Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Everyday Crochet" by Doris Chan, and keeping track of my stash

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan. I'm a big fan of Chan's designs, and this book had been calling me since before it was released, but I had been trying to restrain myself due to lack of funds. Yesterday, my will power gave out. (D'oh!)

Oh my goodness. This book is a work of genius. I'd been a little bit worried because others had complained about a lack of variety in the patterns, since they all use shells. I need not have doubted Ms. Chan--she explains exactly why that is in the Introduction! The gist of it is that she has created patterns that build off one another. They are similar in order to make it easy for the crocheter to adjust the patterns to her liking. YAY! Designing my own clothing patterns would be far out of my reach at this point, but with these patterns, I can learn to adjust sleeves, add ribbing, change necklines, etc. Also, she mentions that she's chosen to use shells specifically because they are a very forgiving stitch. They can stretch horizontally or drape nicely, making them pretty much universally flattering.

I've been somewhat afraid to take on larger projects because I've worried that what I make won't fit me (the waist could be too tight, the hips could be too tight, etc.--it's not easy to tell from bust measurement alone). I can make the clothing in Everyday Crochet without worrying, as long as I've gotten the gauge right. No clingy waistlines, and she's made it very clear how to adjust patterns for your own proportions; plus, I can rest assured that the shell patterns will be flattering.

My only complaint is that a lot of the yarns used are wool, which I can't use due to allergies. However, in the Introduction, the author encourages the reader to substitute yarn; and if the "Eve's Rib Tunic" is any indication, some of these patterns will still be fabulous in acrylic (it's made with Simply Soft Shadows!).

My favorite patterns:

-"Mei-Mei," the little jacket on the front cover, which I wasn't sure I liked at first. It totally grew on me. Cropped vests tend to look nice on me because they elongate my torso a little (and my torso needs it!). ;) The more I try to picture it on me, the more I like it.

-"Somnambulista," a beautiful little nightgown made with bamboo yarn. I plan to ask for that particular yarn for my birthday, so I can make myself one. I love the texture of bamboo yarns, but I can't afford them.

-"Jewel," a little sweater that's shown with 3/4 sleeves, which I plan to make long-sleeved if I have enough yarn.

-"Insight," a beautiful long vest.

There are also some belt patterns toward the end of the book. I may wind up making one or two of those -- they would look great with the longer sweaters, or with some of my other Fall tops.

OK, that's the end of my little book review. I've been up since some crazy hour of the morning because I couldn't get back to sleep, so I've been entering info about my stash on Ravelry. I've realized that it's a good way for me to keep track of all my yarrrrrn! I am pretty disorganized, but now I can keep track of the yarns I have without having to make my own spreadsheet or do anything equally dreary. Hooray for Ravelry! :)


Deneen said...

I love the book too and also plan on substituting yarn-just do guage swatch and you should be okay.

Ravelry is great to me to check patterns and see if errors were found, changes people made, etc.

April said...

I love the book! I noticed the lack of variety due to the shell stitch usage in all of them, but since I love the look of it, it doesn't bother me one bit!

Alexis said...

Yay for shells!! :)

Fran said...

I, too, love this book. However, I am having a bit of a problem with a pattern and wonder if anyone could help. It is the Tall Latte, page 53, size 36 row 7. I don't understand the directions since there are no repeats mentioned. If by "sc in next ch-sp of sh across: means to do a sc in all the ch-sp then it would be too tight. Does she mean to repeat the patten?

Terri Lynn said...

I gotta get this book! Hey, I just posted a free pattern for a scarf I designed on my blog, go get a copy!!