. It’s truly a shame because some patterns where these images could have been swapped up to add clarity to some sometimes, confusing or vague instructions would have really helped this book out.

    image of some crochet animals from the book amigurumi crochet: forest & farm animals

    While I was reviewing this book, I couldn’t get past this feeling that I had seen some of these patterns before. The owl in the book specifically looked crazy familiar. So, I did a google search and found that a few other books (and also several kits) have been published using the same patterns in this book. I haven’t read the other titles but based on the images seen on the covers, it appears many of these patterns are also available in other titles.

    I really wanted to like this book. The animals are cute and I always love seeing makers work together on projects like this. Unfortunately, the above noted issues, combined with the inconsistencies I found in the patterns themselves really made it hard to fall in love with. If you’re really into amigurumi and feel capable of filling in some gaps along the way, this book may be something you’d enjoy. Otherwise, I feel many makers, particularly those relatively new to amigurumi maybe be better suited to other amigurumi titles with more support.

    If you are interested in checking out Amigurumi Crochet: Farm & Forest Animals you can find it HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog:

  • Crochet Book Reviews

    The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook Review

    Copy of The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook in a flat lay with yarn and crochet hook
    This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

    This week I checked out The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook: 100 Contemporary Motifs to Mix and Match by Meteoor Books and I’m going to share my review with you so you know what it’s all about.

    Thank you to Meteoor Books who provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

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    This book’s bright and colourful cover drew me in upon receiving my copy. It’s got so many beautiful granny squares on the cover that even if you aren’t a granny square fan (gasp!) you’ll probably still see something on the cover that intrigues you enough to look inside. I kept looking for an author but this book is an amalgamation of granny square patterns from a variety of different designers. Doing a quick flip through (or a picture walk as my son’s teacher calls it) there were names I recognized and some I didn’t. 23 different designers from around the world contributed to this book and I thought that was pretty darn cool.

    bright an colourful granny square, included in the book

    The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook contains patterns for 100 granny square patterns and if you think you’re going to be finding the basic solid granny square in here, you’re wrong. There are some seriously, seriously gorgeous granny squares in this book. The skill levels for the patterns range from beginner to “extra advanced”. When I read that I thought “extra advanced?! did I read that right?”. I thought I was seeing things and needed to top up my coffee but sure enough, it said extra advanced. I don’t know if it was curiousity or me just seeing “extra advanced” and mentally saying “challenge accepted” but I proceeded to thumb through the book to find these “extra advanced” level squares. I had questions: What magical crochet unicorn goddess wrote these patterns? Would my brain melt upon seeing them? You know, normal stuff people think.

    In total, there were three (3) “extra advanced” patterns that I found in the book. The first was the Twisted Lily Square and it was beautiful. Looking at the multiple stitch charts that accompany that pattern I started to get why “extra advanced” was deemed appropriate. Never to shy away from a challenge, I decided, I’m making one of these extra advanced squares. More on that later.

    granny square from The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook
    flowery crochet square in white, pink, red and yellow

    The majority of the patterns in the book fall into the beginner to intermediate levels and there are a lot of gorgeous patterns to choose from. All of which are accompanied by both written instructions and stitch charts (yes!). I always love when both are included. Side note, if you are struggling to read stitch charts, a book like this is so helpful and is how I finally understood stitch charts. Read the pattern one row at a time and look at the stitch chart for that row and compare it to the written word. That’s how I had my “aha!” moment and I hope it helps you too.

    blue and white crochet square

    Two things to note about this book: no gauge or specified hook information is given. There is a note at the beginning of the book about matching your hook to your yarn but since many people tend to skip that beginning section of these books, it’s easy to miss and then you’re searching all over for it. I know, because I did it. This is the type of book that you need to read the resource section. Let’s say it again for the people in the back: READ THE DAMN RESOURCE SECTION in this book! Seriously. I know you’re excited to skip to the gorgeous squares and start creating but save yourself the headache and take the 10 – 15 mintes of your life that it’ll take to fully read, understand and absorb this section. There are tips in there that you need to read, like how to make all the squares the same size (even though no gauge information is included), a section on decoding the instructions (yes – you do need this part), how to do special stitches, how to join the squares, and more. Be smarter than I was on my first flip through and attempt at the extra advanced square I did. You’ll thank me later.

    I bow down to the crochet goddesses/genuises/all-around yarn magicians that do some of the complex granny squares found in this book. My brain just doesn’t think in terms of the layers that are used to create them and I’m in awe of that incredible, incredible talent. I wish I could say that I picked up that extra advanced granny square pattern and made it in 20 minutes and it was a majestic experience. I did not. To be fair to myself, I did have kids running around and fighting with eachother when I attempted them so I wasn’t exactly in the zone. I got about 7 rows in, on the extra-advanced square I tried and then attempting to figure out what I was doing between the written word and the two separate charts while reminding my kids to take turns with eachother became far too much for me to handle. But I’m determined to get it and I’ll give it another go when I’ve finally got some quiet time to give it some more focus. I’ll probably work my way up from some of the more intermediate and advanced squares.

    granny square from the ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook

    The best thing about this book is that if you are a fan of granny squares, this book has something for every level of crocheter. If you’re a beginner, you can work your way up to the harder patterns. If you’re advanced and want a challenge, this book has got that for you. With 100 absolutely gorgeous granny squares, you’ve got enough here to keep you busy for countless hours.

    If you are interested in checking out The Ultimate Granny Square Sourcebook you can find it HERE.

    If you enjoy crochet pattern books, you can check out some more of my crochet book reviews on my blog: