Guest Author - Judy Wolniakowski
The first thing you’ll notice about Candace Eisner Stricks’ “The Little Box of Crocheted Bags” published by Martingale & Company, is that this book is not a book at all. Instead of a traditional bound pattern book, this publication consists of individual project cards in a magnetic closure box. While the box resembles a book, and can certainly be stored on a bookshelf, the real advantage of this publication format is that the individual project cards are more portable than a standard size pattern book. The durable project cards are lightweight and because there is only one pattern per card, you won’t have to figure out what page your pattern is on or how to keep a standard size pattern book open to the right page while you’re crocheting.
Both the box and the pattern cards are high quality, easy to read, and include photos of each project. Not only are the measurements of the completed item included for each project, but there is also an illustration with the measurements clearly identified on the graphic, eliminating the confusion that can sometimes occur when it comes to measurements.
As for projects, there is a wide variety of items including purses, evening bags, tote bags, a bucket bag, beach bag, eyeglass case, cell phone case, and more! Each project card includes a crochet skill level symbol, making it easy for crocheters to find the right pattern for their skills. There are six beginner, four easy, three intermediate, and seven experienced projects, for a total of twenty patterns!
The gauge, hook size, easy to read directions, and a very detailed list of materials is included for each project. Not only are specific yarn brands and names listed, along with fiber type, ounces, grams, yards, and meters, but you’ll find the yarn weight symbols for each yarn. This complete yarn information is very helpful, especially if you want to crochet your new bag with a substitute yarn. The sample projects were made using cotton, linen, and wool yarns as well as a variety of synthetic yarns and blends.
There is also variety in the types of stitches used to create the project bags including single crochet, cluster, berry, ripple, afghan, and double-ended afghan stitch, to name a few. Clear directions are provided not only for crocheting the bag but for all of the special techniques including eyelets, wrist straps, curlicues, beads, felting, and more!
An additional card which includes the contents, information about the designer, the standard yarn-weight system chart, hook sizes, yarn conversions, abbreviations, and suppliers is included in the box.
With the variety of skill levels, bag styles, yarns, stitches, and special techniques, this is one pattern reference that offers a lot for beginner through advanced crocheters. I like the fact that a beginner crocheter has several patterns to choose from immediately, and as his or her skills and confidence increase, so do the pattern choices. As for experienced crocheters, the variety surely will provide an opportunity to learn a new stitch or technique, work with a different type of yarn, or simply have fun making a unique and attractive bag.
Although this is her first crochet book, Candace Eisner Strick has written three books on knitting as well as one quilting book.