Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Remind me never to buy a "knitting and crochet" book again

This post is mostly a review of the book you see in the picture. It is One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites, edited by Judith Durant.

I suppose the subtitle should have been my warning. After all, when was the last time you saw an LYS that treated crocheting as anything more than an afterthought?

I bought it because it was $9.48 instead of the $18.95 cover price. Now that I think on it, the very fact that a secondhand book store had several copies of this 2006 book, all brand-new, should also have been my warning. But I was drunk on having found a bookstore with nine shop cats (hence the name Nine Lives Books) and I somehow managed to open it up to one of the few crochet patterns, and hey I knit some now (I've made three whole projects in the past four or five months--2 Barbie dresses and a baby skirt).

I hate buying books that advertise themselves as having both knitting and crochet patterns, since that's usually shorthand for "we threw in three crochet patterns to pacify you hookers." This book, sadly, isn't an exception to the rule.

There are 101 projects, divided into seven chapters based on yarn type. I am anal, so I went & counted. The chapter-by-chapter breakdown:
Bulky Weight: knitting patterns: 20; crochet patterns: 1
Heavy Worsted: knitting patterns:4; crochet patterns: 0
Worsted-Mohair: knitting patterns: 5 crochet patterns: 0
Worsted Weight: knitting patterns: 45 crochet patterns: 2
Sport Weight: knitting patterns: 4 crochet patterns: 0
Fingering Weight: knitting patterns: 9 crochet patterns: 2
Novelty Yarns: knitting patterns: 11 crochet pattners: 2

So, that's 98 knitting patterns and 7 crochet patterns (and yes, I know that adds up to more than 101 patterns, but some of the projects had two or more pieces to them, & actually I'm certain I missed a few "extra" knitting patterns).

The book was 93% knitting patterns. This irks me for more than a few reasons. First, but least, there's a better ratio of knitting-to-crochet patterns in knit.1, or almost any other knitting magazine. Second, but far more important to me: it gives the false impression that you cannot crochet much of anything with only one ball of yarn.

Now, I know that crocheting takes a lot more yarn than knitting, but that doesn't mean you cannot make plenty of crocheted objects with a single skein of yarn. In fact, a good many of the knitted objects in that book would also work well crocheted. Coasters, doll sweaters, minipurses...You're gonna tell me you can't find a crochet pattern for this stuff? (Especially the bookmark. I really expected that one to be a crochet pattern!)

Most of the projects I make, in fact, are single-skein projects. And if I make a lot of baby stuff, well so what? I didn't do a specific count on this, but easily half the projects in the book were hats or scarves, scarcely less repetitive than booties or sacques.

Someone needs to write a book of one-skein crochet projects. If anybody knows of one in print, please let me know in the comments section.

1 comment:

jamie said...

I am a knitter mostly, but I wanted to make the Octopus I found here and I was SHOCKED at how MUCH MORE yarn it took. Crocheting one Octopus took nearly a full skein of yarn, while knitting the same thing, took the amount of yarn in the skein left over from the crochet project.